New Look Power Play, Kane Gets Nostalgic, World Junior Buzz, Ridiculous Rankings, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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New Look Power Play, Kane Gets Nostalgic, World Junior Buzz, Ridiculous Rankings, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks host the Vegas Golden Knights tonight and it looks like Arvid Söderblom will get the net, which makes sense with the Blackhawks flying to Minnesota after the game to face the Wild on Friday night. As a reminder, the Wild picked up Ryan Reaves in a trade earlier this season, and he continues to bring the wrecking ball approach to the rink. Head up, boys!

  • Andreas Athanasiou was back at practice on Wednesday, so the Blackhawks might be close to having the full complement of forwards available for the first time this year tonight (Boris Katchouk was barely back when Tyler Johnson got hurt). With that in mind, the Blackhawks are going back to the five-forward first power play unit and will have both Seth and Caleb Jones on the second unit. It appears Caleb is back in the lineup in place of Ian Mitchell tonight.

“We just want to change things up a little bit,” Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said. “I thought the power play was doing really well, but it’s a lot of low plays and I think the forwards are creative right now and they’re taking Seth’s shot away, so let’s try that.

“With two D on the second power play, they don’t get as much time. But it gives us two shot threats. Caleb’s shooting the puck really well on the power play this year at the top. And getting Seth over on his one-timer, let’s try to get him open there like an Ovechkin-style thing.”

  • Patrick Kane waxed nostalgic after practice on Wednesday, thinking back at getting to 1,000 games with Jonathan Toews by his side. This one hit me in the feels because of where this season is heading for the two franchise icons.
  • Canada practiced with their final roster for the World Juniors on Thursday morning. And I like what I’m seeing. As I wrote when the roster was announced, I wasn’t alone in being somewhat surprised that Colton Dach made the cut and Ryan Greene didn’t; many felt Greene out-performed Dach in the practice games.
  • Seeing Blackhawks prospects stacked in all three left side spots on the blue line is great. From what I’ve heard and read, it sounds like Canada likes Kevin Korchinski to be one of their primary power play weapons. Ethan Del Mastro skating in his second WJC brings leadership to the back end. And Nolan Allan skating on the second pair shows they like his physical play as well, which bodes well for him in the tournament as well.
  • I read this next one yesterday and it didn’t sit well with me. So I quote tweeted it with my initial reaction (which led to a flurry of DMs coming in, all of which agreed with me). But I slept on it and this one still makes me mad. So here goes…
  • Yesterday, The Athletic dropped their rankings of NHL teams in the 2025-26 season. Each team was graded by a panel of Athletic writers on a scale of 1-10 in five categories: Current NHL Roster, U23 talent, Ownership/Market, Coaching/Management and Salary Cap. They ranked the Blackhawks 30th out of the 32 teams.
  • Here’s where I take issue with their “assessment,” which honestly feels more like picking on a team with which you don’t agree with the current strategy/direction. Example: they are supposed to be evaluating the Blackhawks’ roster in the 2025-26 season, but when they write about the roster it includes this sentence: “With top players Patrick Kane and Seth Jones struggling to start, there is next to nothing to like about this group.” The last time I checked (and am reminded of frequently), Kane is a UFA after this season and will “probably” (“should”) be traded at the deadline so why is his “slow start” influencing a roster that so many are assuming he won’t be a part of?
  • Furthermore, the Blackhawks got a 6.25 out of 10 for their salary cap situation in the 2025-26 season. So having roughly $80 million in cap space and a nearly blank slate for a roster is worthy of a D in the grade book? Because the only players on the Blackhawks’ current NHL roster signed in the 2025-26 season are Connor Murphy and Seth Jones, who combine to hit the cap for less than $14 million.
  • If I was handing out grades for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2025-26 season the only grades I would give are:
  • Young Core (U23 players): TBD (the development of the 2022 draft class will drive this)
  • NHL Roster: N/A (there isn’t one LOL)
  • Ownership/Market: I’ll let them stick with the 6.5
  • Management and Coaching: TBD (it’s year one… how are they failing? If anything they should get credit for executing what they’ve said they were going to do thus far, whether you agree with it or not)
  • Salary Cap: 9.0 (as I said above, they have two players signed when this is supposed to be getting evaluated and there’s a chance neither of them is still in Chicago by then)
  • Go ahead and bookmark this one for the receipts because if the Blackhawks’ top line on opening night in October 2025 includes Auston Matthews and Connor Bedard this ranking will hilarious.
  • Finally, because the Blackhawks haven’t been aggravating enough, let’s talk about the Cubs not even making a formal offer to the guy everyone thought was their No. 1 offseason priority…

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Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab