Mitchell Makes a Play, Lafferty Back on the Board, WJC Quarterfinals Begin, Big Blues News, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

The Blackhawks started the new calendar year with a 2-0 lead. What a time to be alive! Then they allowed the next five goals and lost the game by three. Welcome to the tank, folks.

If we take anything away from the seemingly terrible performances in Columbus and against San Jose — two of the three teams immediately behind the Blackhawks in the standings based on point percentage — it’s that the ugly losses extend the gap between Chicago and the teams following them to the cellar. So… maybe there’s a method to their madness? Or they just suck. Either way.

  • Ian Mitchell finally got back into the lineup last night and made a positive impact. On the Blackhawks’ first goal, he did a terrific job of keeping the puck in the offensive zone — San Jose’s goaltender didn’t have a stick — and getting it to Patrick Kane quickly in a spot where he could let a good shot go. Kane immediately pointed to Mitchell after he scored. Mitchell can provide some level of offense on the blue line that others just aren’t giving the Blackhawks right now. Is his defense great? No. But none of the Blackhawks’ defensemen are playing well right now so at least maybe skate a guy who can create something somewhere?
  • Sam Lafferty scored his first goal since Oct. 29 last night off a really nice feed from Andreas Athanasiou. The Blackhawks’ third line with Lafferty, AA and Jason Dickinson has done a nice job when they’re on the ice together. There’s good speed for the line, they just need to get the puck around the net more frequently.
  • The Blackhawks’ next six games are all at home over the next 15 days. That’s six of the Blackhawks’ 12 remaining home games before the trade deadline. So if you want to see Kane or Jonathan Toews while they’re still here (and you think either/both is going to get traded), make sure you’re buying tickets sooner than later. The clock is ticking…
  • Speaking of Kane and Toews, I would imagine their frustration with efforts like we saw over the weekend if growing. Guys like them, who can vividly remember what it was like to be the best in the world, skating through debacle after lifeless debacle has to be demoralizing. I mean, Jake McCabe — whose been on mostly terrible teams his entire career — is sick of losing. Maybe 19 and 88 won’t be the first or only guys to waive their NMCs to get out of Chicago this season?
  • With that in mind, my friends at The Fourth Period are reporting the Kings are looking to add to their blue line. The article below mentions Jakob Chychrun (who has two more years at $4.6M) and Vladislav Gavrikov (in his walk-year) as a couple defensemen the Kings have discussed. If they’re looking for a veteran and have spoken about at least one guy with term left in the $4M range… maybe McCabe would make sense? Especially if they’re balking at teams asking for a first-round pick? Here’s how they close the piece:
  • With a deep prospect pool, the Kings have plenty of assets to dangle to make an addition or two by the deadline and will be a team to watch over the next two months.

  • We’ve got five games on the World Juniors calendar today… but we now only have four Blackhawks prospects left in the tournament. Colton Dach‘s tournament is over after the injury he suffered in Canada’s win over Sweden over the weekend. Owen Beck, one of Ethan Del Mastro‘s teammates at Mississauga, replaced Dach on the Canadian roster.
  • Sweden and captain Victor Stjernborg take on Finland in the second game of the day.
  • Canada gets Slovakia in the nightcap on NHL Network. Blackhawks prospects Kevin Korchinski, Nolan Allan and Del Mastro will make up half of Canada’s blueline once again.
  • As I wrote earlier this year when I mentioned that the Blues being bad could complicate the trade market for the Blackhawks, the news on Monday morning is both good and bad for Chicago. As you can see below, Ryan O’Reilly and Vlad Tarasenko are both heading on IR with injuries. The two skaters were the most likely big-ticket trade pieces the Blues have on their roster who would have likely been direct competition for Toews and Kane when phones start ringing. So injuries now is good from that perspective.
  • But this also means the Blues are heading to the cellar and the playoffs aren’t likely in St. Louis. So beware the tank. At least they already paid Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas, right?
  • Finally, let’s talk about draft stock for players of interest for another team in town currently sitting on a top-three pick: the Bears.
  • written by

    Tab Bamford has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks for almost two decades. He joined Bleacher Nation as the lead Blackhawks writer in May 2022. Tab is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and is the author of two books about the Blackhawks: "100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" (Triumph Books) and "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter/X/Instagram/Threads at @The1Tab

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