Blackhawks Preseason Predictions: How'd We Do?

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Blackhawks Preseason Predictions: How’d We Do?

Chicago Blackhawks

With four games left on the Blackhawks’ schedule and the weekend coming, it’s a fun time to look back at the “bold predictions” I made for the 2022-23 season and see how they stacked up. All four of the projections I made can be given a thumbs up or a good laugh.

Here’s what I said would happen, and what we’ve seen play out this season.

The Blackhawks will win a game quicker this season than they did for Jeremy Colliton 12 months ago.

RESULT: Nailed it.

It took the Blackhawks only three games to pick up a win this season, so that was easy. I guessed the Blackhawks’ game against Seattle on Oct. 23 could provide an early opportunity for a dub, but Chicago checked the box The Hawks did beat Seattle in that game, but that was already their third win of the season. The Blackhawks finished October with a 4-3-2 record — a huge improvement from the debacle that was last year.

Philipp Kurashev will lead the Blackhawks in goal scoring this season.

RESULT: Whelp….

Eight players have scored more than the nine goals Kurashev produced before his season ended prematurely because of a shoulder injury. Taylor Raddysh might be the only skater on the Blackhawks roster to reach the 20-goal plateau this season; Andreas Athanasiou has 18 with four games to go. And three of the eight skaters who reached double-digits to this point have been traded away (Max Domi, Patrick Kane and Sam Lafferty).

Kurashev came back on a qualifying offer this season and has had opportunities to skate minutes with what’s left of the Blackhawks’ best offensive options, but he hasn’t been able to get over the hump. As Ben Pope wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times, Kurashev’s numbers over his first three seasons have been almost identical. Maybe that’s all he is?

Arvid Söderblom will lead the Blackhawks’ goalies in wins this season.

RESULT: Not so much

The basis for this prediction played out as I expected. Both Petr Mrazek and Alex Stalock have missed time because of injuries this season, which opened the door for other goalies to get some run. But it was Jaxson Stauber, not Söderblom, who saw the most NHL action from Rockford this season. And Stauber was good when called upon.

The reality is that Stalock has been so much better than advertised that he’s been a wonderful surprise. I would love for the Blackhawks to find a way to bring him back next year, but with Söderblom heading to RFA and the likelihood that Drew Commesso signs at some point there simply aren’t enough roster spots in Chicago or Rockford unless someone leaves or the Hawks don’t bring Söderblom back.

Kyle Davidson will have nine picks in the first three rounds of the 2023 NHL Draft when the dust settles at the trade deadline.

RESULT: Close… oh, so close.

Davidson did work this season and has added plenty of picks. But as the regular season comes to an end, Chicago owns eight picks in the first three rounds (with one from the Rangers pending their postseason performance).

The Blackhawks did add picks in future drafts along the way, however. The trades of Lafferty and Jake McCabe to Toronto and Domi to Dallas brought in picks in drafts after this summer. As it stands today, the Blackhawks have eight picks in the first three rounds in 2023, six in the first three rounds in 2024 and five in the first three rounds in 2025.

My prediction that the Blackhawks would aggressively add draft capital has some true, but spreading out the wealth over the coming three years is not only a good plan — and the right one — but it also kept my projection of there being nine this year miss by one.

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