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Chicago Blackhawks

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

2021 Chicago Blackhawks Season Preview: End of an Era?

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks have had an interesting couple of seasons. Off the ice, they’re a disaster. Ongoing lawsuits involving sexual assault are in full swing. It’s hard to get excited for the future of this team when current leaders (*cough* Stan Bowmen *cough*) are involved in situations like these. 

On the ice, they’re not a disaster but it’s hard to believe they’ve won three Stanley Cups in the last 10 years. Without their captain, Johnathan Toews, and their up-and-coming star Kirby Dach, they struggled quite a bit this last season. 

Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane, and Johnathan Toews are the last of the Cup teams and Kieth was recently traded to Edmonton. Yikes. 


The Blackhawks finished the ‘18-19 season with a 34-36-12 record. The next season (2019-2020) was remarkably similar with a 32-30-8 record. They beat Edmonton in the qualifying round and then quickly lost to Vegas in round one. And this last season, they had a 24-25-7 record, missing the playoffs once again. 

Entry Draft 

This draft was promising. But there aren’t any Connor McDavids or Auston Matthews hitting the ice in black & red anytime soon. Nolan Allen and Colton Dach (yes you read that correctly, Kirby’s little brother) are the most promising. Allen came from the Prince Edward Raiders of the Western Hockey League and Dach came from the Saskatoon Blades also of the WHL. There’s no question that the WHL knows how to make an NHLer (Joe Sakic, Patrick Marleau, Carey Price…need I continue?)

Marc-Andre Fleury 

Don’t even get me started on how Vegas handled this situation. I hated them before but now it’s fiery. Ask any hockey fan how they feel about Fleury. They might hate the team he plays for. But no one…not a single person hates Marc-Andre Fleury. I mean, how could you. He’s just so happy to be there. Happy to be alive. 

Let’s circle back to the opening statement. Lawsuits. What sweeps bad PR right under the rug? A damn good goalie and a potential cup run, mixed with two sets of brothers on the same team. Tah-Dah!!!!! No one even remembers the 2012 Chicago Blackhawks and their messy past. 

Hockey is a business, and the best marketing tool? The roster. 

Oh right. This is a season preview.  

Forward Lines: 
DeBrincat DachKane
Hagel ToewsKubalik

I think more than likely, Dach and Toews will switch throughout the season. Kirby broke his wrist in January and spent most of the regular season in recovery. He’s stronger and more experienced now so if he can scooch into that 60 ish point range and prove that he’s capable of playing between DeBrincat and Kane, he’s exactly what Chicago is desperate for. 

This is more than likely Ryan Carpenter’s last season in Chicago. He’s 29 years old and past his prime. But he still is very consistent on the penalty kill. Jujhar Khaira was signed in free agency. He came from Edmonton and he was added specifically to bring depth to the fourth line. Adam Gaudette has had a very productive offseason so it’ll be interesting to see if it carries into the regular season. 

Defense Pairings: 
De Haan/McCabe Jones
McCabe/De Haan Murphy

Is Seth Jones an elite defenseman? Ehh. I guess we’ll see. De Haan and McCabe will have to fight for these positions. Calvin De Haan has had the last few seasons shorted due to injuries and Jake McCabe is 3 years younger and not as injury prone. 


I…uhh…do we need to go over this? It’ll be Marc-Andre Fleury. No doubt. Kevin Lankinen has proved he’s capable of handling the NHL but he isn’t Fleury. It’s as simple as that. I’m sure they’ll have a tandem situation going on. A little 1A-1B, so the King doesn’t exhaust himself. 

I think if the stars align just perfectly, and there are no injuries or bumps in the road and absolutely everything goes as expected…then maybe the Chicago Blackhawks could make a hefty run in the playoffs. I don’t see it being a Cup season. If Chicago fans have their heads screwed on correctly, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. 

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