Chicago Blackhawks Mid-Season Review

On Saturday night, the Blackhawks played their 41st game of the 2013-14 season. With a 27-7-7 record half-way into their Stanley Cup title defense, let’s look at how the Hawks have performed so far this season.

Toews COL

Patrick Kane
41 games, 23 goals, 30 assists, 53 points, +11
Kane ranks second in the NHL in points (behind Sidney Crosby), third in the NHL in goals (behind Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Steen), second in the league with six game-winning goals (behind Corey Perry), and second in the NHL with nine power play goals (behind Ovechkin). Through Saturday night, Kane has a point in every game the Hawks have played in December, and was the NHL’s #1 Star for November. Kane also has 32 takeaways, which is tied for 13th in the NHL. He’s a legitimate MVP candidate and is playing the best hockey of his career.

Patrick Sharp
41 games, 22 goals, 19 assists, 41 points, +18
With his goal on Saturday night, Sharp has 12 goals in 13 games in December. He is now tied for sixth in the league in points, and is tied for fourth in the league in goals. In December, he has six power play goals and five multi-point games.

Jonathan Toews
41 games, 15 goals, 25 assists, 40 points, +16
There are 10 players in the NHL with at least 40 points through Saturday night and three of them are Blackhawks. Toews is also winning 56.8 percent of his faceoffs, and his 30 takeaways are tied for 16th in the league (but only fourth on the Hawks).

Marian Hossa
36 games, 14 goals, 20 assists, 34 points, +19
Hossa has missed five games, but his 47 takeaways are tied with Pavel Datsyuk for the NHL lead through Saturday night. With Toews and Sharp, the Hawks’ top line is the most lethal in the NHL right now. He is tied for fourth in the NHL in plus-minus (with Brent Seabrook, Chris Kunitz, Dustin Penner and Francois Beauchemin).

Marcus Kruger
41 games, 4 goals, 12 assists, 16 points, +4
Kruger is winning 57.8 percent of his faceoffs, which ranks sixth in the NHL and at the top of the Hawks’ most improved stats over the season’s first half. The penalty kill continues to be a source of frustration, but Kruger has been strong for his part of the PK; he has won 60.5 percent of his short-handed faceoffs this season. Kruger also leads Hawks forwards with 40 blocked shots.

Brandon Saad
41 games, 13 goals, 16 assists, 29 points, +15
Saad is second on the Hawks with 36 takeaways, and has been a consistent producer in spite of being moved to the third line for most of the season. He has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 13 games in December.

Andrew Shaw
39 games, 11 goals, 10 assists, 21 points, +9
Shaw is only winning 43.3 percent of his faceoffs this year, but has four power play goals and his 98 hits ranks second on the team behind only Brent Seabrook. He has taken a number of bad penalties, however, and needs to limit his time in the box in the second half of the season. There are 116 forwards in the NHL with at least 21 points, and six of them are Blackhawks.

Kris Versteeg
22 games, 6 goals, 9 assists, 15 points, +7
Since being acquired from Florida, Versteeg has settled into a role on the second line with Kane and Michal Handzus. He has points in eight of 13 games in December, including one game-winning goal.

Ben Smith
34 games, 4 goals, 8 assists, 12 points, +3
Smith picked up an assist in St. Louis on Saturday night, only his third point in December. He has been a solid fourth line player, ranking second among Hawks forwards with 24 blocked shots.

Bryan Bickell
27 games, 6 goals, 1 assist, 7 points, -2
Bickell missed 14 games with a lower-body injury, but his season has been the biggest disappointment on the roster to date. He is the only player on the team with more than four games played with a negative plus-minus, and he’s averaging less than 1.5 shots on goal per game (41 shots) through Saturday night.

Michal Handzus
24 games, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, +4Handzus may have been lightning in a bottle during the Hawks’ run to the Cup in the spring, but he has been far from a godsend as a second line center this year. He’s missed 17 games, and is winning only 48.9 percent of his faceoffs. He’s old and slow… but he has one short-handed goal and two game-winning goals through Saturday night.

Brandon Bollig
41 games, 3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points, +1
Bollig has played in every game for the Hawks this season. His 61 penalty minutes rank 22nd in the NHL. Bollig has one point – an assist – in December.

Brandon Pirri – 24 games, 6 goals, 5 assists, 11 points
Jeremy Morin – 15 games, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points
Joakim Nordstrom – 10 games, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points

Keith StL


Duncan Keith
41 games, 3 goals, 35 assists, 38 points, +15
Keith is second in the NHL with 35 assists (behind only Joe Thornton), and his 38 points lead all NHL defensemen through Saturday night. He has also been credited with 48 blocked shots and 26 takeaways in the first half of the 2013-14 season. Keith is playing at a Norris Trophy level, and will undoubtedly be a top pair defenseman for Canada in Sochi.

Brent Seabrook
41 games, 4 goals, 24 assists, 28 points, +19
Seabrook is tied for third among all NHL defenseman in points, and he ranks third among all defensemen in assists. His 100 hits ranks eighth among defensemen, and his 70 blocked shots are tied for 25th in the league. After a 2013 season that was rough at times, Seabrook has returned to top-tier form this season.

Niklas Hjalmarsson
41 games, 3 goals, 14 assists, 17 points, +15
Hjalmarsson leads the Blackhawks with 77 blocked shots, and has already tied his career-high with 17 points. He also leads the Blackhawks with 48 giveaways, though.

Johnny Oduya
41 games, 2 goals, 8 assists, 10 points, +13
He has had good games in the first half of the season, but has also had some ugly nights as well. Oduya has been credited with 67 blocked shots and 30 hits through Saturday night.

Nick Leddy
41 games, 5 goals, 13 assists, 18 points, +9
Leddy has three power play goals and has spent an average of 2:00 on the ice with a man advantage this year. He has been credited with 22 blocked shots and 28 hits this year.

Michal Rozsival – 22 games, 0 goals, 4 assists, 4 points, +1
Sheldon Brookbank – 24 games, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, +3
Mike Kostka – 5 games, 2 goals, 1 assists, 3 points, +1

Both Brookbank and Kostka have been credited with game-winning goals, and Brookbank has spent part of the season as a forward while a number of veterans dealt with injuries.

Raanta Crawford


Corey Crawford
27 games, 17-6-3, 2.47 goals against average, .907 save percentage
Crawford left the Hawks’ home game against the Florida Panthers on Dec. 8 with an injury and hasn’t been back on the ice in a game yet. He played in 13 games in November, and was relied upon heavily in the early going before the Hawks found a quality back-up. He is expected back early in the new year.

Antti Raanta
14 games, 9-1-3, 2.38 goals against average, .906 save percentage
Raanta’s numbers took a serious hit in St. Louis, but he’s still been very since being forced into the starting lineup after Crawford’s injury. The Blackhawks will have to make a decision if/when Khabibulin is healthy enough to play again.

Nikolai Khabibulin
4 games, 1-0-1, 5.00 goals against average, .811 save percentage
Khabibulin saw action in four games and sucked.

Hossa CGY

3.73 goals per game (1st in NHL)
2.68 goals against per game (15th in NHL)

Chicago’s 153 goals are 23 more than the Blues, who are second in the league through Saturday night’s action; 16 teams haven’t scored as many total goals as the Hawks have during just 5-on-5 play (103) this season.

The Blackhawks have 350 takeaways as a team, which ranks second in the league (behind Carolina). As a team, the Hawks are winning 51.5 percent of their faceoffs, which ranks 10th in the league. With 517 blocked shots, the Hawks rank only 19th in the league, and their 715 hits rank 28th through Saturday night.

Special Teams
Power Play – 24.8 percent (2nd in NHL)
Penalty Kill – 76.0 percent (28th in NHL)

Last year, the Hawks’ special teams were the reverse of where they stand today. Chicago’s power play has been lethal all season, but the penalty kill has been the biggest Achilles’ heel for the team to date.

8 thoughts on “Chicago Blackhawks Mid-Season Review

  1. Thanks Tab…I like when you give grades though…certainly Kane has been the best Blackhawk thus far this season, with Sharp a close 2nd…Kane definitely has a chance at the Hart if he continues his sound positional play as well…the biggest addition with Kane, for me, has been his excellent positioning defensively to help break up plays and create takeaways…thats been even more important than all his points…

    If Sharp keeps this up, he will have to be given serious consideration as well, as his defensive game is excellent…he’s almost +20…Tazer is back to where he needs to be, and the scary good thing is that Hossa hasn’t played his best hockey yet…

    Keith just keeps producing and playing better and better defensive hockey, but Seabrook needs to be given Norris consideration as well…I think last year in the playoffs the cobwebs from all those concussions finally wore off for Seabs and he is now on a roll…and when you factor in his physical game, he is EVERY bit as valuable as Keith is…Hammer has had a great season…Oduya has been good, Leddy is getting better and better, and the bottom 3 rotating in that final spot have been more than good enough…

    I still think that Shaw, Saad and Kruger aren’t getting enough notoriety and playing minutes…they have been the “unseen” backbone of this hockey team this season, game in and game out coming up with the same strong, high energy performances…Versteeg has been an amazing addition as well…only Bickell and Bollig need to improve their play…Bicks has been an embarrassment at $4 million a season thus far.

    Finally, goaltending…CC was used too much early and it affected his play…ALL of his #’s are near the bottom of the NHL…not good enough for a guy set to earn $6 million per season…Raanta has been an amazing addition, even though he has lots to work on in his game…Bulin should NOT even be talked about…heck, even Q isn’t talking about him at all…going forward CC and Raanta are more than good enough to win another Championship…

    As for the coaches, the entire staff have done a great job of keeping the team focused…getting Shaw (an undersized forward) a chance to stand in front of the net on the PP, has turned that awful unit right around…and you know they will get the PK figured out sooner than later…and in fact over the last few games, the Hawks have been using 3 units per kill, now starting to rotate Saad and Versteeg with Kruger/Smith and Toews/Hossa…its a smart move…

  2. Excellent write up Tab. The Hawks have few if any holes in their roster.only a few players have performed below expectations. Kane.and another level. Seabrook and Hammer have taken their games to levels I didn’t think they were capable of. Which ever team beats the Hawks four straight games will have to earn it because the Hawks talent is amazing! Hopefully this time off will help Crow down the stretch. Raanta has been good but is still finding his way. Hopefully Khabby will be sent down at the right time.

  3. After the amazing (once in a century) 21-0-3 start in ’13, we needed/wanted to keep on getting better throughout the season and we did consistently. Even though we were better & deeper than the other top teams at the time. We knew that’s what we needed to do to stay ahead (and I don’t mean pts wise…).

    Same thing for ’14 we started 20-4, and we’ve been consistently winning and getting better. Its harder to do that for 82 games then 48 but we will have a consistent schedule with games and days between because we played up to 5 more games than some other teams did. Those teams will have to play 5in8’s at some point to catch up.

    I don’t think anyone would have thought we would have started as good as we did in ’13 & as well as we did in ’14 two. Thank you sir, may I have another.

  4. Pretty good first half – exceptional in many in many cases. The main thing has been good health with only Hossa missing 5 games, Bickell missing 14, and Crawford’s injury. If the Hawks can get through the second half of the season with the same level of good health, the team and many individuals have a good chance at reaching some very good numbers.

  5. Having 81 in there most nights is vitally important to this team. Given his off season status I am thrilled he has only missed 5gm. He still has tremendous skill and impact on games, and on the younger players

    Remember when Sharpie was shooting at around 5% well into the season? You just knew it would change and its been huge for the teams success and confidence. The guy just gets looks night after night. He’s up to 14% and on pace for career high 44g.

    The Great 88. -9 after the first month. He’s been +20 since Nov.1st. In the last 28 games Patrick Kane has been a minus player one time. As in 1 of 28. And it was a -1. Half a season is enough time for +/- to bear out some insight. He will likely have career highs across the board before March. He’s already tied high marks with 9ppg and 6gwg , both of which put him 2nd in the NHL. Elite and a joy to watch.

    Keith, awesome. Love the guy. He is playing the whole rink without peer. I really hope he gets another Norris, and ends up making an induction speech someday. But it’ll be a long way off. I can see him playing past 40 easily.

    Not gonna run on anymore, most everyone deserves some praise. Fun season to date. I wish Pirri could have stayed on

  6. Great comments SSHM, ER, Mo and Ryan…Ryan I agree with the Pirri comment…I wish the Hawks would have stayed with him…and now Pirri is really struggling with his effort and attitude in Rockford…it must be very hard on the young man, to do everything you were asked of, and still get sent back down…hopefully he and Morin will get moved to other organizations where they will be given a chance to play…

    Look at all the “experts” here who ripped Hayes and Olsen as being “not ready for prime time” players in Chicago, and look at how well they are playing in Florida now…these kids need chances to play…look at Ben Smith…he is now firmly entrenched as a regular Hawk player…

  7. Kane is super good at hockey. Would probably be even with Crosby or ahead if he had a center.

    Hayes doesn’t really fit in with the Hawks due to lack of ability to skate good and defensively meh. Doesn’t stop Q from rolling Zues but whatever. I don’t think Olsen fit in anywhere. Not better than Hammer or Oduya or Leddy and they have 2 solid veterans in Brookbank and Rosy plus Kostka. I would assume they are higher on Johns anyways. Getting return on those players was important. Ben Smith would have made the roster earlier if he didn’t get concussed then injured a bunch of times.

  8. Halfway through the year, you cant look at this team and not think another cup run is coming. If healthy, the hawks will not lose 4 games in anything less than 7 games. And even then, its going to take the type of all time effort that makes NHL lore. Toews isn’t “himself” and he’s still on pace for a great year. Kane should be taking home some significant hardware. Sharp has really turned it on. Norris Keith should win the Duncan Trophy. I mean Duncs should win the norris… lol

    The only concern is the hawks beating themselves. With a long second half and an Olympic schedule that could hit the hawks pretty hard, I’m concerned what kind of legs they will have left in April. It’s going to be very important for guys like Pirri and Morin to know their roles on this team and be ready to give the top 6 a night off every now and then down the stretch.

    Yes, it does suck for those guys that they have done what was asked but they are shuttled to rockford. I agree with Brad that these guys could be regulars for another team, but IMO as a professional, they need to know how to contribute to THIS team, THIS year. Guys like Mayers and Madden stuck around forever cuz they knew their roles year in year out.

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