In the summer of 2009, the Blackhawks jumped to the forefront of the NHL landscape when they landed the top free agent on the market, Marian Hossa. The signing was a shocker to the league and a steal for the Hawks, who “massaged” the CBA by stretching Hossa’s deal out long enough that his cap number ended up being fairly reasonable.
Hossa was brought to Chicago to bring the city a champion. And he was a key part of the Blackhawks success during the 2009-10 season.
But the Blackhawks still haven’t seen the Hossa they thought they were getting when they inked him.
Consider the averages for the first 10 years of Hossa’s career before joining the Blackhawks in 2009:
- 77 games played (94 percent of possible games played)
- 34 goals
- 38 assists
- 72 points
- .935 points/game
- 260.5 shots per season – 3.4 shots per game
Now consider the numbers from Hossa in 135 possible NHL games since signing with the Hawks:
- 94 games played (61 percent of possible games played)
- 36 goals
- 44 assists
- 80 points
- .851 points per game
- 312 shots on goal – 3.3 shots per game (3.1 shots per gm in 2010-11)
Hossa is, without question, one of the elite players in the NHL when he’s healthy. He is among the best two-way forwards in the game, and the combination of size and puck control that he presents is arguably the best since Mario Lemieux.
But the Blackhawks have not received anywhere near the quality, or quantity, from Hossa that they expected when they signed him.
Has Hossa been a bust? No.
No player that plays a critical role in a championship, especially considering the history in Chicago, can be labeled a bust.
But has the Hossa deal been a good one?
Since Hossa returned from his latest injury on Dec. 26, the Blackhawks are only 8-7-1. Hossa has only contributed 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in those 16 games, only .688 points per game. That’s well below his career average of nearly one full point per game, and it can be traced back to his shooting.
Hossa has averaged only 3.25 shots per game since coming back, but has only converted four of 52 shots (7.7 percent). To put that into perspective, Hossa made a deposit on 13 percent of his shots prior to joining the Blackhawks.
If the Blackhawks want to make the playoffs this year, much less go further than four games into the postseason, they need one of their best (and most expensive) players to show up and earn his lunch. Right now, Hossa isn’t doing that.