The Blackhawks have played the last 11 games without their captain, Jonathan Toews. Seven of those have come since the NHL trade deadline, when the Hawks disappointed many fans by only making two moves (acquiring defenseman Johnny Oduya and moving “defenseman” John Scott).
It appears the deadline may have been the wakeup call the Blackhawks’ superstars needed.
Since the deadline, the Blackhawks have a 5-1-1 record, including wins at Ottawa and Detroit and at home against the New York Rangers and St. Louis. The Rangers and Blues were in first place in their respective conferences at the times of the Blackhawks’ victories.
Much has already been said about Patrick Kane since he moved back to center. In the seven games since the deadline, Kane has four goals and three assists, with a point in five of the seven games. He has also won 34 of 83 faceoffs (41 percent), and has two game-winning goals.
While Kane is stealing the headlines, Patrick Sharp has been red hot as well. He has eight points (two goals, six assists) since the deadline. Sharp is tied for the team lead with three points (one goal, two assists) on the power play since the deadline as well.
If Kane and Sharp have been good, Marian Hossa has been great. He has a point in six of the seven games since the deadline, piling up three goals and six assists in that span. In the wins against the Rangers and Blues, Hossa had eight hits and two blocked shots as well. He has two game-winners in the last seven games, and has the same one goal and two assists on the power play as Sharp.
The surprising name to stand out on the stat sheet since the deadline has been rookie center Marcus Kruger. In the last seven games, Kruger has two goals and three assists. Jamal Mayers has won 50.7 percent of his faceoffs since Toews left the lineup as well, leading the team.
Clearly the Blackhawks are at their best when Toews is healthy and contributing; he’s one of the best all-around players in the league today. But while he’s out of the lineup, the Hawks will need their other superstars to continue contributing in a big way, as well as role players like Kruger and Mayers to provide an impact.