Evaluating The Blackhawks First Quarter

With 21 games in the books, let’s look back at the first quarter of the Blackhawks 2014-15 season.

Toews

Entering Tuesday’s action, the Blackhawks sit in third place in the Central Division with 25 points.

11.25 standings

As you can see from the standings, the Hawks have scored the most goals in the division (63) and have the best goal differential (+19).

Looking league-wide, the Hawks have performed well in the first quarter of the season. Chicago ranks in the top ten in the league in goals per game (2.86 – tied with Dallas for seventh in the NHL) and goals against per game (2.10 – third). They lead the league in shots on net per game (36.1) and rank sixth in shots against per game (27.9). The Hawks are also the league leaders in Corsi For Percentage (56.88), and trail only Minnesota (56.9) in Shots For Percentage (56.47) in all situations.

And, even with both Corey Crawford and Antti Raanta missing time already this season, the Blackhawks rank fourth in the NHL in team save percentage (.925).

Even though the power play has been the source of plenty of frustration early on, the Hawks are tied for tenth in the league at 20 percent to date. Unfortunately, the Hawks have allowed a league-leading four short-handed goals against already.

Chicago is the only team in the league with a penalty kill above 90 percent so far (90.3). They’re tied with eight other teams for sixth in the league with two short-handed goals for, while only allowing six power play goals against. The Hawks have allowed a power play goal against in only five of their first 21 games.

But looking back through the first 21 games, the Hawks have performed relatively well against the opponents on the schedule.

On 11 occasions, the Hawks have held their opponent to fewer shots on goal than their current season average. Chicago has only been out-shot five times, three of which have come in their last five contests.

Eight of the Hawks’ first 21 games have come against a team in the league’s top ten in goals scored per game Chicago has limited their opponent to fewer goals than their league average in five of those eight games.

The Hawks haven’t been healthy yet, either. Patrick Sharp has missed eight games already, while Andrew Shaw has missed three. Kris Versteeg has been a pleasant surprise with 14 points in 17 games after missing time early in the season, and rookie defenseman Trevor vanRiemsdyk looked great before his season ended early.

Chicago is still searching for continuity with their third defensive pair in the wake of vanRiemsdyk’s injury; rookie Adam Clendening has played in the last two games, while Michal Rozsival has played in 11 games and David Rundblad has seen action in nine contests.

As you can see from the charts below (created at HockeyAbstract.com), how coach Joel Quenneville has deployed his defensemen this year has some similarities to last season.

CHI DEF usage 11.25.14

Among defensemen, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are tied with four other players – PK Subban, Trevor Daly, Sami Vatanen and Nick Leddy – for sixth with five goals scored.

Jonathan Toews ranks sixth in the league in faceoff percentage (57.4), and has been to the dot 464 times, the fourth highest total in the league. Toews has won 74 faceoffs on the power play, the highest total in the league; Antoine Vermette and Tyler Bozak rank second with 55 each. Toews has won 69.2 percent of his faceoffs on the power play this season.

Toews and Patrick Kane are tied for the team lead with 18 points each, but neither rank among the top 30 in the league. Half of Kane’s points have come on the power play. Kane’s three game-winning goals are tied with ten other players for second in the league behind only Lars Eller’s four.

Four Blackhawks – vanRiemsdyk, Clendening, Phillip Danault and Scott Darling – have made their NHL debut so far this season. Joakim Nordstrom, who played 16 games with the Hawks last year and was named the captain of the IceHogs earlier this season, has now appeared in four games since being recalled as well.

In net, Corey Crawford has been solid to begin the season. He currently ranks third in goals against average (1.98) and is tied for fifth in the league in save percentage (.926). He has one shutout, and has stopped all six shooters he’s faced in the shootout to date.

Heckler Event.12.3.14

21 thoughts on “Evaluating The Blackhawks First Quarter

  1. Thanks for the re-cap. Hawks stat wise playing well and the division everyone thought would dominate is not so Hawks sitting right where they need to be. Long term the CAP is going to make competing tuff. Crawford has long very very solid this year and continues to improve each year. Saad is going to cost hawks a bag full of cash!

  2. Crawford has been the most outstanding Blackhawk so far this year…the goals will come if we can keep up the high shots on net….our “luck” will come to us. Its a competitive league with small differences and little room for error. Really bugs me that Vancouver is doing better than us with Ryan at .901 save %…how the heck does that happen? OK so I’m back to my theory that we are the Lion in the tall grass out on the Serengetti …quietly and patiently waiting for our time…when the playoffs arrive we are healthy, well rested, not burned out or fatigued and WHAMO…we clean up. Show time is coming, just wait for it.

  3. AJ, a B- and being only 4 points out of first in the central means there’s a ton of up-side to the rest of the regular season. B- I agree. Now lets get to the rest of the season!

    LET’S GO HAWKS!

  4. The division has 4 of top 7 in GA. That’s impressive.

    The key stats are more telling then the WLT records of all teams (which are not even factoring in how tuff/weak certain teams sch. are).

  5. Like the picture for this with Toews and his peach fuzz playoff beard. Crawford has been the man so far…he’s in for a banner year and will show all the skeptics that hes a bargain. There is a”look” to being a Blackhawk and Corey is definitly a Blackhawk.

  6. Maybe the Hawks are the Lions in the weeds. The Hawks will need to gather more points over the next 21 games than the previous. As far as the Hawks “healthy, well rested” will depend on themselves. The Hawks are on pace for 97 points, 10 points behind last years pace. Yes, 97 points will make the playoffs, but the last 10 or 15 games could have playoff intensity.

  7. It was very satisfying watch the Blues choke off a 2 goal lead in the 3rd and lose. Even though Preds are head of us in the division I just enjoy watching the Kings not win as well. Avs look like they have some defensive problems at the moment so hopefully the Hawks can get after those guys tonight. It’s another 3 games in 4 days swing. I’m happy if they can get 3-4 points in these next 3. Back to back with Kings and Ducks this weekend will present a good challenge for the Hawks to meet.

    Yes, indeed a great write up Tab. Thanks!

    Lets Go Hawks!

  8. Also note that the Hawks have the second fewest PIM/game in the NHL (Preds have fewest). It’s gotta help that our top forwards and D men aren’t having to spend so many minutes on the PK.

    However, I also see that only Detroit has fewer fighting majors (1 vs 3). With all of our toughness having moved to Calgary, I still have concerns about who backs up our skilled players when the StL, Dallas, Colorado, and LA goons come a’calling.

  9. Wall again that is your opinion. McDavid is a great player and was on pace to beat Crosby scoring record (for draft year) before breaking his hand. Eichel is a great player too and the NCAA is very competitive for 20 something games, they hardly have the grueling schedule that the CHL does.

  10. I know you had mentioned how well Eichel excelled at the WJHC. The Canadian team operates a bit different than others teams. The younger players generally do not get alot of ice time for Canada at that tournament (regardless of who they are) ask Nathan McKinnon or even Crosby who took limited ice time to guys like Getzlaf and Bergeron.

  11. To DropThe Puck…..Carcillo can answer the bell and handle the goons, even though he has been very well behaved so far, even drawing penalties instead of getting them.

  12. Nope. Not concerned. Concerned maybe about how the organization communicates with its prospects but otherwise its fine. Those comments were also snips out of whatever context they were said in. Its good hes frustrated. Learning to cope with frustration is hellah important.

    On the flip side I’m concerned with Q coaching a team with a bunch of rookies or whatever next year if the cap gets all goofy.

  13. Mining Man, I am not sure I have ever seem Carcillo WIN a fight. The way Bickell crushed Simmonds last year, he SHOULD be one of our enforcers. I would also believe Shaw or Morin could fill that role as well.

  14. AJ you are exactly right with your comment on Q and rookies. He will have to figure it out because any way you slice it, the team is gonna be a lot younger next year. And that is a good thing!!

  15. Wow-Eichel better than McDavid?-
    McDavid may be one of those once in a generation players-Eichel is a potential star.

  16. I don’t think Bollig did much to deter anything in regards to goons calling. Carcillo rarely fights these days compared to his early seasons. Bickell is good for 1 a year maybe. His thumping of Simmonds aside, he has no memorable wins I can recall. The current team is basically the same as last, if someone gets run, reaction to it will likely be as it has been, passive for the most part. Agree with it or not, its who we are

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