The Chicago Blackhawks offseason and 2020 regular season was a very surprising one. The team was expected to be among the worst teams in the league but instead, the team was invited to the NHL’s return to play series in the Edmonton bubble. They advanced past the play-in round as they defeated the Edmonton Oilers. In the first round of the playoffs, the Vegas Golden Knights eliminated the Blackhawks from the playoffs and ended their season.
During the Blackhawks offseason, they made it official that they were rebuilding as they made an announcement to fans and made some shocking transactions. Long-time Blackhawks were traded away, not retained by Chicago, or are taking a little time away from the game symbolizing the end of their dynasty.
Taking a break
Jonathan Toews and the Blackhawks announced that he will not be joining his teammates at the training camp. Toews announced he has been experiencing fatigue over the past few months. He is currently working with doctors to try and get back to his normal self. He said he will return to the Blackhawks when he is feeling better and thinks he can play at an elite level.
The Blackhawks will miss the presence of their captain on and off the ice. In his career, Toews has played in 943 regular-season games and has scored 345 goals to go along with his 470 assists. Toews was also a very important piece of the Blackhawks during their dynasty. He has won three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks. Hopefully, Toews will be back on the ice in a Blackhawks uniform sooner rather than later.
Chicago Blackhawks Offseason Departures
The Blackhawks offseason also included some loss as beloved players left the franchise after long and successful tenures with the team. Club veterans being traded or not being retained proved to everyone that the Blackhawks were in fact rebuilding their franchise once again.
The Blackhawks offseason started off with a surprising trade that was confusing from the very beginning. The Blackhawks were in the bottom half of the NHL in goals for. They only scored an average of 2.97 goals a game. Brandon Saad was one of the better offensive players for the Blackhawks over the past few years. Last season Saad scored 21 goals and added 12 assists making him one of the most productive Blackhawks. In the playoffs, he got even better as he scored two goals and assisted on three other goals in nine games.
For the Colorado Avalanche, this is a win of a trade. They only add to their strength upfront on their forward group. The Avalanche scored an average of 3.37 goals a game. This was the fourth-most in the league and adding another dangerous player will only make their team better. In Colorado Saad should flourish as he most likely will be playing alongside Nazem Kadri and Gabriel Landeskog or Andre Burakovsky.
This has got to be the saddest departure of the Chicago Blackhawks offseason. Corey Crawford was a fan favorite in Chicago. He helped lead the team to two Stanley Cup championships during his time with the Blackhawks.
His 13-year career started in the 2005-2006 season but his career didn’t take off until the 2010-2011 season when he took over the reins as the starting goalie. That season he was named to the all-rookie team. He continued his success by winning the William Jennings trophy in 2013 and 2015. The William Jennings trophy is given to the goalie that allows the fewest goals and makes at least 25 starts. Coincidentally he and the Blackhawks won the Stanley cup the same seasons he won the Jennings.
This past offseason, Crawford signed with the New Jersey Devils on a two-year contract worth ten million dollars. During training camp he took a few personal days off and in this time he announced his retirement from the game. This is devastating news for the Devils as he was going to be a key piece to their success. Nevertheless, all hockey fans should Crawford well in his retirement after a long and successful NHL career.
The second significant departure during the Blackhawks offseason took place on December 25th. Slater Koekkoek left the Blackhawks to join the rival Edmonton Oilers. Koekkoek cashes in with the Oilers after a successful campaign with the Chicago Blackhawks. In his first and only full season with the Blackhawks Koekkoek played 42 games and had a career-high in points. He scored one goal and added nine assists for ten points. The 26-year-old defenseman will take his talents back to his home country of Canada for the start of the 2020-2021 season.
Chicago Blackhawks Offseason Acquisitions
The Blackhawks offseason wasn’t all bad as they were able to add some pieces to their roster that will hopefully produce with the team and then be traded during the 2020-2021 NHL season.
The first player the Blackhawks acquired during the offseason was hard-hitting defenseman Nikita Zadorov. Zadorov previously played for the Avalanche and was a very good defenseman for them. He was always willing to stand up for a teammate and never backed down from any challenge. Although Zadorov is a good defenseman in his own right the Blackhawks did not need more defense at the beginning of the offseason. They needed to add scoring. Instead, they traded Brandon Saad away for Zadorov and Saad was one of the best Blackhawks forwards during his tenure. Zadorov will be a solid addition to the back end but it was not the flashy signing fans wanted the Blackhawks offseason to include.
The second Blackhawks offseason acquisition was a Stanley cup runner up in the 2019-2020 season. Mattias Janmark was an important player for the Dallas Stars and their success in the NHL playoffs last season. Janmark is not known for his goal-scoring ability but more known for his grit and grind playing style. Janmark will be a solid addition as he will provide leadership for his younger teammates and he will also give 100% effort on every shift.
The second signing and third piece of NHL news was the signing of Carl Soderberg. With some money freed up from Koekkoek leaving for the Oilers, the Blackhawks decided to add to their forward core and add Soderberg. Soderberg spent last season in the desert playing for the Arizona Coyotes. In his lone season with the Coyotes Soderberg scored 17 goals and added 18 assists in 70 games played. The Coyotes made the playoffs but Soderberg was not very successful as he only had two points in nine games.
The last of the Blackhawks offseason acquisitions was a younger skilled forward. Lucas Wallmark was a solid player for the Carolina Hurricanes during his brief time there. He was then shipped off to the Florida Panthers in part of the Vincent Trocheck trade. In an even shorter stint with Florida, Wallmark played in seven games and scored one goal, and added one assist. He played in two round-robin games for the Panthers and could not get on the scoreboard.
With Chicago, Wallmark will slide into the top nine and hopefully will be able to find success with the rebuilding Blackhawks. If it works out then the deal is an absolute steal for Chicago.
Conclusion on the Chicago Blackhawks Offseason
This Blackhawks offseason has been a tough one for true Blackhawks fans. The team has officially turned the page of their dynasty and now is focused on the future and improving the team for the long term. During the Blackhawks offseason, they lost many veterans of the team. The Blackhawks offseason also saw them acquire a mix of older and younger players to try and stay competitive in their new division. Don’t worry Blackhawks fans better days are ahead.
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