Patrick Kane had two assists in the Blackhawks loss to Buffalo Monday night, in which the two assists tallied his 45-46 points of JUST the 2019 campaign. Kane on the season has 56 assists(T-6th), 40 goals(3rd) and 96 points(2nd). To keep it simple, Kane has been unbelievable this season. Kane has been a major reason the Blackhawks turned around their season and for that split second we thought they could have been a playoff team.
Patrick Kane has played in 24 games in 2019, therefore he is producing at a 1.92 points per game, almost two points per game for 20+ games is almost unheard of. Let alone, 1.9 points per game for 20+ games is still unimaginable. Kane has not recorded a point in just four games since January 1st 2019. He went on that ridiculous 20-point streak that made him the first American player to do so. During his 20-point streak he had 18 goals and 26 assists.
Kane has collected more points in a 24-game span than some NHL players do in a full 82-game season. He has collected more goals and assists in a 20-game stretch then some NHL players do in a full season. Needless to say we can go on and on about Patrick Kane’s phenomenal 20-game point streak and current 46 points in 2019. But the more important question is there anyway we see this guy win the Ted Lindsay award?
As many of you are aware, Patrick Kane is one if not the best U.S. born hockey player. He continues to tear the NHL apart year after year and as of now is on a 18-game point streak, totaling 40 points over this 18-point streak. Kane has 36 goals and 90 points in 59 games this season. Aside from his close to record setting point streak, close to 40-goal mark and on pace for 123 points this season. Kane has made Alex Debrincat a 30-goal scorer, Dylan Strome resurge his career and has helped Jonathan Toews get back his game this season. Along with rejuvenating the Blackhawks season in recent weeks and pushing them into playoff contention.
The Hart is a trophy that is awarded to the most valuable player to their team. I definitely can see why some people reading his may say Nikita Kucherov is the sure Hart Memorial Trophy winner this season. But I am here to disagree and would like to hear others view points. Kucherov is without a doubt one of the bets players in the NHL he has 29 goals, 70 assists and 99 points in 60 games this season on pace for well over 120 points, 90 assists and 40 goals but Kucherov does have a lot more help around him. Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos are pretty much pure goal scorers dishing them the puck for one-timers or dishing it off and letting them do the shooting is not always the hardest.
Take a look at what Kucherov did Monday night vs Columbus, aside from his second goal that was a very nice move under the defense’s stick for a tuck under the sprawling goaltender. Kucherov’s assist to Stamkos I think anyone in the NHL can make, same with Brayden Point’s goal, he stood there and made a one-touch pass to a streaking Point. I am not discrediting Kucherov. He puts himself in these positions he has a knack for scoring and unreal vision that allows him to anticipates plays and be one-step ahead of everyone else. Yeah, sure, most of his goals and assists are unreal but for example the power play assists one touch passing it to Hedman or Stamkos is not some kind of superstar caliber play.
UNPOPULAR opinion. Not saying Kuch does not deserve Hart Memorial consideration but looking at 3/4 points here. I can't say he does anything truly special. He is on a talented team, with goal scorers to his left/right + the best PP in the NHL. Just my opinion… #NHL#TBLightningpic.twitter.com/xaMO28AvjP
With that said, Kane is hands down the Blackhawks most valuable player and most valuable player to HIS team this season. Kane creates so much open space, opens up the ice for everyone, draws 2-3 players to him 5 on 5, on the power play and is hands down the best passer in the NHL. His deception with the puck on the power play or even 5 on 5 is like no other. Along with his shooting ability, to stick handle 2-3 times, make it look like he is going to pass and quickly shoot low glove or blocker has beaten almost every NHL goaltender this season.
Kane is second in points with 90, nine behind Kucherov. 2nd in goals with 36, seven ahead of Kucherov. Tied 2nd in assists with 54, sixteen behind Kucherov. Second in the NHL in points per game (1.53) 0.12 behind Kucherov. Kane has 9 power play goals, making that twenty-seven 5-on-5 goals. Kucherov has 11 power play goals, leaving him with eighteen 5-on-5 goals. Kane leads Kucherov by nine 5-on-5 goals. Kane has 29 power play points compared to Kucherov’s 39 power play points. Therefore Kane has 61 even strength points, Kucherov has 60 even strength points. The two are tied with five game-winning goals. Kane has 240 shots compared to Kucherov’s 168 shots. Kane has a 15.0 percent shooting percentage compared to Kucherov’s 17.3 percent. Meanwhile Kane has shot the puck 72 times more than Kucherov there shooting percentage only varies by 2.3 percent. Kane is averaging 22:16 minutes per game vs Kucherov’s 19:30 minutes. Some would say Kane should be more productive with that much ice time but as a forward 22 minutes is nearly unheard of, Kane is one of the four NHL forwards who plays 22+ minutes a game. The Lightning have two other players within the top-10 in points the next Blackhawk among the “top” point scorers is Alex Debrincat with 60 points (T-30). Lightning’s Point (78) and Stamkos (72) the difference from Kucherov to the next point scorer is 21 and 27. While Kane to Debrincat the difference is 30 points. The next in line after Debrincat is Jonathan Toews with also 60 points.
Look I am not saying Kucherov is only good because of Stamkos and Point do not twist my words people or put words in my mouth. The guy is a generational talent and one of the best goal-scoring play-making forwards in the NHL but when it comes to the Hart Memorial, Patrick Kane needs to be a BIG candidate. Kane has been in the league for 11 years and when he has played 80+ games in a season he has produced 70+ points in five of those six seasons. He is a 7-time 20+ goal scorer, 4-time 30+ goal scorer and one of the most consistent and top difference makers in the league. At least give the conversation some thought!
The Blackhawks had one of their worst seasons in 11 years, being one of the few NHL teams to win three Stanley Cups in the last 10 years they certainly did not have the season many expected. One of the teams in the NHL that constantly is #1 in attendance every year, built on years of success in Chicago the Blackhawks had a blunder of a season.
The Blackhawks posted a 33-39-10, 7th in Central with 76 points, ranking 21st in goals for(228), 9th in goals against(254), 28th in power play percentage(16.0), 20th in penalty kill percentage(79.1). The Blackhakws had a terrible season across the board and now have a ton of questions to answer. After acquiring Brandon Saad for Artem Panarin and to see the left winger Saad only produce 35 points in 82 games looks terrible for Chicago. On top of Artem Aminsov having a down year, Patrick Sharp scoring 21 points in 70 games and Jonathan Toews with 52 in 74 games the Blackhawks signings and top guns did not get the job done, nor did anything on the back end click this year.
The Blackhawks problems are relatively small, yet it was obvious as to why they did not do too well either. They lack defensive depth a ton, their forwards did not produce and Corey Crawford was out all year basically.
What went wrong with the Blackhawks?
(1) Defensive depth. At one point Brent Seabrook their once superstar and number two defenseman was left in the stands due to poor performance. They scratched Seabrook this year so right there we knew how this was going to go for Chicago. Duncan Keith is getting older(34) and maybe playing the 3-time Stanley Cup defenseman for 30+ minutes a game is not do able anymore, he struggled a bit this year, posting a -29 rating. Only the third time in his 13 year career he ever posted a negative +/-. After those two the Blackhawks had to rely on Jon Rutta, Erik Gustafsson, Jordan Oesterle and Connor Murphy combined these four players have played in a total of 547 games, without Murphy’s 334 the other three combine for 213 games, and two of these players, Rutta and Oestrerle played in their first full year as an NHL defenseman. Pretty clear as to why the Blackhawks had a down year.
(2) Saad was non existent, other veteran players and top six guys were not consistent. The whole Saad ordeal looks bad for the Blackhawks now especially after Saad’s 35 point year and Panarin’s playoff appearance and 82 point year. That is number one as to why the Blackhawks forward group ranked 21st in the NHL for goals for. Sharp was also not expected to do much but he still did not live up to his bargain, Aminsov was definitely expected to produce more than 31 points and without Marian Hossa it was obvious this top six lacked production. When Nick Schmaltz and Alex Debrincat, one first year player and the other in his second season produce 52 points as the next top producer it is obvious their is some in balance in the line up. Without Kane’s 76 points, no one on this roster besides Debrincat, Kane and Schmaltz had a solid year. Also acquiring Anthony Duclair to add some depth did not work out as he produced a total of 8 points in 23 games. They lacked consistency and depth on the front end, but have some young and up and coming players to look forward to.
(3) Corey Crawford was MIA. At one point they had their 9th string, mens league goalie play a game for them because they were hurting so much in the crease. Crawford played in 27 games missing 55 games, essentially the whole season. Not much needs to be said as to how this hurt the Blachkawks. To supplement Crawford was Anton Forsberg who posted a 10-16-4 record, a 2.97 GAA and .908 save percentage. Not great numbers to help a team be successful at least.
Will things better?
Probably it is hard for things not to get better but the Blackhawks problems are easily fixable. Saad needs to step up, you now have young forwards that have seen time and played well so that’s good, Kane and Toews are always a solid mix, and adding one to two more forwards is not terrible. The defensive side of things basically adding one top four and one sixth defenseman is not a bad idea, but the other young guys did not have terrible years just inexperienced and young. They saw NHL time and will be ready for next year. Crawford stays healthy that is the key, if so they are destined to have a better season.
The positive though the Blachawks now have two 1st round picks and two 3rd round picks, and also 6 million in cap space. The negative their division is only getting better, Nashville, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Blues, Stars, Avalanche were all at one point battling for a playoff spot so this division is extremely tough it will be interesting to see what Chicago can do in this division next year. The only players they need to resign are Vinnie Hinostroza, others like Duclair, Tomas Jurco and Michael Rosival can all walk. The Blachawks have the 8th overall pick, hoping to get a defenseman as well as the 27th in the first round. That is a huge positive. Possibly trade the 27th if a top four defenseman hits the market.
Anyways we can expect around a 5th place finish out of Chicago next year and not making the playoffs, on the bubble but not making. The division is tough and not getting easier so I just cannot see this Chicago team out dueling Minnesota, Nashville, Winnipeg, Dallas or St. Louis next year.