Here’s the third installment to Second City Hockey’s stock report series after a 3-1-2 stretch for Chicago starting Nov. 2 in Los Angeles through Nov. 10 vs. Toronto.
1. Patrick Kane
Showtime is smokin’ hot right now. In this six game stretch, he’s collected five goals, including two game winners, six assists, 19 shots, 17 individual scoring chances, seven takeaways and has averaged 21:30 minutes of ice time per game.
The only 6 with more by that criteria: Jaromir Jagr (89), Guy Lafleur (87), Mike Bossy (80), Gordie Howe (72), Glenn Anderson (71) & Stephane Richer (66) https://t.co/e0Wo9MvguB— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) November 8, 2019
Not only has he started to pad the scoresheet and risen to No. 12 in the NHL with 20 points, but that offensive wizardry we are used to seeing out of Kane is back since linking up with Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome. He’s doing spin-o-ramas, skating circles around defenders in the offensive zone and setting up scoring chances like this:
And Kane still created this: pic.twitter.com/PgJF2vlkjx— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) November 10, 2019
With Vegas and Nashville on the schedule this week, Kane has gotten hot right when Chicago needed a spark from their superstar.
2. Duncan Keith
Keith has stepped up since Connor Murphy went down with a groin injury. In the last six games, he’s led the team with 26:14 minutes of ice time per game, has a goal and three assists, 11 shots, four takeaways, 10 shot blocks and has generated a 49.5 Corsi-For rate at 5-on-5, which is the top mark for Chicago defensemen.
He’s also been versatile. He has 15 offensive and defensive zone starts, as well as 24 minutes of penalty kill (second most on team) and 19 minutes of power play time (third most on team). Plus, he’s taken on tough assignments partnering up with two offensive-minded defensemen in 19-year old Adam Boqvist and Erik Gustafsson.
With Boqvist at 5-on-5: 32:19 minutes, 48.4 Corsi-For rate, one goal for and one against, 18 scoring chances for and 16 against.
With Gustafsson at 5-on-5: 46:19 minutes, 48.6 Corsi-For rate, one goal for and zero against, 17 scoring chances for and 15 against.
3. David Kampf
In his last six games, Kampf has averaged 15:18 minutes of ice time, collected two goals (one was an empty netter off his skate, but it still counts), and at 5-on-5 generated a 46.3 Corsi-For rate and is one of the only three Blackhawks with an expected goals for rate above 50-percent at 51.0.
Additionally, after struggling at the faceoff dot last season with a 45.3 winning percentage, he owns a 52.5 and 55.6 winning percentage in this six game stretch at 5-on-5 and on the penalty kill respectively. If Kampf can continue to be reliable at the faceoff dot this season, he will bolster an already improving penalty kill and be trusted to take more defensive zone starts.
1. Olli Maatta
In Matta’s last six games, he’s been getting crushed in possession metrics. At 5-on-5, he own’s the worst Corsi-For and expected goals for rate of Chicago’s defensemen at 42.3 and 35.7-percent respectively. Maatta has also been on the ice for eight goals against and a staggering 26 high danger chances against.
However, this stretch of poor metrics may be more a product of not having an optimal defensive partner as he’s had to pair up with Boqvist, Gustafsson and Slater Koekkoek. When Murphy, who’s eligible to return from LTIR on Saturday, rejoins the lineup, expect Maatta to pair back up with either Calvin de Haan or Brent Seabrook.
2. Zack Smith
Although Smith has added physicality to the lineup with 16 hits in his last four games and can occasionally play on the penalty kill, he has struggled mightily generating offensive zone time. At 5-on-5, he has the second lowest Corsi-For rate on the Blackhawks at 39.5-percent and has been on the ice for 20 scoring chances and nine high danger chances against.
Smith is not expected to put up many points, but he is expected to wear down defenders in the offensive zone with cycles and by competing for space in front of the net to get tips or rebounds. With the fifth highest cap hit of Chicago’s forwards at $3.25-million, it’s concerning that he still hasn’t collected a point this season and only has nine shots.
3. Faceoffs on the power play
Chicago’s power plays often start with a lost faceoff, a clear by the opponents and then a regroup that takes 20-30 seconds off the man advantage. In the last six games, Strome, Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews have combined for a 43.6-percent faceoff winning percentage.
The Blackhawks power play currently sits 24th in the NHL at 14.5-percent. If Chicago wants to convert more often, bearing down and focusing on winning the opening draw after the penalty call will lead to controlled zone time right at the start of the power play. They can get a shot on net or set up Kane with the puck off the draw instead of having to waste time trying to enter the offensive zone and set up their power play formation.