Look ... there are still plenty of question marks related to the 2021-22 version of the Chicago Blackhawks. Just about every position group has some reasons for doubt. The coaching staff may be the biggest question mark of all. And, over the top of all of that, looms the shadow cast by multiple lawsuits filed against the organization with an internal investigation still ongoing.
We’ll have time to dive into all of that in the days, weeks and months ahead. For right now, though, the SCH staff has assembled to form the following list of various things that have us excited when it comes to the upcoming hockey season. It’s probably an incomplete list. Feel free to toss in any omissions in the comment below.
And away we go:
- A full 82-game season with fans in the stadium. The return of crowds to sports this summer/fall has been refreshing and, in hindsight, I’m not entirely sure how we did any sports without that vital part of the atmosphere.
- Having Jonathan Toews back on the ice. With so many other pieces from the team’s glory days departing via trade or retirement or free agency, it’s wonderful to still have that link to the past with the potential for him to create a few more pleasant memories in the future.
- Seeing if Philipp Kurashev can take another step forward
- Watching to see if Alex DeBrincat can find yet another level of ascension after a breakout 2021 campaign
- Brandon Hagel’s skating
- More highlight-reel saves from Marc-Andre Fleury
- More puck wizardry from Patrick Kane
- Counting up the number of goals Dominik Kubalik scores this season now that Toews is back as his center
- If Kevin Lankinen can revert back to his form from early in his rookie season, now that Fleury’s is here to lighten the goaltending burden
- How good are the Rockford IceHogs going to be this season, especially with important players like Lukas Reichel and Nicolas Beaudin in the lineup
- The possible ascension of Adam Gaudette, now that his physical ailments are behind him (this may apply to Dave and Mil only)
- Watching Jake McCabe and Connor Murphy’s potential as the shutdown D pairing the Blackhawks have been sorely missing
We probably missed a few. Let us know in the comments.