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The ‘21-22 Chicago Blackhawks: By the Numbers

A mountain of team statistics to wade through as we begin looking back at the season that was.

St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

The 2021-22 Chicago Blackhawks finished the season with a 28-42-12 record, good for 68 points — the lost point total for the Blackhawks in an 82-game season since 2005-06.

To see how the Blackhawks ended up at that awful mark, let’s take a deep dive into the numbers that made up this version of the team.

Overall Team Statistics

Let’s start with the basics. Here’s where the Blackhawks sat at the end of 82 games:

  • 28th in the NHL with 2.60 goals scored per game
  • 26th in the NHL with 3.52 goals against per game
  • 31st in the NHL with 28.8 shots on goal per game
  • 24th in the NHL with 33.0 shots on goal allowed per game
  • 16th in the NHL with a 49.6 percent success rate on faceoffs
  • 26th in the NHL with a team shooting percentage of 9.0
  • 28th in the NHL with a team save percentage of .893
  • 20th in the NHL with a 19.26 percent conversion rate on the power play
  • 24th in the NHL with a 75.91 percent conversion rate on the penalty kill

Also, one common theme this season was that the Blackhawks were always playing from behind because they always gave up the first goal. The NHL website tracks that statistic and the Blackhawks scored first in only 36 games this season: 26th in the league. And they only won 64 percent of those games: 20th in the league.

5-on-5 Team Statistics

Venturing over to the Natural Stat Trick website, we can take a deeper look at how the Blackhawks fared during 5-on-5 play, which accounted for 4,001 minutes and 28 seconds of the 4,996 minutes and 18 seconds of hockey they played this season — 80 percent. Seems to be an important chunk of the season, right?

Let’s dive in:

  • 30th in the league with a 45.98 percent share of shot attempts
  • 30th in the league with a 46.04 percent share of shots on goal
  • 31st in the league with a 42.69 percent share of goals scored (143 for, 192 against)
  • 30th in the league with a 45.48 percent share of expected goals
  • 28th in the league with a 45.41 percent share of scoring chances
  • 26th in the league with a 46.25 percent share of high-danger chances
  • 25th in the league with a 7.85 percent shot percentage
  • 24th in the league with a .910 save percentage

Every bit as awful as expected, right? Let’s throw out the Jeremy Colliton games and see what happens:

  • 30th in the league with a 46.04 percent share of shot attempts
  • 28th in the league with a 46.24 percent share of shots on goal
  • 23rd in the league with a 45.14 percent share of goals scored (130 for, 158 against)
  • 29th in the league with a 45.86 percent share of expected goals
  • 27th in the league with a 45.60 percent share of scoring chances
  • 27th in the league with a 45.83 percent share of high-danger chances
  • 21st in the league with a 8.09 percent shot percentage
  • 16th in the league with a .915 save percentage

Welp.

5-on-5 Team Rates

Another storyline that emerged this season was the stretch of improved defensive play once the team transition from Colliton to King behind the bench. And there are numbers which support that claim. However, the Blackhawks were still near the bottom of the league in virtually every category detailed above.

By switching the statistical focus to the rates of shots/chances/goals against, an explanation emerges (again, these are just the games with King as the coach):

  • 26th in the league with a rate of 31.98 shots on goal against per 60 minutes
  • 21st in the league with a rate of 2.68 goals against per 60 minutes
  • 19th in the league with a rate of 28.15 scoring chances against per 60 minutes
  • 12th in the league with a rate of 2.47 expected goals against per 60 minutes
  • 7th in the league with a rate of 10.29 high-danger chances against per 60 minutes

The Hawks abysmal stretch of games in March and April likely affected the numbers here, although the significant improvement in high-danger chances allowed suggests there was some level of improvement. The problem, though, is what happened to the Blackhawks offense during this same span:

  • 30th in the league with a rate of 27.71 shots on goal per 60 minutes
  • 29th in the league with a rate of 2.26 goals per 60 minutes
  • 31st in the league with a rate of 23.76 scoring chances per 60 minutes
  • 32nd (aka dead last) in the league with a rate of 2.12 expected goals per 60 minutes
  • 32nd (aka dead last) in the league with a rate of 8.88 high-danger chances per 60 minutes

Any improvements in defense were offset by the widespread ineptitude of the Blackhawks offense. Not that anyone who watched this team consistently for the last seven months needed another reminder of that.

Special Teams

The other 20 percent of the Blackhawks ‘21-22 season wasn’t much better. As stated earlier, Chicago’s power play was 20th in the league at 19.26 percent and the penalty kill was 24th at 75.91 percent. Adhering to the traditional hockey wisdom of having those two numbers add up to 100 percent makes for an average special-teams performance, the Blackhawks checking in at 95.17 is yet another indicator of the team’s below-average (or worse? Probably worse) results this season.

But let’s take a deeper look here as well, again using rates to tell the story:

Power Play

  • 23rd in the league with a rate of 51.87 shots on goal per 60 minutes
  • 25th in the league with a rate of 90.63 shot attempts per 60 minutes
  • 22nd in the league with a rate of 6.7 goals per 60 minutes
  • 23rd in the league with a rate of 49.16 scoring chances per 60 minutes
  • 25th in the league with a rate of 6.35 expected goals per 60 minutes
  • 25th in the league with a rate of 17.53 high-danger chances per 60 minutes
  • 19th in the league with a 12.91 shooting percentage while on the power play

Not enough shots, not enough chances, not enough goals: the story of the ‘21-22 Chicago Blackhawks!

Penalty Kill

  • 21st in the league with a rate of 57.97 shots on goal against per 60 minutes
  • 29th in the league with a rate of 106.59 shot attempts against per 60 minutes
  • 9th in the league with a rate of 8.53 goals against per 60 minutes
  • 17th in the league with a rate of 54.42 scoring chances against per 60 minutes
  • 13th in the league with a rate of 7.25 expected goals against per 60 minutes
  • 24th in the league with a rate of 19.16 high-danger chances against per 60 minutes
  • 22nd in the league with a .853 save percentage while shorthanded

Some of those numbers actually don’t look too bad, particularly the rate of goals against. Chicago was ranked 8th in the league this season in the amount of time it spent shorthanded (372:38) and was tied for the eighth-lowest number of penalty kill opportunities at 220. It appears the lesson here is that, if a penalty kill isn’t doing well, a good strategy is to keep it off of the ice.

For a quick summary of what compiling all those numbers felt like, let’s go to former Blackhawks defense Niklas Hjalmarsson.

Nik, take it away:

Thanks Nik.