SB Nation Reacts: Blackhawks fans more confident in team direction before Stanley Cup Qualifiers
Front office changes, signings, injured players returning and the possibility of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the second draft lottery have increased confidence.
Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NHL. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Blackhawks fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
With play about to resume in the NHL, fans can again turn to the on-ice action. For Blackhawks fans, that’s not necessarily a good thing. According to SB Nation’s Reacts survey, 39 percent of Chicago fans are confident the team is headed in the right direction, a slight uptick from 25 percent in mid-March.
Since the NHL paused the season, the Blackhawks fired John McDonough as president and CEO and elevated vice president Danny Wirtz to an interim president role. The team has yet to name a new president. They also demoted Norm Maciver from assistant GM to VP of player personnel and made several other changes to their hockey operations department.
In April, the Blackhawks also signed forward prospects Andrei Altybarmakyan, Evan Barratt and Michal Teply to entry-level contracts, and re-signed forward Matthew Highmore and goaltender Kevin Lankinen to two-year extensions. They also signed Czech winger Matej Chalupa to a two-year contract in May. The survey was completed prior to the team signing three players (Ian Mitchell, Pius Suter and Wyatt Kalynuk) on Thursday.
On the ice, Chicago has seen defensemen Adam Boqvist (concussion), Calvin de Haan (right shoulder) and Brent Seabrook (right shoulder/both hips) and forward Drake Caggiula (right hand) return from injuries. It’s unclear if Seabrook will be fully ready to play for the Blackhawks when they return to play July 29 for an exhibition game against the Blues or Aug. 1 for their Stanley Cup Qualifier series against the Oilers.
All eight losers in the qualifier series will have an equal chance (12.5 percent) in Phase 2 of the NHL Draft Lottery at the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. If Chicago falls to the Oilers, the Blackhawks will be guaranteed a top-10 pick (Nos. 1, 9 or 10) for a third straight season.
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