Hey guys! Sven here with an analysis of the Chicago Blackhawks! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2018-19 fantasy hockey season: The 31 in 31 daily segment. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season.
Patrick Kane – 82GP 27-49-76. Barring an uncharacteristic season, Patrick Kane will be able to register another 70 or so points. Though I do not see Chicago being a good team this season, he will likely be their best player. Ideally, Kane will be available to scoop up in the third round of your draft.
Jonathan Toews – 74GP 20-32-52. Captain Serious point totals have regressed slightly over the past three seasons; however, I am confident that he will continue to log plenty of minutes at #1C for the Blackhawks. Likely centering a line of DeBrincat and Saad, the play of those around him could result in a better season for Toews. He is a proven, reliable centre that will likely be available midway through your draft.
Nick Schmaltz – 78GP 21-31-52. Schmaltz enjoyed somewhat of a breakout season in what was a very quiet year for the Blackhawks. Provided that he is still playing on a line with Patty Kane, I predict another great season from the 22-year-old. I consider him a legitimate sleeper pick option, likely available to pounce on mid-draft.
Alex DeBrincat – 82GP 28-24-52. After a solid rookie season, what DeBrincat lacks in size he makes up for with his skating and tenacity. He is known as the type of player that can gel easily with whoever he plays with, and will be given plenty of minutes this season. Beware of the sophomore slump, but I believe DeBrincat is the real deal and will put up a solid 50-60 points.
Brandon Saad – 82GP 18-17-35. After three straight 50-point seasons in the NHL, Saad took a significant step back last season despite playing all 82 games. DailyFaceoff has him at #1LW playing with Toews, so there is no reason why Saad can’t have a bounce-back year. This Chicago team will generate most of its offence from the four players mentioned above, so Saad being a linemate will have his opportunities. However, I am not holding my breath.
Duncan Keith – 82GP 2-30-32. We can group Keith in with several other players who had disappointing seasons for the Blackhawks last season. His numbers may hurt his pre-season ranking, however the 35-year-old can still play. I see him as a low-risk pick mid-draft, as he will still receive a boat load of minutes this season.
Erik Gustafsson – 35GP 5-11-16. After sending two stints with Chicago over the last three seasons, this could be Gustafsson’s year to break out. With the Keith/Seabrook pairing slowly deteriorating, he will be given plenty of minutes and likely some PP time. Though he is likely not worth drafting, keep your eye out on this 26-year-old.
Corey Crawford – 28GP 2.27GAA 929SV%. Despite an injury-plagued season, Crawford still put up respectable numbers in his limited games. Though I don’t expect the team playing in front of him to play very well, Crawford is still capable of stealing games. Though he would not be the first goalie drafted to my team, he is a great #2 option.
Victor Ejdsell – SHL: 50GP 20-14-34. After a few seasons developing in Sweden, Ejdsell appears to be ready to play full time in the NHL. He is a big body that can play centre as well as the wing, and seems to have good speed. Though I do not expect much from this team’s bottom six, I believe any production they see will involve Ejdsell. He is rookie-eligible, though I do not see him receiving a ton of play time unless Coach Q gives him Saad’s spot on the top line.
Dylan Sikura – NCAA: 35GP 22-32-54. After playing out his college career at Northeastern University, the former sixth-round pick is ready for his shot with Chicago. Sikura put up a great season alongside Hobey Baker winner Adam Gaudette (a Canucks prospect), but much like Ejdsell I do not see him having a ton of opportunity to chip in with the Blackhawks. Sikura is a prospect that may take a couple of seasons to find his game, but the future appears bright.
Adam Boqvist – SuperElit: 25GP 14-10-24. The Blackhawks drafted the offensively-gifted Boqvist eighth overall in the 2018 draft. He is expected to play for London in the OHL this year, but this is an exciting prospect for a team that needs defence badly. I anticipate Chicago will be patient with the 18-year-old, however expect him to light it up with London this year with his ability to jump into the play and excellent vision.
Henri Jokiharju – WHL: 63GP 12-59-71. Jokiharju is another Blackhawks defensive prospect that has yet to graduate from major-junior. Much like Boqvist, he is a right-shot defenceman that has great offensive vision. The 2017 first-rounder should be able to put together another impressive season in the WHL, and I anticipate we will see him with Chicago next season.