The Chicago Blackhawks are ready to make a run at their third Stanley Cup since 2010. Here's our preview of the team and the NHL's Central Division.
2013-14 RECORD: 46-21-15, 107 points (third in Central; lost to Kings, 4-3, in conference final)
VITAL SIGHS: 3.18 goals per game (2nd); goals-against per game (2.58); 19.5 power play pct. (10th); 81.4 penalty kill pct. (19th); shootout record: 6-8 (17th)
NOTABLE ARRIVALS: C Brad Richards
NOTABLE DEPARTURES: LW Brandon Bollig, G Nikolai Khabibulin, D Nick Leddy
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
Patrick Sharp — Jonathan Toews — Marian Hossa
Brandon Saad — Brad Richards — Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell — Andrew Shaw — Kris Versteeg
Brandon Mashinter — Marcus Kruger — Ben Smith
Peter Regin — Jeremy Morin
The big power forward cashed in on his 2013 playoffs (17 points in 23 games) with a four-tear, $16 million extension, and then suffered through injuries and inconsistency last season (15 points in 59 games). He came around once again in the postseason, scoring seven goals and racking up 80 hits in 19 games. While maintaining that pace would be a stretch over a full season, a 20-goal, 40-point campaign with 200 or so hits would go a long way towards making his big contract more palatable.
PREDICTION: 108 points; first in Central