The Chicago Blackhawks had not lifted the Stanley Cup on Home Ice since 1938. All of that changed tonight.
This is the 6th Stanley Cup in franchise history, the third for current Captain Jonathan Toews and the third in the past 6 seasons.
The Blackhawks entered the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs as a three seed. They faced the 2 seeded Nashville Predators in round 1 defeating them in 6 games. The Blackhawks then drew the Minnesota Wild in round 2. A resilient Wild team was no match for the Hawks who swept the series 4-0. Up next were the Anaheim Ducks. Probably the most exciting series of the Hawks playoffs, this one went 7 and included 3 brilliant OT games.
The Blackhawks are a modern day dynasty. I would even compare them to the New England Patriots in that regard. Over the past seven playoffs, they have made it to the conference finals five times, advancing to the final three of those times. It all starts with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews two of the best players in the NHL. Those two have combined for 215 total points over the last seven playoffs. The ageless Marian Hossa has provided consistent playoff performances since joining the team in 2009. Youngsters Teuvo Teravainen and Brandon Sadd were outstanding in this current cup run. As the old saying goes, “defense wins championships” well the Hawks have the best defensive core in the NHL and they really only play with 4 guys. Stud defenseman Duncan Keith was a monster in this series.
The Blackhawks added a couple of bodies at the deadline that helped them in their run to the cup. They acquired Kimmo Timmonen from Philadelphia, Antoine Vermette from the Arizona Coyotes, and Andrew Desjardins from San Jose. The Timmonen deal was probably the worst of those three moves statistically speaking but you understand why they did it. He’s a great defender and an incredible locker room guy. Luckily for the Hawks, Kimmo retired after fulfilling his dream of lifting the cup. The Vermette deal was smart because at the time Pat Kane was rumored to be out until the third round of the playoffs. Vermette had 7 points in 19 games over the postseason. Fortunately, Kaner was able to start the post-season, no problem. Finally, the Andrew Desjardins deal stuck out to me the most. He didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard but seemed to be in the right spots at the right time. Very good fourth liner.
Will We See Them Again?
The Blackhawks have 11 Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) and 9 Restricted Free Agents (RFA). Notable RFAs include Brandon Sadd, who I expect the Hawks to make a generous offer. Pat Sharp will likely be on another team next season. The biggest problem with this team is Kane and Toews cap hits go UP next season, so the Hawks will not have a ton of room to work with. Despite all of this, I expect them to make the playoffs.