The Chicago Blackhawks have had a similar run to the Pittsburgh Penguins over the last decade, but can they rebound as they did too?
The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the most successful teams of the last decade, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are right there with them. They have both followed a similar path to greatness as they both got lucky with top three picks and developing other players to complement them. They have both had good players on defense and solid goaltending. Each core has won three Stanley Cups, but the Penguins were able to bounce back from some lackluster years.
The question is whether or not the Blackhawks can do the same thing. Neither team would rebuild after some down years because of the fact that they each had some generational players on their team and didn’t want to waste that opportunity. The Penguins, with players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang won the Cup and had some conference finals appearances during a nice run from 2008-2013. Then in 2014 and 2015 they struggled to even make the playoffs and were out earlier than you would expect.
There is a very similar situation happening right now in Chicago. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith have already been a part of extended team success but the last two years have been hard. They need a Penguins like resurgence to help get themselves back to where they need to be otherwise they would just be wasting the second half of these guys prime. The Penguins did just that when they won the Stanley Cup in both 2016 and 2017 after some were claiming that the Crosby and Malkin era wouldn’t ever again see the same success.
The Penguins did it by the development of players like Jake Guentzel, Conor Sheary, and Matt Murray. They also made a significant trade to add another star in Phil Kessel. The Blackhawks have something similar with players like Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, and Kirby Dach now a part of the organization. They might not win back to back cups as the Penguins did in their resurgence, but getting back to the playoffs to give themselves a chance is a good start.
Training camp begins in about a month so things are going to start heating up soon for all 31 teams and the Blackhawks are going to come into this season with a lot to prove. They have retooled on the fly, and are hoping they can give it one more go with this group. The fun is just around the corner, so get ready.