Will Chicago repeat as champs?

Will Chicago repeat as champs?
August 12, 2013, 1:30 pm
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CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

2012-13 Record: 36-7-5, 77 points

Where they finished: 1st in the Central; 1st in the West; 1st in NHL 

Coach: Joel Quenneville (6th season)

Key additions: G Nikolai Khabibulin

Key departures: C Dave Bolland, G Ray Emery, RW Michael Frolik, RW Viktor Stalberg

PROJECTED LINEUP

Forwards

Bryan Bickell – Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp – Brandon Saad – Marian Hossa
Brandon Pirri – Andrew Shaw – Jeremy Morin
Brandon Bollig – Marcus Kruger – Michal Handzus

Defensemen

Brent Seabrook – Duncan Keith
Niklas Hjalmarsson – Johnny Oduya
Nick Leddy – Michal Rozsival
Sheldon Brookbank

Goalies

Corey Crawford
Nikolai Khabibulin

OUR TAKE

Don’t let the offseason grade fool you. The Blackhawks earn a “C” for their changes this summer – but they didn’t have to do much anyway. It was all tinkering at the margins of a team that has won two Stanley Cups in the last four years. 

Joel Quenneville has a few options at center to replace Dave Bolland, who was traded to Toronto just weeks after scoring the winning goal in the Stanley Cup finals. That will be an adjustment for Saad or Pirri – or whomever Chicago goes with. 

But the top line is dominant with the emergence of Bickell as a power forward to go with stars Toews and Kane. And the Blackhawks still have a deep group of young forwards. 

Keith is annually among the game’s best defensemen and Crawford could start in goal for Canada at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Chicago is loaded for its title defense.  

Offseason Grade: C

Will they make the playoffs in 2013-14: Yes.