Blackhawks

Five Things to watch: Blackhawks host Flames tonight on CSN

Five Things to watch: Blackhawks host Flames tonight on CSN

The Blackhawks (3-3, 6 points) take on the Calgary Flames (1-4-1, 3 points) on Monday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins with Blackhawks Pregame Live at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final horn to get analysis and player reaction on Blackhawks Postgame Live.

Here are five things to watch for during tonight's game:

1. Anisimov, Panik look to stay hot: Artem Anisimov and Richard Panik are both tied for fourth in the NHL in points with eight apiece. Panik has recorded at least one point in five of six games this season, including a hat trick in last week's win over the Predators and a game-tying goal against the Maple Leafs in the final minute of regulation. Anisimov has shaken off a slow start and recorded seven points in his last three games.

2. The Captain looks to light the lamp: Twelve different Blackhawks have scored a goal through six games. None of those players are named Jonathan Toews. The Captain has recorded two assists and actually leads the Blackhawks in penalty minutes (nine), and all 15 of his shots on goal - second on the team - have been stopped. The good news is Toews has 21 points in 31 career games against the Flames.

3. Johnny Hockey takes his talents to the Windy City: The 23-year-old All-Star might remind you of a certain No. 88 on the Blackhawks, and for good reason. The 5-foot-9, 157-pound Gaudreau was sixth in the NHL in points last season, and he led the Flames in goals, assists and points. He's got just three points in six games this season for the 1-5 Flames, but he's a candidate to make something happen in an instant whenever he's on the ice.

4. Former Blackhawks return to the UC: It'll be a small reunion of sorts for the Blackhawks and Flames on Monday night. Calgary currently has three former Blackhawks on its roster in Kris Versteeg, Troy Brouwer and Michal Frolik. Versteeg and Brouwer were part of the Blackhawks' 2010 Stanley Cup run, Frolik was on the squad in 2013, and Versteeg returned to the Madhouse in Madison in 2015.

5. Brian Elliott struggling with new squad: The last time the Blackhawks saw Brian Elliott he was leading the Blues to a Game 7 victory with 31 saves. He  hasn't found that same sort of success early in his first season with the Flames; he's 0-3 and has allowed 14 goals. He's likely to start in goal tonight against the Blackhawks.

For more on how the two teams stack up, click here for all the stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Seth Gruen (Big Ten Unfiltered) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel. 

The Blackhawks drop their 8th straight. So should their “One Goal” be to tank?

Plus, Jon Lester isn’t a fan of the new pace of play proposals. Is he right?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

After losing their eighth straight game and falling 12 points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks' playoff chances have dipped to a season-low 0.2 percent. It would take a miracle for them to extend their postseason streak to 10 at this point, where getting just one win seems like a monumental task.

The Blackhawks were probably never really going to be buyers before the Feb. 26 trade deadline even if they were still in the hunt, but it's hard to imagine they had plans to be sellers. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has reiterated over and over again that he's confident in this group, one that's getting younger and faster.

But now they've reached a territory where they have to consider selling off spare parts simply to coup some draft picks or prospects that they could perhaps retain or use as sweeteners in the offseason.

So which players could the Blackhawks realistically sell?

Let's start with the two players getting rewarded with top-six ice time as of late: Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels.

These are two players that play with high energy and go to the greasy areas, something that's important in the playoffs when scoring goals becomes more difficult. They can clean up rebounds. Wingels, particularly, likely has more value and it's showing given his recent success on the power play as a net-front presence guy. He also isn't a stranger to the playoffs with 54 games under his belt compared to Bouma's five.

Both of them are pending unrestricted free agents and are making $1 million or fewer, which certainly works in the Blackhawks' favor considering they won't cost much and their cap hits are easy to fit in on any interested team.

Maybe a team would like to take a flyer on Tomas Jurco, who's a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but that would be a move somebody makes as more of a longer term project than strengthening your depth for a playoff run this spring.

On the back end, Michal Kempny and Jan Rutta could be in play for a contender looking to ensure some depth as a sixth or seventh defenseman. Again, each of them are making less than $1 million so it's a low-risk situation for clubs whose Plan A or B fall through and may be interested in at least getting something.

While they don't have much NHL experience, they're both 27 years old and have played the sport long enough to know what they can bring to the table.

Once Feb. 26 passes and potential roster spots open up, expect the Blackhawks to start calling up the kids. 

Matthew Highmore deserves a look after leading the Rockford IceHogs with 20 goals and 32 points. John Hayden has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 15 games since joining Rockford, and belongs in the NHL. Even Anthony Louis, who's taken a step forward, should get a taste of the action as he continues his development.

Carl Dahlstrom is getting his shot now. Erik Gustafsson is in that process as well. Gustav Forsling had another extended look during the first half of the season before the team decided it would be wise to continue his development in Rockford, where he can play top-pairing minutes.

All of this would give the Blackhawks a better indicator of how they can approach the upcoming offseason, and which young guys they can possibly add into the mix for 2018-19. But first, we have to see how the end of February plays out before making those calls.