Blackhawks 2019-20 season in review: Ryan Carpenter

Blackhawks 2019-20 season in review: Ryan Carpenter

The NHL put its 2019-20 season on pause March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but remains hopeful to award the Stanley Cup at some point. Although it's unclear if or when it could return, NBC Sports Chicago will recap the season of each Blackhawks player to date in our "season in review" series. Next up is Ryan Carpenter.

The Blackhawks used last offseason to check off the boxes that really plagued them during the 2018-19 campaign. They signed Robin Lehner to provide a strong 1-2 punch in goal, acquired Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta to shore up the defense, brought back Andrew Shaw for grit and landed Zack Smith for depth. 

Perhaps the quietest move of them all turned out to be their most effective and it was the signing of Ryan Carpenter to a three-year deal at a $1 million cap hit.

The Blackhawks ranked 31st in the penalty kill department last season and heavily relied on Jonathan Toews for defensive zone situations. Toews led all forwards in penalty kill ice time at 143:43 total minutes through 82 games and took 600 faceoffs in the defensive zone; no other Blackhawks had more than 250.

This season, Carpenter led all Blackhawk forwards in penalty kill ice time (167:43) and took 309 defensive zone faceoffs compared to Toews' 461. Carpenter absorbed significant defensive responsibility, which allowed the Blackhawks to be more balanced and have players in specialized roles.

While he scored only two goals at 5-on-5 this season, Carpenter was one of the most snake bitten players in the NHL this season. According to Money Puck, his expected goals at 5-on-5 was 9.1 but his actual goal total was two, meaning he didn't get much puck luck. Only Jack Hughes (minus-7.5) had an "unluckier" rate than Carpenter (minus-7.1).

Still, the Blackhawks were pleasantly surprised with Carpenter's contributions in Year 1.

"I would say that he's probably outperformed our expectations," head coach Jeremy Colliton said of Carpenter in February. "We've been able to use him in a lot of different ways, stretched him a little bit and played him in more offensive situations than maybe we expected to begin with, but ultimately his play away from the puck and play in the defensive zone, just a smart player.

"And he's made plays too, so he's a guy that we've been able to slot up and down the lineup and that's nice to have because you want centers, you want guys who are comfortable in defensive situations and he's done a great job on the penalty kill for us as well."

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Why the Stanley Cup was late to Blackhawks' 2015 Game 6 win over Lightning

Why the Stanley Cup was late to Blackhawks' 2015 Game 6 win over Lightning

Out of tradition and superstition, the Stanley Cup is never in the building until after puck drop during a Stanley Cup Final game in which it could be won, unless it's a Game 7 when both teams have a shot.

On June 15 in 2015, when the Blackhawks won their sixth Stanley Cup in franchise history, old Stanley was a little late to his own party at the United Center.

As the Keeper of the Cup Philip Pritchard tells host Pat Boyle on the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, fans were already celebrating the Hawks Cup-clinching win over the Lightning outside the UC as the trophy was pulling in.

Broadcasters 'Doc' Emrick and Eddie Olczyk were filling time waiting for the Cup to arrive, which was still absent during the handshake line.

According to Pritchard, the Cup left the hotel around puck drop and it was the stormy weather that made the Keeper and the best trophy in sports tardy for the celebration.

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"People that weren't (at the game yet) were in traffic and just leaving their cars and walking and the roads were flooded, the highways were flooded, the bypass was like a lake. And as we were coming out towards the arena, we realized then that we were going to need some help, not just Mother Nature help, but we're going to need security help with it as well," Pritchard said.

"As we pulled into the arena — obviously the game had finished and the Blackhawks won — the home team's going nuts, the hometown fans are going crazy. So we presented (the Conn Smythe) to Duncan Keith and then we brought the Stanley Cup out and I remember on the ice talking to Jonathan Toews and he said, 'That was so cool that it took so long and the fans were loving it.' And I was telling him what went on and he goes, 'Really? I just thought it was part of the effect.'"

Report: NHL 2020 training camp, hub city report, playoff start dates emerge

Report: NHL 2020 training camp, hub city report, playoff start dates emerge

Friday, TSN's Bob McKenzie reported some key dates being targeted for the NHL's Return To Play plan, including the start of the 24-team playoff format.

McKenzie said the new slated date for team training camps (Phase 3) is July 13. Teams would report to the hub cities (reportedly Edmonton and Toronto) on July 26 with games and Phase 4 beginning on August 1. 

Bob also shed some light on when Phase 2 of the NHL Draft Lottery and the conclusion of the playoffs may pan out.

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"The second phase of the NHL draft lottery will occur immediately following the best-of-five, play-in qualifying series, so around Aug. 10-12 if all were to go well. Stanley Cup final would wrap up in early October. NHL draft would happen soon after that," he tweeted Friday.

Related: Report: Edmonton expected to host Stanley Cup Final

In Phase 1, the No. 1 overall pick for the 2020 NHL Draft went to a placeholder team. Each of the eight teams that lose in the qualifying round of the postseason format will have a 12.5 percent chance of getting the top pick in Phase 2. 

Related: What if Blackhawks get No. 1 pick and select Alexis LaFreniere?