Blackhawks

Blackhawks are having an uncharacteristic season in an important category

Blackhawks are having an uncharacteristic season in an important category

There are a combination of reasons why the Blackhawks are on their way to missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08.

You can point to Corey Crawford's injury as the most obvious, a power play unit that has hovered near the basement all year or an inexperienced defense that has given up the sixth-most high-danger scoring chances.

There's also another one that has been well-documented over the last month and a half particularly, but really sticks out like a sore thumb when you look at the numbers on a larger scale.

The Blackhawks have scored the first goal in 40 of 68 games this season, yet they rank 25th in win percentage (.550) with a 22-13-5 record and are tied for the most regulation losses (13) in those contests when doing so. 

And that's incredibly uncharacteristic for a Joel Quenneville-led team.

Since he took over as head coach in 2008, no team has had more wins when scoring first than the Blackhawks (326). Going into this year, they had ranked third with an overall win percentage of .754 in that category across nine seasons.

Just last year, they were 37-8-5 for a win percentage of .740, which ranked sixth.

What happened?

Well, all those reasons we mentioned above have probably contributed to the lack of success when it comes to shutting the door.

It's not like they're taking their foot off the pedal; they have the second-best 5-on-5 shot differential when they're playing with a lead.

It's that they haven't been able to capitalize on their scoring chances, have allowed way too many quality scoring chances of their own and, obviously, haven't had one of the best goaltenders in the world to bail them out like he often has done in the past.

Still, it's bizarre to see the Blackhawks among the worst teams in the league in that department because they used to be as close to unbeatable as you can get when they jumped out in front first.

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

After staying out of the public eye since his historic emergency relief appearance, Scott Foster emerged in Vegas at the NHL Awards and it was perfect. 

The 36-year-old accountant fittingly presented the Vezina Trophy award for the league's top goaltender and joked that he needed to speed it up because he had to get back to work.

Check him out on stage:

What a moment. And well done, NHL. 

Foster stopped all seven shots he faced in 14:01 of action in the Blackhawks' 6-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on March 30.

Nashville Predators netminder Pekke Rinne took home the award, but you can't argue against Foster's 1.000 career save percentage.

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Noah Dobson

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the points on the power play. He is a point-producer with size, who defends and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone."

NHL player comparable: Brent Burns

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks lacked defensemen that generated offense last year. They also lacked defenders than can ... defend. Dobson is a player who can do both, and if he slips past Vancouver at No. 7, the Blackhawks may have a difficult decision on their hands.

Dobson could solve some of those defensive issues, but it likely wouldn't be in time for the 2018-19 season. He needs time to develop properly.

The Blackhawks like to evaluate prospects based on what their ceiling is and where they're at in their development curve, and if they see major upside here, they'll go for it. It just depends if there's somebody available that they like better.