Blackhawks

Brandon Saad joins the Blackhawks All-Decade Team

Brandon Saad joins the Blackhawks All-Decade Team

Throughout the 2019-20 season, NBC Sports Chicago will be unveiling its Blackhawks All-Decade Team. The roster will feature the 14 forwards, 7 defensemen and two goaltenders that made the biggest impact on the franchise from the 2010 through 2019 seasons.

Man Child. The Saad Father. Baby Hoss. Kneel Before Saad.

You’ve got to have a pretty good start to your career to get nicknames and phrases like that coined after you as a 20-something breaking into the league. What Brandon Saad did in the first few seasons of his NHL career certainly qualifies.

After being selected in the second round of the NHL draft in 2011 (a steal, by all accounts), Saad eventually worked his way into the Blackhawks’ lineup and became a key contributor on two Stanley Cup teams…and did so before the age of 23.

Saad has spent parts of seven seasons in Chicago, notching 95 goals and 211 points in 374 games as a member of the Blackhawks. But his presence has been felt even more so in the playoffs. In 67 playoff games with the Hawks, Saad has 15 goals and 19 assists with a plus-16 rating. And if it weren’t for a tough-luck loss in Game 7 against the Kings in the 2014 Western Conference Finals, he might have had his name in consideration for a Conn Smythe Trophy, too.

Unfortunately for Saad, his career might forever be linked to Artemi Panarin’s because of the 2017 trade that brought the power-forward back to Chicago. But for as good as the Panarin/Artem Anisimov/Patrick Kane line was for a while – and that line doesn’t happen without Anisimov coming to Chicago in the first Saad trade – there might not have been a better two-way line in the NHL at one point than Saad/Jonathan Toews/Marian Hossa.

Whatever nickname you choose for him, Brandon Saad earns a spot on our Blackhawks All-Decade team as the left winger on the third line. 

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How Blackhawks will be affected by NHL 2020 Draft Lottery announcement

How Blackhawks will be affected by NHL 2020 Draft Lottery announcement

On Tuesday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that, “The draft lottery will determine which three clubs make the first three selections in the 2020 NHL Draft and it will be conducted in one of two phases depending on the various draws."

The 15 clubs eligible to win the first three overall selections are the seven clubs that do not resume play in the NHL's 24-team playoff and the eight clubs eliminated in the qualifying (play-in) round, which includes the No. 12 Blackhawks vs. the No. 5 Oilers. So, if the Hawks are eliminated in the play-in round, they have a shot at another Top 3 pick.

Temporary place holders will be designated for the odds the collective group would have had.

Phase 1 of the lottery will be conducted on June 26 before the qualifying round. There will be three separate draws to determine the first, second and third overall picks.

If a draw is won by a non-resuming club, it receives that pick. A Phase 2 won’t be needed if draws are won by non-resuming clubs. If any of the three draws are won by a resuming club a Phase 2 of the draft lottery would be conducted before the conference quarterfinals. 

For more info on this year's draft lottery

The Blackhawks were 23rd in the league out of 31 teams (based on points: 72) at the time of NHL pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12. They could have a top-ten pick for the third consecutive year. 

In last year's lottery, the Blackhawks only had an 8.2 percent chance of landing a Top 3 draft pick with being 12th in draft position but it was their lucky night. They moved up nine spots and got the No. 3 pick for the 2019 NHL Draft.

Chicago selected 6'4 center Kirby Dach third overall in last year's draft on June 21 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Dach had 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 64 games with the Blackhawks in his rookie campaign this season before the pause.

The Hawks picked defenseman Adam Boqvist at No. 8 overall in 2018. This year he had 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 41 games and a +/- rating of -3 for his debut season before play stopped. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

NHL return to play: What is the plan for Stanley Cup playoffs, NHL Draft

NHL return to play: What is the plan for Stanley Cup playoffs, NHL Draft

The NHL has taken a historic first step toward resuming post-COVID-19 pandemic by unveiling its return-to-play plan. The NHL is the first of the four major U.S. sports leagues to announce a concrete proposal for how the sport will return.

But what exactly was in the plan? Here are the highlights.

First, there is no set date or location. The NHL didn't want to lock in those details in a fluid situation as local and state government regulations evolve. But commissioner Gary Bettman suggested mid-July as the earliest possible return date.

RELATED: What are NHL's next steps after Gary Bettman announces return-to-play plan

The NHL will have one city host each conference’s side of the bracket, so a total of two hubs. Bettman noted 10 cities are being considered, including Chicago.

Teams will be seeded by points percentage, not total points accrued when the season shut down because not every team has played the same number of games.

Each conference will have 12 teams in the playoff. The top four seeds will play in a Round Robin to determine seeding, with regular season overtime rules. The remaining eight teams will play a best-of-five series to advance to the first round, with playoff overtime rules.

Bettman noted there was a desire to not give the top four seeds in each conference a bye and a presumably big advantage, but also didn't want to disadvantage them too much. Which is where the round robin idea came from, each team playing three games.

The Blackhawks are the 12th seed in the Western Conference and will match up against the fifth seed, the Edmonton Oilers. The top four seeds in the West are, in order: St. Louis, Colorado, Vegas and Dallas.

RELATED: What a Blackhawks vs. Oilers play-in series would look like

Overall seeding will determine how advancing teams will match up against the top four seeds. Bettman noted that the players prefer re-seeding, while the league prefers bracketing. How Qualifying Round winners and the top-four seeds match up is still very much TBD, as will the format. The first and second rounds will either be best-of-5 or best-of-7 series. The Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final will be best-of-7 series.

Bettman also outlined NHL Draft details, which are a bit more complicated.

There could potentially be two phases, or just one.

Phase 1 of the NHL Draft will happen on June 26, before the qualifying round of the 24-team playoff bracket. In the draw will be the 7 teams that did not qualify for the 24-team tournament, with eight place holding spots for the teams that lose the qualifying round of the tournament.

RELATED: How Blackhawks will be affected by NHL 2020 Draft Lottery announcement

Phase 1 will determine the top three picks, and if they’re all won by “non-resuming Clubs” than there is no need for a Phase 2.

If a place holder for teams playing in the qualifying round wins one of the first three picks, than there will be another lottery between the Qualifying Round and the First Round. The Phase 1 Draws won by a place holder will be awarded in a lottery of the eight losing teams from the qualifying round. Each team has a 1-in-8 shot at winning.

Got all that?

Bettman also noticed they could conceivably play into the fall, which could impact the 2020-21 season, though the league hopes to avoid it.

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