One year ago today, the Blackhawks made a franchise-altering decision by relieving Joel Quenneville of his head coaching duties and replacing him with 33-year-old Jeremy Colliton.
It’s a move that was — and still is — highly controversial among the Chicago fanbase because it marked the end of an era with the dismantling of a dynasty-type leadership group.
One side felt that the roster wasn’t good enough and Quenneville took the fall for it. The other side felt that it was time for a fresh voice in the locker room. It’s fair if you found yourself somewhere in the middle.
But one thing that many of those fans didn't expect going into this season is the Blackhawks would take a step back when you consider the team was on a 100-point pace from January and on last season.
When they fired Quenneville, the Blackhawks were 6-6-3 and sat only two points out of a wildcard spot. Fast forward one year and the Blackhawks are 4-7-3, have the fewest wins in regulation (two) of any NHL team and are nine points out of a wildcard position, albeit with a few games in hand.
Beyond the standings, the Blackhawks haven't taken strides in several key statistical categories. Here's where they rank in some of them, as of Wednesday, according to Natural Stat Trick:
— Points percentage (.393): 26th
— Goals for per game (2.36): 29th
— Goals against per game (3.07): 17th
— Power play percentage (11.9): 28th
— Penalty kill percentage (80.4): 19th
— Shots per game (30.1): 21st
— Shots allowed per game (35.6): 31st
— Scoring chances for percentage at 5-on-5 (46.3): 30th
— High-danger chances for percentage at 5-on-5 (44.0): 28th
— Expected goals for percentage (45.3): 29th
Now this is where the Blackhawks ranked in those areas at the end of the 2018-19 season:
— Points percentage (.512): 20th
— Goals for per game (3.26) 8th
— Goals against per game (3.55): 30th
— Power play percentage (20.2): 15th
— Penalty kill percentage (72.7): 31st
— Shots per game (32.5): 12th
— Shots allowed per game (34.8): 30th
— Scoring chances for percentage at 5-on-5 (47.3): 25th
— High-danger chances for percentage at 5-on-5 (42.8): 31st
— Expected goals for percentage (45.8): 29th
The only improvement has come in the goals against and penalty kill department, where the the latter has seen an eight percent success rate increase following a historically bad season. Every other category has stayed the same or gone backwards, with the offense and power play production most notably dropping off significantly.
In many ways, the Blackhawks are in a worse position than they were last season because no general manager was more active in the offseason than Stan Bowman.
The Blackhawks landed the No. 3 overall pick and drafted Kirby Dach, added a pair of defensive-minded defensemen in Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta, reacquired Andrew Shaw to add some sandpaper to the mix, traded for then signed Dominik Kubalik for scoring depth, took a flyer on former No. 8 overall pick Alex Nylander and brought in Vezina Trophy finalist Robin Lehner to pair with a two-time Stanley Cup champion in Corey Crawford between the pipes.
This is the year the Blackhawks were supposed to build things back up after missing the playoffs for two consecutive seasons. Internally, they expected to make the playoffs after retooling on the fly.
Instead, the Blackhawks have regressed under Colliton and there are even more questions than answers from when he took over behind the bench exactly one year ago.
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