In a 10-part series, we look back at the 10-year anniversary of the 2008-09 season, the start of the Blackhawks dynasty.
One year after taking Jonathan Toews with the No. 3 overall pick, the Blackhawks picked first overall for the first time in franchise history and selected Patrick Kane.
The fortunes of the franchise had changed. It was time for the Blackhawks to compete.
Kane and Toews each made their NHL debuts during the 2007-08 season and were two of the three Calder Trophy candidates as the league's top rookies. Kane led all rookies in points (72), power play goals (7) and power play points (28) and established a new Blackhawks rookie record with 51 assists in a single season, en route to winning the award over his teammate.
But the team still missed the playoffs despite their pair of rookie phenoms.
Kane vowed at his Calder-winning press conference to improve his game and lead the Blackhawks back to the playoffs.
He backed up his word by scoring 25 goals and 45 assists for 70 points, helping lead the franchise back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2001-02 season. They went on to defeat the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks in six games each before a humbling series against their long-time rival Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals.
As his game further developed, Kane set a new career high with 88 points in 2009-10 and 28 points in 22 postseason contests as the Blackhawks went on to win their first Stanley Cup in 49 years. Kane, of course, had his signature moment, scoring the game-winning goal against the Flyers in overtime of Game 6.
On top of his playmaking ability, Kane had the flare of a budding star in the NHL and became known for chewing on his signature mouth guard. He went on to become the cover boy of EA Sports' NHL 10 video game, clinching his rise as one of the league's top superstars.