Blackhawks

These four legends make up the Blackhawks Mount Rushmore

These four legends make up the Blackhawks Mount Rushmore

Who is the Greatest of All Time? Inspired by Sunday Night Football's promo featuring Bulls legend Michael Jordan, we've put together a Mount Rushmore of the greatest players in the history of all five of Chicago's teams. These are Chicago's GOATs.

There have been many Hall of Fame players to don an Indianhead sweater over the course of the Blackhawks' 92-year Original Six history, making it difficult to single out only four players for this exercise. But these are the four that immediately come to mind when factoring in just how much each of them impacted the franchise upon their arrivals.

Stan Mikita

Nobody resembled what it means to be a Blackhawk better than "Stosh." He spent 22 seasons in the NHL and all of them came in an Indianhead sweater for a total of 1,551 games, including playoffs. His 1,467 points ranks first in franchise history along with his 150 points in the postseason. Mikita is a two-time Hart Trophy winner, two-time Lady Byng Trophy winner, four-time Art Ross Trophy winner, a nine-time All-Star and helped lead the Blackhawks to their third Stanley Cup in 1961. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.

Bobby Hull

Known as "The Golden Jet" for his ability to skate like the wind, Hull became the first player in Blackhawks history to score at least 50 goals in a season during the 1961-62 campaign and would end up doing it four more times in his 15 years in Chicago. Hull sits atop the franchise leaderboard in goals (604), game-winning goals (98) and ranks second in games played (1,036). He and Mikita teammed up to lead the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup in 1961 and their contributions to the team led to the organization putting statues of the two legends outside the United Center. 

Jonathan Toews

Drafted third overall by the Blackhawks in 2006, it didn't take long for the organization to realize they had selected a franchise-changing player. Toews was named the youngest captain in Blackhawks history on July 18, 2008 at 20 years and 79 days, which was the third-youngest in NHL history at the time. He's scored at least 20 goals in each of his first 11 seasons with the Blackhawks, but has also been a consistent finalist for the Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward and won it 2012-13. Toews etched his place in Blackhawks history when he compiled 29 points (seven goals, 21 assists) in 22 postseason contests in 2010 to help the Blackhawks break a 49-year Stanley Cup drought and was awarded the Conn Smythe for playoff MVP. He's the only captain in Blackhawks history to hoist the Stanley Cup multiple times (three).

Patrick Kane

The Blackhawks have held the No. 1 overall pick just once in team history, which came in 2007. And they haven't looked back since after selecting Kane, who won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie in 2008. He already ranks fifth in franchise history with 846 points, fourth in postseason points with 123 and is tied with Hull and Mikita for most game-winning goals in Blackhawks playoff history with 11, which has included a Stanley Cup-clinching overtime winner and a double overtime winner to send Chicago back to the Stanley Cup Final. After a history 106-point season in 2015-16, Kane became the first player to win the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Trophy since Stan Mikita did it in 1967-68. He has consistently delivered in the biggest moments, which has led to three Stanley Cups for the Blackhawks in a six-year span from 2010-15, which included a Conn Smythe Trophy for the Buffalo native in 2013. Kane is arguably the clutchest player in Blackhawks history. One day, Kane and Toews will have statues just like Hull and Mikita.

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Four takeaways: Standouts from Blackhawks first preseason win against Red Wings

Four takeaways: Standouts from Blackhawks first preseason win against Red Wings

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 2-1 preseason win over the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on Wednesday:

1. Alex Nylander gets a shot on the top line

After having a goal and an assist in his preseason debut on Monday, Nylander was rewarded by the Blackhawks coaching staff by starting on the first line with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. And he certainly didn't look out of place.

The trio logged 14:28 of ice time together at 5-on-5 and generated 18 shots for and only five against, according to Natural Stat Trick. They also teamed up on Duncan Keith's eventual game-winning goal in the second period.

Nylander finished with a secondary assist, three shot attempts (two on goal) and one takeaway in 20:44 of action. He’s going to give the Blackhawks management something to think about.

"I thought he was good," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Again, we're looking for his play without the puck. We know he's going to do a lot with the puck. It's their first time playing together so there's always going to be some kinks you're working out as far as the plays they're making and what not but he had a great net drive on Dunc's goal. Those are the things that people don't notice but opens up ice.

"We want to open up ice for those skill guys he's playing with. I thought he had a couple really good tracks. He was forechecking, he was skating. That's what we're looking for and if he continues to do that then he can be effective at this level no matter who he's playing with."

2. Individual standouts

— Dominik Kubalik was given a top-six role again after his two-goal night in his preseason debut on Tuesday in Detroit. And he was noticeable. He recorded three shot attempts (one on goal) and had a game-high four takeaways in 14:29 of action.

— The Olli Maatta and Brent Seabrook pairing turned in a strong showing together. They were on the ice for 20 shot attempts for and seven against and eight scoring chances for and two against in 13:28 of 5-on-5 ice time.

— Brandon Hagel was named the second star of the game after scoring a goal and tying Keith with a game-high four shots on goal. He also logged 11:58 of ice time and won both of his faceoffs.

— Adam Boqvist showed why he was drafted No. 8 overall in 2018. He's flashy and has elite offensive skill, which you can see in the video below. He also earned some praise from his head coach for his defensive play, which is the part of his game that's going to be a constant work in progress.

3. Penalty kill still ironing out some kinks

The top priority for the Blackhawks this summer was to shore up their defensive issues, and that included the penalty kill. And even though we shouldn't put too much stock into overall team performance and results in the preseason, the Blackhawks have given up at least one power-play goal in each of their first three games.

Fortunately for the Blackhawks, these games and stats don't count, but it obviously would be nice to head into the regular season with some positive momentum. Once the Blackhawks start to finalize their 23-man roster we should get a pretty good idea of what the special teams units could look like on Opening Night and beyond, and more chemistry will develop among the everyday players.

4. Roster cuts looming

In the last four days, the Blackhawks hosted their team scrimmage at the United Center and followed that up with three consecutive preseason contests. That was a significant evaluation period for the coaching staff and management.

Colliton said the Blackhawks are expected to make their first wave of roster cuts between now and Saturday, which is when their next preseason tilt is. The 23-man roster should start to take shape in the coming few days.

"We’re going to start," he said. "I don’t know exactly the timeline and how many and which day, but I can tell you it won’t all be in one day. And we’ll sort of work up to the game Saturday and we’ll have a tighter group, and especially for next week."

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Five Blackhawks make top 100 prospect list

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USA TODAY

Five Blackhawks make top 100 prospect list

After missing the playoffs for two straight seasons, the Blackhawks are in a transition period coming off the team’s long run as a Stanley Cup contender. There is hope for a relatively quick return to contention with a number of highly-regarded prospects.

ESPN ranked the top 100 NHL prospects on Wednesday and the Blackhawks have five skaters on the list.

Leading the way for Blackhawks prospects is Kirby Dach, who was the third pick in this year’s draft. He is ranked No. 6 overall. The top two picks from that draft, Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, are the top two prospects in the rankings.

Adam Boqvist is the second Blackhawks prospect, coming in at No. 29 overall. The defenseman was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Defensemen Ian Mitchell (No. 68) and Nicolas Beaudin (No. 82) and right winger Alexander Nylander (No. 88) round out Blackhawks prospects in the top 100. Mitchell opted to return to the University of Denver for his junior year. Beaudin was the Blackhawks’ second first-round pick in 2018, picked No. 27. Nylander was acquired in the offseason in exchange for young defenseman Henri Jokiharju.

With five prospects on the list the Blackhawks had more than most teams. The Los Angeles Kings had the most prospects on the list with seven while the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers each had six.

ESPN also ranked the Blackhawks pool of prospects as ninth-best in the NHL.

 

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