Blackhawks

What the stats say about the newest Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

What the stats say about the newest Blackhawks

Olli Maatta

The 6’2” defenseman played 60 games for the Penguins in 2018-19; he missed a chunk of time in February-March with a separated shoulder. He played in 82 games the season before. Did you ever realize how many NHL players play at least 82 games (sometimes they play in 83 or 84 if they’re traded midseason due to imbalanced schedules) in a season? I took a look at the last five seasons, and I found it hard to believe.

NHL players appearing in at least 82 games (regular season)

2018-19:               106

2017-18:               103

2016-17:               99

2015-16:               85

2014-15:               85

In November 2014, Maatta had a cancerous tumor removed from his thyroid. The following two seasons, he won a pair of Stanley Cups, and the season after that he played a full 82 games. He has already amassed 69 career playoff games before his 25th birthday (he turns 25 in August). Already quite a tale of perseverance, he now heads to Chicago looking to add to his résumé .

Ryan Carpenter

Carpenter has 16 career goals… 2 against the Blackhawks (including one in 2018-19) and one each against 14 other teams.

Carpenter had a 52.6% faceoff win percentage in 2018-19. He brings that skill to the Blackhawks, who certainly need it. Outside of Jonathan Toews, they really struggled at the dot last season.

2018-19 Blackhawks faceoffs

                                                Faceoffs               Pct

Jonathan Toews               1,880                    56.3%

Everyone Else                   2,880                    45.0%       

Carpenter also had excellent puck possession numbers last season. His 5 on 5 Shot Attempt Pct was 57.84% - good for 7th in NHL among 540 skaters with 50+ games played. What this means is that when Carpenter was on the ice (in 5 on 5 situations), his team had 57.84% of the shots attempted, and therefore his team had the puck much more often than not. 15 Blackhawks played 50+ games last season, and only four of those 15 had a SAT% over 50%, with Brandon Saad leading the pack with 52.63%.

One last piece of trivia on Carpenter: no Florida-born player has ever appeared in a game for the Blackhawks.  Carpenter, born in Oviedo, Florida, will be the first.

Calvin de Haan

De Haan is one of 12 players who had a single regular season goal last season – with that goal being a game-winner. Olli Maatta & John Quenneville can also make that claim, and the Blackhawks added both of them as well. Consequently, de Haan’s goal was November 8 in Chicago against the Blackhawks.

He did score a goal in the playoffs as well, in Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 – a 2-1 loss vs Bruins.

Coming back to the 5 on 5 Shot Attempt Pct discussed in the Ryan Carpenter comments, de Haan was 37th in NHL among 540 skaters with 50+ games played with a 55.60 SAT% (13th among 174 defensemen). One of the key trademarks (perhaps THE key trademark) of the championship Blackhawks teams was puck possession. With Carpenter & de Haan, the Blackhawks have taken a step towards regaining that possession dominance.

De Haan was drafted 12th overall in 2009, and he will join Brendan Perlini (2014) as 12th overall picks on the Blackhawks. Blackhawks legend Marian Hossa was picked 12th overall in 1997.

Robin Lehner

Perhaps the most stunning addition of the offseason thus far was goalie Robin Lehner. The 27-year old posted a .930 save percentage this past season for the Islanders, 2nd in NHL among netminders with at least 30 games played, while his six shutouts tied for 4th. He was 3rd in Vezina voting. The last Blackhawks goalie to finish top-3 in Vezina voting was Ed Belfour (2nd) in 1994-95, though Corey Crawford probably should have been top-3 at least once (his closest finish was 5th in 2015-16).

Lehner’s .930 save percentage towers above Blackhawks goalies this past season

2018-19 Save Percentage

                                                Sv%        Shots Against

Robin Lehner                           .930        1,323

Corey Crawford                      .908        1,176

Collin Delia                             .908           545

Cam Ward                               .897        1,113

And his six shutouts were two more than the Blackhawks had in the last two seasons combined.

Shutouts                                                              Starts    Shutouts

Robin Lehner 2018-19                                               43           6

Blackhawks 2017-18 & 2018-19                              164         4             

One thing Lehner was particularly good at in 2018-19, that the Blackhawks were certainly NOT good at, was facing the Pacific Division. The Blackhawks were a dismal 6-13-5 against the Pacific, while Lehner went 8-3-1 with a 1.78 GAA and four shutouts.

Andrew Shaw

The scrappy forward returns to Chicago after three seasons with Montreal. He’s coming off a career-high 47 points despite playing only 63 games. He posted his first career hat trick on February 26 at Detroit. It seems like forever ago when Shaw scored a goal in his NHL debut back on January 5, 2012 at Philadelphia, but he’ll turn only 28 on July 20. Shaw is another player with solid puck possession numbers; his 52.28 SAT% would’ve ranked a close second on the Blackhawks to Brandon Saad’s 52.63%.  Speaking of Saad, the last time Shaw & Saad played a game as teammates was the Stanley Cup-clinching Game 6 of the 2015 Final back on June 15, 2015.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Takeaways from first three days of Blackhawks training camp

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Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Takeaways from first three days of Blackhawks training camp

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the first three days of training camp.

Which players have stood out so far and how will the injuries to Kirby Dach and Calvin de Haan impact the final roster?

The guys also discuss Jonathan Toews being motivated by an NHL Network snub and their feelings about the relationship between Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner.

0:45 - Fan support at Training Camp Festival 

1:45 - Impressions of Wedin-Toews-Nylander line

2:35 - Olli Maatta getting offensive 

4:00 - Aleksi Saarela impact

5:00 - Andrew Shaw at center

6:00 - Will Kris Versteeg get another spin with Blackhawks?

7:45 - Optimism at camp

10:15 - Kirby Dach injury

12:00 - What are Dach’s chances of making the team?

14:00 - Will Calvin de Haan be ready for season opener?

17:15 - Jeremy Colliton teaching D-zone 

19:00 - Adam Boqvist chances of making the team? 

20:15 - Jonathan Toews motivated by snub

24:15 - Crawford-Lehner relationship 

28:45 - Importance of three preseason games in three days

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Blackhawks using first training camp under Jeremy Colliton to nail down defensive zone coverage

Blackhawks using first training camp under Jeremy Colliton to nail down defensive zone coverage

Jeremy Colliton has been the Blackhawks' head coach for more than 10 months now, but this is his first training camp with the team and he's able to instill some concepts that he wasn't able to do on the fly last season. The biggest thing, however, is that he was afforded a full summer to prep and can help get everyone on the same page during training camp and in the seven preseason games before the games actually matter.

"It's important," Duncan Keith said. "Systems nowadays, with the way teams are, it's important that everyone's on the same page. Having a training camp with the coaches and being able to implement the system and try to get on the same page early on, the quicker we can iron out everything the better off we're going to be."

The one area the Blackhawks have focused on heavily over the first two days is the defensive zone coverage. They gave up the most scoring chances and high-danger chances at 5-on-5 last season, and the team got better at it in the final month or so but it's still a work in progress.

"It's going to be huge," Patrick Kane said. "Even [Friday], first day we're running through some defensive coverage trying to get everything done tactically. I'm sure we'll do a little bit more of that each day and some different things as well. It'll be real beneficial for us just to all get on the same page, set the standard around here and feel confident about our team, the way we play going into the season."

The onus isn't just on the defensemen, either. It's a five-man unit and training camp is just as much about building trust with your teammates and being in the right spot as it is nailing down the scheme and letting it become muscle memory.

"We've all got to be on the same page," Brent Seabrook said. "If my D partner's doing it perfectly and I'm not, then we're not going to be any good at it. We've all got to be on the same page, we've all got to be doing our job and doing the right thing and the faster we get to that point, then I think it's just going to help us out in the long run. We're just going to keep getting better at it and we'll go from there."

The Blackhawks are going to continue working on their defensive zone coverage as camp goes along because that’s priority No. 1. Scoring goals won’t be an issue. And after Sunday’s training camp festival at the United Center, the Blackhawks have three consecutive preseason contests to apply what they've learned in a game-type setting.

"I just think getting guys on the same page as quickly as we can, that's really important,” Colliton said. “You saw there was a lot of D-zone work today [Friday]. That'll continue and we'll just sort of roll out how we're going to play day-by-day so that we're ready. We got that festival game, that will kind of be a dress rehearsal and then right into it."

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