Blackhawks

Five Things from Blackhawks-Kings: A costly few seconds

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Kings: A costly few seconds

Well, it’s not going so well lately, is it?

The Blackhawks last had a lead in the third period against St. Louis on Wednesday night. Since then, they have struggled offensively, defensively and on the penalty kill.

Two of three struggles re-emerged on Monday night when the Blackhawks faced the Los Angeles Kings. But this isn’t where we break things down. So let’s stop stalling and get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 5-0 loss to the Kings.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans]

1. A bad few seconds. The Blackhawks were coming off a great-looking power play when it all went wrong. First, Kris Versteeg scored for a 1-0 lead. Then a whole 18 seconds later the Blackhawks got sloppy and Milan Lucic scored to put the Kings up 2-0. And just like that, the Blackhawks looked like a deflated bunch.

2. No capitalizing following the power plays. Yes, we realize they didn’t score on it on Monday. But the first two featured plenty of shots, and good ones. But the Blackhawks couldn’t generate those strong power-play efforts into good 5-on-5 play after they ended.

3. Searching for chemistry. When the Blackhawks’ second line was scoring in bunches, all was well. Sure, other lines weren’t doing much consistently but it was easier to take when Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane were pacing the offense. Well now the second line is going through the quiet stretch every line has every season, and nobody is stepping up in its place. That is a problem.

4. Jonathan Quick has a very nice night. The Kings’ goaltender was strong from the start and had to be, as the Blackhawks fired five shots on him on their first power play. Quick stopped all 32 shots he saw for his fourth shutout of the season and 41st of his career, the most for a U.S.-born goaltender.

[MORE: Kings befuddle Blackhawks]

5. Losing their edge. The Central Division race was always going to be crazy. The Blackhawks knew that. But they’re doing themselves no favors with their inability to capitalize in recent games. They’re 9-10-2 since their 12-game winning streak ended in January. The Blackhawks want to find their game again, no matter who their opponent is. I don't think it matters who you're playing against. “There's still a lot of teams that are working for playoff spots and trying to play really good hockey this time of year,” Jonathan Toews said. “Some of these tough games are tough to swallow, but we'll try and get whatever it is out of our system right now.”

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

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USA TODAY

Should the Blackhawks explore bringing back Artemi Panarin?

Here's an interesting development as we approach the NHL Draft: Artemi Panarin has informed the Blue Jackets that he's not ready to consider an extension "at this time" and because of that, Columbus is testing the market for the Russian winger, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen responded to the report shortly after in a statement released by the team:

"Artemi is an elite National Hockey League player. Our position has been that we want him to be a Blue Jacket for many years and that has not changed. He has a year left on his contract, so there is plenty of time to work towards that end. Should anything change moving forward, we will address it at that time and any decision we make will be in the best interest of our club.”

Ironically, Panarin was traded to Columbus on the afternoon of last year's draft as part of a blockbuster package that sent Brandon Saad back to Chicago. It shook up the hockey world, and has the potential to do so again.

Panarin is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, but is free to sign an extension with Columbus on July 1. Clearly, that doesn't seem to be in the cards right now and it's why the Blue Jackets have to put out feelers. They can't risk losing him for nothing.

On the flip side, Panarin has every right to test the open market. He has one year left on his contract that carries a $6 million cap hit. He's due for a hefty raise, will be 27 years old next summer — the prime of his hockey career — and will certainly be looking for a long-term deal after accepting a bridge contract with the Blackhawks.

Speaking of whom, should his former team explore bringing him back to Chicago now that he's on the market?

Every general manager should and will do their due diligence and call for an asking price, Stan Bowman included. Those conversations might start with Alex DeBrincat or Nick Schmaltz, and if that's the case, you say thanks but no thanks and move on. 

The Blackhawks have the Nos. 8 and 27 picks in this year's draft as possible ammunition, but the Blue Jackets are ready to take that next step. They were up 2-0 in their first-round series before losing four straight to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. It's unlikely they'd be looking to center a potential deal around draft picks. 

The only way you even consider it from the Blackhawks perspective is if Panarin is guaranteed to sign a long-term extension at a price you're comfortable with, but that's one of the main reasons why they traded him in the first place. 

To cap it all off, trading for Panarin wouldn't even address the Blackhawks' biggest need and that's a Top 4 defenseman. Those don't grow on trees. The Blackhawks will have the cap space to sign a player like James van Riemsdyk to patch up their top 6. You can't say the same for the free-agent blue line group.

So while it may certainly be fun for Blackhawks fans to come up with possible trade scenarios to get Panarin back in an Indianhead sweater, it just doesn't make great sense for a variety of reasons.

NHL Draft Profile: F Filip Zadina

NHL Draft Profile: F Filip Zadina

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Filip Zadina

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 195 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Marian Hossa

Fit for Blackhawks:

You know who the Blackhawks missed last year? Hossa. It's not mentioned enough when analyzing what went wrong in 2017-18. 

Well, Zadina is a player who's got the upside of Hossa and is one of a few prospects who could potentially crack the NHL lineup this upcoming season. The scouting report above is all you need to know about Zadina's style of play, and Blackhawks fans surely nodded through the whole thing because it's exactly what the team is looking for.

However, this is a case where the Blackhawks would have to trade up to snag him if they want him, because there's little chance he'll be on the board when the eighth pick rolls around. And it's probably unlikely they would do so, given what it may take to move up a few spots.