Blackhawks

Five Things: Blackhawks' Patrick Kane hits milestone

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Five Things: Blackhawks' Patrick Kane hits milestone

The Blackhawks were looking for the same type of game against Detroit here on Sunday as they got in Detroit on Wednesday. And for the first few minutes, they did. And then again for the last few minutes, they did.

So just forget about those middle minutes where the Red Wings outshot them.

The Blackhawks swept their two-game series with the Red Wings, beating them 4-1 on Sunday. The score was deceiving: the Blackhawks got two early goals that chased goaltender Petr Mrazek from the game and two late ones that made it look like a more lopsided victory than it actually was. But the Blackhawks will take the win, no matter how it came.

So before we head home and enjoy an evening – yes, a whole evening – let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over the Red Wings.

1. Corey Crawford does it again. The Blackhawks have relied on Crawford several times this season, and they did it again for a good portion of Sunday afternoon. Crawford was especially good in the second period, when the Red Wings outshot the Blackhawks 13-3. Crawford was recently named to Team Canada for his work. There’s no doubt he’s been a workhorse for the Blackhawks this season.

2. Patrick Kane establishes a new season high. Well, he’s done that every time he’s scored a goal since he surpassed his previous best of 30 established in the 2009-10 season. On Sunday he set another new mark, this for points, with 89. That previous best (88) was also set in 2009-10.

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3. The net-front presence is back. The Blackhawks’ two third-period goals were an Artem Anisimov redirect (for a power play goal) and a shot that went off Jonathan Toews’ body. Both players were planted in front of the net, and when the Blackhawks do that they’re bound for more scoring success. Said Toews, “it’s just kind of under appreciated what that net-front guy means. And going back to what’s kind of made the difference in our power play, I guess you could say lately it’s definitely one of them.”

4. Artemi Panarin grabs a two-point night. Panarin seems to have replaced Patrick Sharp as the left wing who will try to rip one from the left circle. He’s done well there, his third-period snipe from there turning into Anisimov’s redirected power-play goal. In the second matchup of rookies Panarin and Dylan Larkin, Panarin was the one coming away with points again.

5. Staying atop the Central Division. The Blackhawks are doing it, albeit by the razor-thin margin of regulation/overtime victories. If they finish there, they’re thrilled. If they don’t, they’ll live. But there’s no doubt the race to the Central title is going to be a thrilling one between them, the Dallas Stars and the St. Louis Blues.

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

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AP

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

The Blackhawks announced Monday that they have officially agreed to terms with forward Dominik Kahun, defensemen Lucas Carlsson and Darren Raddysh and goaltender Kevin Lankinen on entry-level contracts.

Kahun ($925,000 cap hit), Lankinen ($925,000) and Raddysh ($730,000) each signed two-year deals that run through the 2019-20 season while Carlsson's is a three-year deal that runs through the 2020-21 campaign and carries a cap hit of $792,500.

So who are these guys? Let's meet them:

Carlsson

Drafted in the fourth round (No. 110 overall) by the Blackhawks in 2016, Carlsson set a career-high with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 44 games this season with Brynäs IF of the Swedish Hockey League. He was tied for fourth among all blue liners with seven goals.

Carlsson, 20, doesn't have major upside, but he's a reliable, well-rounded defenseman and that's what drew the attention of Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley.

“When he’s on the ice, he makes things happen," Kelley told Scott Powers of The Athletic last summer. "I think what impressed the Sweden under-20 coach was Lucas’ ability to challenge in all three zones. He’s an active defensively. Offensively, he challenges. He keeps plays alive.”

Kahun

The 22-year-old forward spent the last four seasons with EHC München of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany's top professional hockey league, where he established career highs in assists (29), points (41) and tied a personal best with 12 goals, leading Munchen to their third straight championship in 2018 after recording four goals and 10 assists in 17 playoff contests.

He raised eyebrows at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, where he compiled five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games and won 55.4 percent of his faceoffs (41 of 74), helping Germany capture a silver medal.

“He has made an enormous step this year, has become much more stable and mature," German national team coach Marco Sturm said after the Olympics. "I am sure that he would grab it in the NHL,” Sturm told the Hamburger Morgenpost.

Most recently, Kahun had a goal and two assists in seven games for Germany during the IIHF Men's World Championship. He's 5-foot-11, 176 pounds whose known to be a solid two-way player and can play center but may need some time to adjust to the smaller ice surface and NHL style of speed and physicality.

Lankinen 

Lankinen is 23 years old and coming off a season in which he was in the discussion for the Urpo Ylönen trophy, annually awarded to the top goaltender of the Finnish Elite League, after registering a league-best 1.33 goals against average and .946 save percentage in 15 games with HIFK.

He missed a large portion of the season because of an injury, but it didn't stop him from turning in a strong postseason, guiding his team to a bronze medal after posting a 1.99 GAA and .936 save percentage in 13 playoff games. The year before that, he led the league with seven shutouts in 42 games, backstopping his team to a silver medal.

This is a low-risk, medium-sized reward signing for the Blackhawks, who could use some more young goaltending depth in the pipeline, especially given how this season unfolded with the big club.

Raddysh

The Blackhawks signed Raddysh to a one-year AHL contract last June, and he turned it into an NHL one after a strong season with the Rockford IceHogs.

Raddysh, 22, accumulated 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 66 regular-season games with the IceHogs, and has appeared in each of the team's playoff games en route to the Western Conference Final.

Last season Raddysh was named the OHL's top defenseman after scoring 16 goals and 65 assists for 81 points in 62 games for the Erie Otters, where he was teammates with current Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. He's the Otters' all-time leader in assists (143) and points (184) among defensemen.

Raddysh might be nothing more than a depth defenseman, but his development is worth monitoring because the offensive production is there and that's something the Blackhawks lacked this past season from their back end.

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

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AP

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

Days after putting his Gold Coast condo on the market, Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa revealed to a Slovakian newspaper that he is moving back to his hometown country and doesn't plan on returning to the NHL.

"I will not play hockey anymore," said Hossa, who missed the entire 2017-18 campaign due to a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat it. "I have a valid contract with Chicago for the next three years, but I have only one health and it does not allow me to return."

Because he has three years left on a deal that carries a $5.275 million cap hit, Hossa is not expected to sign his retirement papers until the contract is completed or else it would result in salary cap consequences.

The news is not surprising, but it officially allows the Blackhawks to move on without him in the fold roster-wise and toy around with some options this summer.

The first is stashing his contract on long-term injured reserve, as they did last season when they utilized the in-season preference.

The second, which Hossa wondered could happen, is finding a trade partner that would absorb the remainder of his contract, usually done by lower payroll teams aiming to reach the cap floor.

And it wouldn't be difficult trying to find a buyer, considering Hossa's actual salary is $1 million per year over the next three seasons. Hossa, of course, has a no movement clause but it's likely he would waive it given his status at this point.

The good news for Chicago is, the three-time Stanley Cup winner didn't rule out joining the Blackhawks organization in some capacity after his contract expires in 2020-21, whether it's in a front office role or as a team ambassador.

In 19 NHL seasons, Hossa accumulated 525 goals and 609 assists for 1,134 points in 1,309 regular-season games, and added 149 points (52 goals, 97 assists) in 205 postseason contests. He's one of 45 players in league history to net at least 500 goals in his career.