Blackhawks

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Islanders tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Islanders tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the New York Islanders tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Andrew Ladd faces former team.

The former two-time Blackhawk who helped bring a Stanley Cup to Chicago in 2010 and was re-acquired by the team at the trade deadline last February for the stretch run will face his former team for the first time since inking a seven-year, $38.5 million deal with the Islanders. He's gotten off to a rough start, scoring only three goals and three assists in 28 games. He's also averaging 16:25 of ice time, which would be the lowest since 2010. Ladd will surely be playing with some extra juice.

2. John Tavares vs. Jonathan Toews.

Tavares and Toews were two of the best forwards for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey, both of whom were tied for third on the team with four points. Now they're back to being opponents. The Islanders captain has three goals in his last four games while the Blackhawks captain recently returned from a nine-game hiatus due to a back injury and will look to return to top form. Who knows whether the coaching matchups will feature these two on the ice together, but it's always fun to watch two of the best two-way centers go head-to-head.

3. Another game-winner for Artem Anisimov?

According to Elias, Anisimov is the first Blackhawks skater to score three game-winning goals in three straight team wins since Patrick Sharp did so in 2011-12. Anisimov now has six game-winners on the year, which is tied with Jeff Carter for the league lead. His previous career high in a single season was five, accomplished in 2013-14 with Columbus. There's still 52 games left in the season.

4. Find lanes and shoot.

The Islanders have allowed the third-most shots on goal this season at 32.6 per game. And that number could be higher considering they lead the league in blocked shots with 543. They sacrifice their bodies a lot, so expect the Blackhawks to pepper the net and try to find the open lane before shooting. 

5. Take a lead into the third period. Or don't?

The Blackhawks improved to 13-0-0 this season when leading after two periods, and are 75-0-4 in that department since the start of the 2014-15 campaign. The Islanders are one of four teams that have yet to win a game when trailing after the second (0-7-1). But it may not be important. The Blackhawks' best period has been the third, where they've scored 27 goals and have given up only 20, which is tied for second-fewest. The Islanders have scored their most goals in the third (28), but have allowed the fourth-most (33) in the final frame. The Blackhawks aren't strangers to comeback victories, having the second-most wins (5) when trailing after two periods. Of course, they'd like to take a lead into the third but it wouldn't be the end of the world if that's not the case.

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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.