Blackhawks

NHL Power Rankings: Blackhawks remain undefeated in 2016

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NHL Power Rankings: Blackhawks remain undefeated in 2016

The Blackhawks have collected 22 out of a possible 22 points in their last 11 games, and have quickly surpassed the Stars for the Central Division lead by three points.

Meanwhile in the East, the Capitals continue to pull away from the pack while the Lightning have surged into the Top 5 thanks to an impressive five-game winning streak.

Check in with CSNChicago.com for updated rankings every Monday throughout the 2015-16 campaign. Here's where we're at so far: Preseason rankings | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14

 

Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 1

34-8-3, 71 points: From top to bottom, the Capitals are still the team to beat. They're 15-2-1 in their last 18 games, and have built a 17-point lead in the Metropolitan Division and a 14-point cushion in the Eastern Conference.

2   4

31-13-4, 66 points: During their 11-game winning streak, the Blackhawks have outscored their opponents 43-21. Canadiens coach Michel Therrien on the defending Stanley Cup champions: "I believe they look better than last year."

3

28-13-3, 59 points: What a week it was for Anze Kopitar, who inked an eight-year, $80 million contract extension to stay in Los Angeles and was named the NHL's third star of the week after recording seven points in three games.

4
 
11 

24-17-4, 52 points: Here they come. The Lightning have strung together five straight victories for the first time this season, and have pulled within reaching distance for the Atlantic Division lead.

5
 
3

26-14-5, 57 points: We're not going to drop the Panthers too far after following up a 12-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak simply because they may have needed some time to breathe after that sensational run. Let's see how they respond against upcoming home games vs. Edmonton, Chicago and Tampa Bay.

6  

26-15-7, 59 points: Brian Elliott has done a solid job at filling in for Jake Allen, who's out with a knee injury. The 30-year-old netminder stopped 46 shots in a 4-3 win over Montreal on Saturday.

7  

23-14-8, 54 points: The Red Wings are 5-1-1 in 2016 so far despite being outshot in each of those seven games. Credit that to Peter Mrazek, who owns a 1.31 goals against average and .957 save percentage in his last six starts.

8   10 

24-15-6, 54 points: John Tavares has three goals in his last 19 games, yet the Islanders still hold the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division. They're finding ways to get it done when their captain isn't at his best.

9   12 

21-16-7, 49 points: The Penguins have registered at least a point in eight of their last nine games. They're still on the outside of the playoffs, but they're only five points away from the second spot in their division with a game in hand on both the Islanders and Rangers.

10   5

29-12-5, 63 points: Not exactly where a team with the third-highest point total is expected to be, but the Stars are 2-5-2 in their last nine games, and have allowed 33 goals (an average of 3.67 goals against per game) during that span.

11   7

22-15-8, 52 points: The Wild have dropped their last four games, and it won't get any easier to dig out of as nine of their next 10 games are against teams currently in the playoffs.

12   13 

24-16-5, 53 points: The Rangers haven't won back-to-back games since Nov. 19-21. But they also haven't lost back-to-back games since Dec. 18-20, indicating they're consistently picking up points as of late.

13   14

23-16-5, 51 points: David Krejci has been upgraded to "day-to-day," which means the Bruins may be getting back their No. 1 center for Tuesday's showdown in Montreal.

14
 
9

23-19-4, 50 points: The Canadiens have outshot their opponents by a combined 32 in their last four games, but have lost all four of them. They've been victims of tough puck luck lately, and ran into some hot goaltenders (Corey Crawford and Brian Elliott) last week.

15
 
23

23-18-2, 48 points: The Jekyll and Hyde season continues for the Sharks, who have put together five straight wins, two of them coming against Pacific Division opponents.

16   21

20-15-8, 48 points: The Flyers are currently on a six-game point streak, and have quietly pulled themselves within two points from the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

17   19

20-19-8, 48 points: Since Dec. 11, only Chicago (32), Washington (31) and Florida (25) have earned more points than the Hurricanes (24), according to Elias. They've picked up at least a point in eight of their last 10 games.

18   16 

20-17-8, 48 points: When Ryan Johansen and James Neal are on the ice together, the Predators control 66.1 percent of even-strength shot attempts. That's the kind of impact Johansen was supposed to make in Columbus.

19
 
18

19-18-7, 45 points: The Ducks are 4-3-0 so far during their eight-game homestand. Not bad, but not great for a team still looking to break through. Good news: Ryan Getzlaf is on a five-game assist streak.

20
 
20 

22-17-5, 49 points: The Coyotes are a bottom five puck possession team, yet they keep discovering ways to collect points with a win over Edmonton and overtime loss to Detroit last week.

21
 
15

22-19-5, 49 points: The Devils are 2-5-0 in their last seven games, and have scored only four goals in those five losses. Cory Schneider can only do so much.

22   17 22-21-3, 47 points: Six of Colorado's next nine games are against division opponents, a prime opportunity to gain some ground and creep into a wild-card spot.
23   25 19-17-10, 48 points: The Canucks have quietly gone 8-3-2 in their last 13 games despite being outshot in 10 of them, and ended the Panthers' 12-game win streak. Bad news: Henrik Sedin won't return until after the All-Star break due to an upper-body injury.
24   22

21-18-6, 48 points: The Senators wrapped up the week with a nice 5-3 win in Los Angeles, but allowed 11 goals in the previous two games to Washington and Anaheim.

25   26 

21-21-3, 45 points: The Jets picked up back-to-back wins against Central Division opponents Nashville and Minnesota, and will play their next six games at home, where they are 12-7-1 opposed to 9-14-2 on the road.

26   24 

20-20-3, 43 points: Sam Bennett scored six goals in three games last week, including a dominant four-goal night against the Panthers on Wednesday. The Flames are currently in a stretch of playing five straight games on the road.

27   29

18-23-4, 40 points: After losing six in a row, the Sabres have won three of their last four games, including a 4-1 win over top-seed Washington on Saturday.

28   28 

18-23-5, 41 points: The Oilers locked up goaltender Cam Talbot to a three-year contract extension, which is one less distraction for a young team on the rise.

29   30 

17-25-4, 38 points: Seth Jones already has the third-most ice time on the team. It could get even better for the Blues Jackets if they land the first overall pick and select Auston Matthews, landing a No. 1 defenseman and franchise centerman in a span of half a year.

30   27

16-20-7, 39 points: James Reimer is back, but it didn't help much (if at all) as the Maple Leafs are 0-5-0 in their last five games and have been outscored 19-5 during that span.

*Advanced stats courtesy of war-on-ice.com

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.