Blackhawks

NHL Power Rankings: Bruins proving they're no fluke

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NHL Power Rankings: Bruins proving they're no fluke

The Bruins have earned at least a point in 14 of their last 15 games, and are now one point behind Montreal for the Atlantic Division lead with two games in hand.

Meanwhile in the West, the Blackhawks and Blues have each strung together three consecutive wins, battling for the No. 2 spot in the Central Division.

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
 

Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 1

24-6-2, 50 points: The Capitals overcame a multi-goal deficit in consecutive games against the Lightning and Rangers to win their fifth straight contest.

2   2

24-7-2, 50 points: The Stars have played five Central Division opponents through their first 33 games of the season. Their next four games on the schedule: at Minnesota, vs. Chicago, at St. Louis, vs. St. Louis.

3 8

19-9-4, 42 points: The Bruins have picked up at least a point in 14 of their last 15 games, owning a plus-19 goal differential during that stretch.

4
 
3

20-10-2, 42 points: The Kings are 1-2-1 in their past four games following a six-game winning streak, perhaps gearing up for their next five games, all against division opponents.

5
 
7

20-11-4, 44 points: The Blackhawks have won seven of their last nine games, led by Corey Crawford, who leads the NHL with five shutouts, three of which have come in the last six games.

6   10

20-10-4, 44 points: The Blues rolled off three straight wins last week, two against division opponents and the third snapping Calgary's seven-game win streak.

7   4

18-11-5, 41 points: After a 10-game point streak, the Islanders have lost their last three games to Florida, Colorado and Arizona by a combined six goals.

8   5

20-11-3, 43 points: The Canadiens are 3-7-1 since Carey Price went down with an injury, and have allowed at least three goals in eight of those 11 games. To make things more difficult, their next seven games are on the road.

9   6

17-9-7, 41 points: Entering December, the Red Wings sat 11 points behind Montreal for the Atlantic Division lead. As of Monday, they're two points behind with a game in hand.

10   11

17-8-6, 40 points: The Wild have earned at least a point in nine of their last 10 games. A tough slate of games ahead: vs. Dallas, vs. Montreal, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Detroit, at St. Louis.

11   17

18-12-4, 40 points: The Panthers have outscored their opponents by 11 during their four-game winning streak.

12   13

17-12-5, 39 points: Erik Karlsson has 37 points in 34 games so far this season, on pace to shatter last year's total of 66 points, which led all defensemen.

13   15

17-14-3, 37 points: Steven Stamkos snapped a 10-game goal drought by scoring three goals in his past two games.

14
 
9

19-12-4, 42 points: The Rangers have allowed at least five goals in their last three games (17 combined goals). They allowed just five or more goals only three times in their first 32 games.

15
 
12

16-11-6, 38 points: The Predators are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games, and have slipped to the fifth spot in the Central Division.

16   19

14-12-7, 35 points: Jakub Voracek has two goals and four assists during his four-game point streak after being held pointless in his previous three games.

17   16

16-13-5, 37 points: The Devils have scored just one goal in each of their last three games, where they've gone 0-2-1.

18   20

16-15-2, 34 points: The Sharks improved their road record to 12-6-2 after going 2-1-1 in their first four games of a five-game road trip.

19
 
26

17-16-1, 35 points: The Avalanche have allowed only five goals during their five-game winning streak, which includes wins over division opponents Nashville, St. Louis and Chicago.

20
 
18

15-15-2, 32 points: The Jets are 3-10-0 against divisional opponents, which isn't helping a team that has slipped to the basement of the Central.

21
 
14

15-14-3, 33 points: The Penguins are winless (0-4-0) in four games under new coach Mike Sullivan, and will now be without Sidney Crosby, who's day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

22   22 13-15-5, 31 points: The Hurricanes are 5-2-1 in their last eight games, yet haven't gained much ground in the Metropolitan Division.
23   21 12-14-9, 33 points: After a road contest against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, the Canucks will play their next seven games at home, where they are 4-6-3.
24   24

14-18-2, 30 points: The Oilers have dropped their last three contests by a combined 10 goals after winning six straight contests.

25   23

12-14-5, 29 points: The Ducks were shut out for the seventh time this season following Thursday's 3-0 loss to Buffalo.

26   27

15-15-2, 32 points: The Coyotes are 2-1-1 since it was announced that Mike Smith will miss the next 8-10 weeks with a core muscle injury.

27   25

15-16-2, 32 points: A seven-game winning streak wasn't enough to remove the Flames from the Western Conference basement. Good news is, their next five games are at home, where they are 10-5-0 this season compared to 5-11-2 on the road.

28   28

14-16-4, 32 points: A demoralizing 3-2 shootout loss to the Blackhawks after leading in the final minute of regulation is how the Sabres are entering a six-day holiday break.

29   29

11-13-7, 29 points: Jonathan Bernier shut out his former team Los Angeles to earn his first win since April 5th.

30   30

13-19-3, 29 points: A highlight during a down season: 21-year-old rookie goaltender Joonas Korpisalo registered his first career win in a 3-2 shootout victory against Philadelphia on Saturday.

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

Stan Bowman plays coy when asked about pitching free agent John Tavares

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USA TODAY

Stan Bowman plays coy when asked about pitching free agent John Tavares

The unrestricted free agent market opens up for the NHL on July 1. Five-time All-Star John Tavares is will reportedly be meeting with five different teams to talk about the possibility of leaving the only team he's played for his entire career, the New York Islanders. 

After a highly disappointing 33-39-10 finish to the 2017-18 season, many expect Chicago general manager Stan Bowman to be very aggressive this offseason. When asked by NBC Sports Chicago's Pat Boyle if the Blackhawks would be one of the five teams going after Tavares, Bowman gave a very reticent answer.

"I woudn't want to spoil the surprise, right?" Bowman said with a smile. 

"No, I'm not going to comment on that, but I know we're gonna have a lot of discussions over the next five or six days and we'll see where it goes."

Reports indicate that the Islanders and Tavares had been trying to work out the terms of a long-term extension, but with so many attractive options out there, it will be a tough decision for him. There are several teams coming off of playoff runs expected to go after Tavares, including Tampa Bay, Las Vegas and San Jose. In addition to those teams, his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to be in play as well.

But Chicago's rough year was so out of place for a team so used to winning consistently, that one can imagine their pitch will be enticing.

Elliotte Friedman of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada had this to say about the Blackhawks potential pursuit of Tavares: "They're not going to tolerate being that bad again, they're going to try something. I think they'll make a run at John Tavares too. I do, I think they'll ask, is there any way we can get him here?"

When taking all of this into account, it is sure to be an extremely exciting free agency period for the Blackhawks. The team is in full "re-tool" rather than "rebuild" mode, and there have been discussions that Kane may be becoming the more vocal leader of the team. But the addition of Tavares to a core of Kane, Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford could boost the Blackhawks back into Stanley Cup contention. 

Blackhawks 2018 NHL Draft capsules: Scouting reports and analysis

Blackhawks 2018 NHL Draft capsules: Scouting reports and analysis

A recap of the Blackhawks' selections in the 2018 NHL Draft, and their scouting reports, including analysis from Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman and VP of amateur scouting Mark Kelley:

Round 1, pick 8: Adam Boqvist, defenseman

Round 1, pick 27: Nicolas Beaudin, defenseman

Round 3, pick 69: Jake Wise, center

— What you need to know: Wise, 18, scored 11 goals and dished out 32 assists in 38 games for the United States National Team Development Program last season. He also scored a goal and added four assists in seven games during the Under-18 World Junior Championship. Wise will play at Boston University next year.

— Scouting report: Wise is 5-foot-10, 194 pounds and is known to be an excellent skater. He's also responsible in his own end, which is a trait the Blackhawks always appreciate in their younger players.

— Player reaction: "I thought the Hawks were probably one of the teams I was going to go to for the longest time. I don’t know why, but I always had a gut feeling. And to go to the Blackhawks, it’s unbelievable. Unbelievable organization and I couldn’t be happier."

— Analysis from Kelley: "He's just a really smart two-way centerman. He had a great start to the season and then he missed some time and it was ironic when he came back, it was the same time Jack Hughes joined the team and all of a sudden they had a No. 1 and No. 2 center and the team really took off."

Round 3, pick 74: Niklas Nordgren, forward

— What you need to know: Nordgren, 18, compiled 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists) in 28 games for Jr. A SM-liiga in the HIFK U20 league, and produced at a point-per-game rate in the playoffs with six goals and four assists in 10 games. He also reigstered 10 points (eight goals, two assists) in seven games for Finland during the Under-18 World Junior Championship. He plans to return to Finland next season.

— Scouting report: Nordgren is an undersized winger (5-foot-9, 170 pounds) but has the ability to score and can play in any situation.

— Player reaction: "Pretty exciting to get [drafted by the] Blackhawks, one of my favorites teams in the NHL."

— Analysis from Kelley: "He has great instincts around the net, he has a really good stick in traffic. I think if you look and track his goals you'll find they're goal scorers goals. He gets in the dirt, he's not afraid and he's just got a really great release."

Round 4, pick 120: Philipp Kurashev, forward

— What you need to know: Kurashev, 18, recorded 60 points (19 goals, 41 assists) in 59 games for the Québec Remparts of the QMJHL, and added one goal and four assists in six postseason contests. He also scored a goal and added two assists in five games with Switzerland during the Under-20 World Junior Championship.

— Scouting report: Kurashev is 6-foot-0, 190 pounds and is known to be a smooth skater who can blow past defenders during odd-man rushes. There are concerns about his effort level, but the package is there and that's what attracted the Blackhawks.

— Analysis from Kelley: "Really smart, skilled centerman but he's also really strong on his skates. We thought he had a really good year this year. We think he's better acclimated, we expect him to have a real good year this year coming back."

Round 5, pick 139: Mikael Hakkarainen, forward

— What you need to know: Hakkarainen, 20, accumulated 46 points (15 goals, 31 assists) in 36 games for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL last season, and added an assist in three playoff games. He was a member of the Chicago Steel for 16 games in 2016-17, where he recorded four assists. Hakkarainen will play at Providence College for the 2018-19 season.

— Scouting report: Hakkarainen is 6-foot-1, 194 pounds and can be an impact-type player and contribute on special teams.

— Analysis from Kelley: "I think what attracted us to him was, when you went and saw him play, he got on the scoresheet but even if he wasn't on the scoresheet you noticed him play. He played hard. 200-foot."

Round 6, pick 162: Alexis Gravel, goaltender

— What you need to know: Gravel, 18, had a 3.38 goals against average and .890 save percentage in 39 games with Halifax Mooseheads last season, and a 2.70 GAA and .917 save percentage in eight playoff games. 

— Scouting report: Gravel is 6-foot-3, 223 pounds, which immediately stand out because it's the kind of size and big frame the Blackhawks like in their goaltenders. His strengths include his quick glove hand and rebound control.

— Player reaction: "It's amazing. It's probably the best day of my life. I just look down and there's a Chicago Blackhawks logo on the jersey. It feels amazing. It's unreal."

— Analysis from Bowman: "Alexis is a guy we think has a lot of potential. And with goalies you have to be patient with them, they take a little bit longer [to develop]. But he’s got a lot of ability, he’s got the size to be an NHL goalie, and I think that’s part of it. We’re happy that he was there and we were able to get him."

— Analysis from Kelley: "He's going to have a great situation. They're going to host the Memorial Cup next year. We're expecting a peak year out of him. He's been a good goaltender. This year we saw him play some really good games. He's in a good spot. We like the opportunity for him."

Round 7, pick 193: Josiah Slavin, forward

— What you need to know: Slavin, 19, had 42 points (23 goals, 19 assists) in 60 games last season with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL, and two goals and one assist in seven playoff games. He is expected to return to the USHL before going to Colorado College in 2019-20. He is the younger brother of Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin.

— Analysis from Kelley: "We like the project there. We think where he is on the curve, he's gonna play another year and then go to Colorado College. We just like the whole project."