Blackhawks

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks flying under the radar

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NHL Power Rankings: Sharks flying under the radar

The Sharks have won nine of their last 12 games, and are now one point away from the second spot in the Pacific Division. They're also not far away from the Kings, who are 6-0-1 in their last seven games and own a four-point lead for first place in the division.

Meanwhile in the East, the Penguins have strung together six straight wins and have moved into the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division despite the loss of Evgeni Malkin.

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 | Week 15 | Week 16 | Week 17 | Week 18 | Week 19 | Week 20 | Week 21 | Week 22 | Week 23

 

Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 1

51-15-5, 107 points: Evgeny Kuznetsov is emerging as a superstar in this league. He registered three assists in Friday's win over Nashville, and all three of them were highlight-reel passes. He's also tied for fourth in the NHL scoring race with 73 points.

2   4 44-22-5, 93 points: The Kings have stormed back into first place in the Pacific Division after going 6-0-1 in their last seven games. Jonathan Quick was named the NHL's second star of the week with a 3-0-0 record, 1.32 goals against average and .953 save percentage.
3 3 40-22-9, 89 points: The Ducks have the No. 1-ranked power play unit (24.3 percent) and No. 1-ranked penalty kill unit (87.3 percent).
4 2

42-22-9, 93 points: The Blues, perhaps overlooking their opponents, allowed a combined 13 goals in back-to-back games against Calgary and Edmonton, but bounced back with a 3-0 win over Vancouver, outshooting the Canucks 50-19.

5 12

40-24-8, 88 points: We've been high on this Penguins team under Mike Sullivan, and the results are starting to show despite the loss of Evgeni Malkin. Since Sullivan took over on Dec. 12, the Penguins have been the best puck possession team in the NHL, controlling exactly 55 percent of even-strength shot attempts.

6   6 43-21-9, 95 points: The Central Division race got more interesting after the Stars announced that Tyler Seguin will miss three-to-four weeks with an injury. An unfortunate blow, but we're going to see what this team is made of down the stretch.
7  5 41-26-5, 87 points: The Lightning are 2-4-1 in their last seven games, which followed a nine-game winning streak. They'll play their next six at home, where they are 21-11-3 this season compared to 20-15-2 on the road.
8 7 42-24-7, 91 points: The Blackhawks are 0-for-17 on the power play in their last five games, where they are 1-3-1, a large reason why their offense has dried up during their recent slump.
9 9

40-23-9, 89 points: The Panthers set a new regular-season attendance record on Kevin Spacey night in Sunrise. Unfortunately for them, the Red Wings spoiled the party by beating Florida 5-3.

10   14 41-25-6, 88 points: No team is flying under the radar more than the Sharks, who are one point away from the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Division. James Reimer has two shutouts in four starts with San Jose.
11   11 36-23-13, 85 points: James Neal scored a hat trick in Monday's win over Edmonton, the third hat trick by a Predators player in 10 games. Filip Forsberg had the other two.
12   8 39-26-8, 86 points: The Bruins stuck out on their West Coast trip, failing to pick up at least a point against San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles. They close out a four-game road trip against the Rangers on Wednesday, which won't be an easy task.
13   13

40-24-8, 88 points: The Rangers are 3-4-2 in their last nine games, and are in danger of slipping to a wild card spot — after sitting at No. 2 in the Metropolitan Division last week — with the Penguins surging and the Islanders only three points away with two games in hand.

14   10 38-23-9, 85 points: The Islanders have one win in their last six games since Jaroslav Halak went down with an injury. They badly miss him, and it will be interesting to see how they respond knowing he won't be back until after the first round of the playoffs if they make it past that.
15   16

34-24-12, 80 points: Jakub Voracek is back just in time to help give the Flyers a shot in the arm for the stretch run. Two really impressive wins over Detroit and Chicago on back-to-back nights have pulled them within three points of the final wild card spot in the East with two games in hand on Detroit.

16   18

36-25-11, 83 points: The Red Wings are just three points away from Boston for third in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand. They're also looking behind them at Philadelphia, which is, as stated above, three points away with two games in hand. Nobody is safe.

17 17 34-28-11, 79 points: Devan Dubnyk improved his career regular-season record against the Blackhawks to 6-0-0. The Wild are also 4-0 against them this season. Is this the year they can break through in the postseason against Chicago? They're still on the outside looking in, but if you get in, anything can happen.
18 18

38-31-4, 80 points: Gabriel Landeskog returned from his three-game suspension by recording a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win over Edmonton to remain in the final wild card spot in the West. They've now won five of their last six games.

19   21 34-31-8, 76 points: Two shutouts victories in a week for the Senators, albeit against Toronto and Montreal. It's still encouraging coming from a team that has allowed 217 goals this season, which ranks third-worst.
20   22

35-31-7, 77 points: Think the Devils miss Cory Schneider? They started three different goaltenders this week: Keith Kinkaid, Yann Danis and Scott Wedgewood. They did, however, win two of those three games.

21 20 

31-27-14, 76 points: If the Hurricanes had won half of their overtime/shootout games this season, they'd be battling for a wild card spot right now — perhaps even looking in. They still made the correct decision by trading three key players at the trade deadline, but there's still lots to like about this team.

22   19 33-34-6, 72 points: Alex Galchenyuk has 11 points (nine goals and two assists) in 10 games so far this month, including four two-goal games. He had 11 points total in 24 games in January and February combined.
23   23 31-34-7, 69 points: The Coyotes had 10 total power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and San Jose over the weekend, but got shut out in both of those games.
24 28

31-35-6, 68 points: Sean Monahan was named the NHL's third star of the week after scoring five goals and two assists, pacing the Flames to a 3-0-1 record last week. Two of those goals were game-winners.

25 26

29-34-10, 68 points: On Saturday, the Sabres were defeated by the Maple Leafs 4-1 in a game that featured two rebuilding teams. In two or three years, this will be a marquee matchup.

26   27

29-39-7, 65 points: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins snapped his 18-game scoring drought by potting two goals in a win over St. Louis, and another over the weekend against Colorado. Perhaps making his final case for a spot on Team North America for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey?

27   25 27-32-12, 66 points: The Canucks have scored three goals total during their four-game losing streak, and have been shut out twice. With Alex Edler, Brandon Sutter and Radim Vrbata all shut down for the season, they're officially in the picture to land the No. 1 overall pick.
28 26

29-35-8, 66 points: In his second career NHL game, Oliver Bjorkstrand scored two goals, including the game-winner, in a 6-3 win against New Jersey over the weekend. A nice highlight in a season full of lows.

29   29

29-37-6, 64 points: The Jets have been outscored 11-3 during their three-game losing streak, including a 4-0 loss to Chicago in which Andrew Ladd scored in his return to Winnipeg.

30   30

25-35-11, 61 points: William Nylander officially passed the nine-game mark, which burns a year off his entry-level contract. Mathematically, it's a hard to decision to agree with, but it's also the perfect setting to get him acclimated to the NHL culture with zero pressure on the Maple Leafs this season.

*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.