Alex DeBrincat

How Blackhawks are impacted by NHL counting play-in results as playoff stats

How Blackhawks are impacted by NHL counting play-in results as playoff stats

When the NHL announced its new 24-team playoff format, it also declared the regular season completed. That means that the 189 games remaining on the regular season calendar will not be played, and all regular season statistics are final.

The league also announced that the qualifying round and round robin games are not technically playoff games, creating a kind of limbo between the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

A lot of questions have been raised about the stats in these purgatorial games for record-keeping purposes. It seems we now have an answer:

 

The NHL announced the Art Ross, Rocket Richard and Jennings Trophy winners on Thursday, officially marking the end of regular season stat-keeping. So while the play-in and round robin games will not officially count as playoff games, any points, saves or other statistics accrued will officially count as playoff stats for players. 

What does this all mean for the Blackhawks? A few things.

For one, it means that Jonathan Toews’ streak of consecutive seasons with 20 or more goals is now over at 12, as he finishes the 2019-20 campaign with a career-low 18 goals. 

Entering this season, the only three players who had scored 20 or more goals in each of the last 12 seasons were Toews, Patrick Kane and Alex Ovechkin. Kane (13 seasons) and Ovechkin (15), who extended their streaks in 2019-20, are now the only two remaining on the list. 

It also means that Kane’s 84 points in 70 games gives him a point-per-game total of 1.20 for the season, the third best in his illustrious career. Kane finished with five goals in the final five games of the regular season, surpassing the 30-goal plateau for the fifth time in his career. That ties Jeremy Roenick for the sixth most in Blackhawks franchise history. 

It means that Dominik Kubalik’s late Calder Trophy push comes to an early end, as well. He finishes his rookie season with 30 goals, tied with Artemi Panarin and Eric Daze for the third most by a Blackhawks rookie in franchise history. 

It means that Alex DeBrincat will not reach the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his young NHL career. After his 28-goal rookie season, DeBrincat followed up with 41 goals in 2018-19. But a 10% drop in his shooting percentage this season left him with just 18 — with a fresh three-year extension kicking in next season. 

The good news? While the Blackhawks’ play-in contests against the Edmonton Oilers won’t officially count as playoff games, youngsters like DeBrincat, Kubalik, Kirby Dach and others will get a crack at accumulating playoff points for the first time in their career. 

And for legends like Kane and Toews, it’s an opportunity to climb the all-time leaderboards.

Kane’s 123 playoff points ranks fourth in Blackhawks franchise history — six behind third-ranked Bobby Hull. Three more points also propels Kane into the top-50 all-time in NHL playoff points. Toews’ 110 points ranks sixth in Blackhawks franchise history, just a single point shy of Steve Larmer in fifth. 

One stat that might remain in limbo? Playoff wins by a goaltender.

Corey Crawford already owns the Blackhawks franchise record with 48 playoff wins, which ranks 22nd all-time in NHL history. However, if he’s able to lead the Blackhawks to three wins and an upset of the Oilers in the best-of-five qualifying round, will those count towards his playoff win total? That remains to be seen. Only 19 goalies in league history have ever amassed 50 or more playoff wins.

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Blackhawks' Alex DeBrincat, Drake Caggiula to compete in NHL 20 charity event

Blackhawks' Alex DeBrincat, Drake Caggiula to compete in NHL 20 charity event

It's not the hockey we're accustomed to seeing, but fans can watch two Blackhawks hit the (virtual) ice for a good cause on Thursday.

The Blackhawks' Alex DeBrincat and Drake Caggiula are competing against Michael Amadio and Blake Lizotte of the Los Angeles Kings in NHL 20. The best-of-three matchup is part of the NHL Player Gaming Challenge, where the league and Electronic Arts are collectively donating $100,000 to the CDC Foundation to support coronavirus first responders

Thursday's games will be streamed on NHL's TwitchYouTubeTwitter and Facebook Premiere platforms. Those interested in donating can do so here.

 

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Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat’s 'The Jump' pregame ritual up for fan vote

Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat’s 'The Jump' pregame ritual up for fan vote

The NHL released the categories and contestants for this year’s Fan Choice Awards on Monday. The most notable Blackhawks participants are Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat, up for “Best Pregame Ritual.”

During warmups of every game, Toews skates up to DeBrincat and the two leap into a full-on shoulder-smash, which the Blackhawks have dubbed, “The Jump.”

There are a number of other Blackhawks ties in the Fan Choice Awards. Tommy Hawk is up for “Best Mascot” and the United Center is up for “Best Building.” Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner is one of the four contestants in the “Best Follow” category, recognizing “the player who nails every post” on their social media accounts.

In the “we’d rather not talk about it” category, Pekka Rinne’s goalie-goal against the Blackhawks is one of the four candidates for “Goal of the Year.”

Fans can vote across all 20 of the Fan Choice Awards categories on the NHL's website, or use the hashtag #NHLFanChoice across social media platforms. Voting ends on June 1, with the winners announced on June 3.

RELATED: Why Kirby Dach's rookie season was such a success

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