Dylan Strome

How all 13 Blackhawks performed at 2019 IIHF World Championship

How all 13 Blackhawks performed at 2019 IIHF World Championship

The Blackhawks had 13 players represent the organization at the 2019 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia. Here's how each of them performed, sorted by country:

Canada (Final ranking: Silver medal)

— Dylan Strome ... In his first career IIHF World Championship, Strome had five points (one goal, four assists) in 10 games. He also had a plus-1 rating, 12 shots on goal and averaged 11:59 of ice time. Strome ranked fifth among all centers with a faceoff win percentage of 63.3.

Czech Republic (Final ranking: 4th)

— Dominik Kubalik ... Kubalik, whose rights were acquired by the Blackhawks from Los Angeles in January, finished eighth among all skaters in scoring with 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 10 games and his plus-10 rating was tied for fourth overall. He also recorded 28 shots on goal and averaged 13:55 of ice time.

Denmark (Final ranking: 11th)

— Mathias From ... From, who was drafted in the fifth round (No. 143rd overall) in 2016, was pointless in four games. He was a minus-1 rating, had one shot on goal and averaged 5:02 of ice time.

Finland (Final ranking: Gold medal)

— Henri Jokiharju ... Jokiharju compiled three points — all assists — in 10 games. He also had a plus-1 rating, 13 shots on goal and averaged 11:44 of ice time. He and Kaapo Kakko became the seventh and eighth players in IIHF history to win gold at the Under-18s, World Junior and World Championship in their career. They also became the first players since Jonathan Toews (2007) to win the World Junior and World Championship in the same year.

— Kevin Lankinen ... Lankinen was the breakout star of the tournament. The 24-year-old ranked first in goals against average (1.50), second in save percentage (.942) and tied for first in shutouts (2). He was named player of the game in the semifinal contest against Russia with a 32-save shutout then stopped 43 of 44 shots for a save percentage of .978 in the gold medal game against Canada.

Germany (Final ranking: 6th)

— Dominik Kahun ... Kahun was one of Germany's most productive players. He racked up five points (one goal, four assists), ranked second on the team in shots on goal (16) and averaged 19:18 of ice time. He finished with a minus-1 rating in eight games.

Norway (Final ranking: 12th)

— Andreas Martinsen ... Martinsen, who's set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, was tied for the scoring lead on Norway with six points — all assists — in seven games. He had a minus-1 rating, 11 shots on goal and averaged 15:28 of ice time. Coaches voted him one of the three best players on Norway at the end of the tournament.

Russia (Final ranking: Bronze medal)

— Artem Anisimov ... Anisimov recorded six points (four goals, two assists) in 10 games, and tallied one game-winning goal. He also registered 14 shots on goal and averaged 14:25 of ice time. His plus-11 rating was tied for third among all skaters.

Sweden (Final ranking: 5th)

— Erik Gustafsson ... He had four points (two goals, two assists) and a plus-5 rating in eight games. His 25 shots on goal ranked first on Team Sweden and 18:29 average time on ice ranked sixth.

— Marcus Kruger ... Kruger, who's set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, scored two goals — one of which was a game-winner — and added an assist in eight games. He was one of four players on the team that had a negative rating (minus-3). Kruger averaged 10:37 of ice time and ranked 15th among center with a faceoff win percentage of 59.2.

Switzerland (Final ranking: 8th)

— Philipp Kurashev ... Kurashev, who was taken in the fourth round (No. 120 overall) in 2018, accumulated four points (one goal, three assists) in eight games. His plus-4 rating also ranked tied for third on the team. Kurashev registered eight shots on goal and averaged 11:02 of ice time.

United States (Final ranking: 7th)

— Alex DeBrincat ... DeBrincat picked up right where he left off with the Blackhawks. He finished second among all skaters in goals (7) despite playing in eight games, and compiled nine points. Two of his goals were game-winners and three of them came on the power play. His shooting percentage was 43.8.

DeBrincat now has 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 18 career tournament games. 

— Patrick Kane ... After being named tournament MVP in 2018, Kane also didn't skip a beat. He averaged 1.50 points per game with two goals and 10 assists in eight contests, and led his country in shots on goal (28) and forwards in ice time (22:26 per game).

The three-time Stanley Cup champion surpassed U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Johnson for most points (33) in World Championship history. Kane pulled away even further by the end of the tournament, totaling 42 points in 25 career IIHF World Championship games.

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Blackhawks 2018-19 season grades: Forwards

Blackhawks 2018-19 season grades: Forwards

At the All-Star break when we revealed our midseason grades, the Blackhawks were 29th in the entire NHL with a points percentage of .441. But that's right around the time where they started to turn around their season.

From Jan. 20 and on, the Blackhawks finished fifth in points percentage (.652). Only the Tampa Bay Lightning (.788), St. Louis Blues (.743), Boston Bruins (.727) and Carolina Hurricanes (.714) had a higher clip, all of whom are in the playoffs. The Blackhawks were in that position because their star players strapped the team on their back.

Alex DeBrincat scored a career-high 41 goals, Patrick Kane finished third in the NHL's scoring race with 110 points and Jonathan Toews set a career high in all three scoring categories: goals (35), assists (46) and points (81). They became the first trio in Blackhawks history to score at least 35 goals in the same season since 1987-88 when Steve Larmer (41), Denis Savard (44) and Rick Vaive (43) did so.

While the depth scoring from their forward group did get a little better in the second half thanks to the additions of Drake Caggiula, Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome that helped balance out the lines, they didn't get enough of it throughout the season and it was one of the reasons the Blackhawks' top players ran out of gas down the stretch. That needs to change next season and it likely will.

The Blackhawks are expected to have north of $15 million in cap space to spend in free agency and could draft an immediate impact-type player at No. 3 overall in the 2019 NHL Draft after the ping pong balls bounced in their favor. That could be a game-changer.

The Blackhawks know what they have in DeBrincat, Kane, Strome and Toews. Even Brandon Saad, who turned in a 23-goal campaign. Now it's about building around that core group up front so the minutes can be more evenly distributed. If that happens next season, this grade will look different a year from now.

Grade: C+

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Why Dylan Strome and Nick Schmaltz trade has become a win-win for both Blackhawks and Coyotes

Why Dylan Strome and Nick Schmaltz trade has become a win-win for both Blackhawks and Coyotes

It’s hard to believe it’s taken this long, but the Blackhawks and Coyotes will meet at the United Center on Monday for the first time since their Nov. 25 trade when Brendan Perlini and Dylan Strome were sent to Chicago and Nick Schmaltz was shipped to Arizona.

And looking back on the move, it appears to be working out just fine for both sides.

Strome has 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 44 games with the Blackhawks; he had 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 48 career games with the Coyotes. He's becoming the player the Coyotes thought they were getting when they took him No. 3 overall in 2015 in large part because of the comfort level he's always had with close friend Alex DeBrincat, which has allowed them to thrive in the shadow of and alongside franchise icons Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, and doing it in one of the top hockey markets in the NHL. 

And Perlini is unquestionably playing his best hockey of the season, potting three goals in his last four games and getting more ice time because of it.

"Perlini lately has been unbelievable," Patrick Kane said. "He's playing great. He seems to be a force every time he's on the ice. Obviously when you talk about Strome you think about how he's helped our power play. The numbers speak for itself. He's close to a point per game with us, given us more depth up the middle, really been a great fit in the locker room too, a guy that really loves hockey, still a young player, has a lot of potential too."

For Arizona, Schmaltz has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 17 games since the trade, and a shooting percentage of 17.2. He was playing top-line minutes before suffering a knee injury in January that shut him down for the remainder of the regular season, which is unfortunate because he's in a contract year. But the Coyotes are excited about where he projects in their lineup for the long term.

 

The Blackhawks and Coyotes should both be happy about what they got in return because it's turning out how each of them envisioned.

"It went a little smother for [Stromer]," coach Jeremy Colliton said of what Perlini and Strome have meant to the team since the acquisition. "He was able to produce right away and get a good feeling. He’s been a big part of the power play, had chemistry with [Artem] Anisimov and [Patrick] Kane for a while, they produced well for us. Now being with [DeBrincat] for a long stretch, too, they’ve scored some big goals for us and found a way to produce most nights. It’s been huge.

"With Perlini, really happy with his last stretch of games. He’s taken a step. Much more involved, giving us energy and winning races and battles. When he does that, his line has the puck more. He has skill, he has a bomb, big body, can take the puck to the net. Maybe the game in Dallas was his best game since he’s been here. Hopefully he can continue to improve."

While there's certainly some extra juice for the players playing against their former team, they want to channel it in the right way because both teams are fighting for their playoff lives right now.

"Yeah, obviously I'm excited to play them like anyone would be against your old team," Strome said. "I think at this point in the standings you want to do well individually but at the same time you want to get the two points for your team. They're fighting and so are we. It's a big game in the standings. Try not to focus on it too much and just go out, have some fun, make some plays and the rest will take care of itself."

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