Blackhawks

Blackhawks 2018-19 midseason grades: Forwards

blackhawks_forwards_usa_today.jpg
USA TODAY

Blackhawks 2018-19 midseason grades: Forwards

Going into the 2018-19 campaign, the Blackhawks were looking for rebound seasons from their top guys and counting on their younger ones to take that next step. It's safe to say they've done that for the most part.

After compiling a career-low 20 goals and 52 points in 74 games last season, Jonathan Toews has already surpassed his goal total with 22 and is four points away from tying his point total from a year ago through 51 games. The Blackhawks captain is on pace to set a career-high with 35 goals and 76 points.

Patrick Kane, who statistically had a down season by his standards, has 29 goals and 42 assists for 71 points in 50 games this season. For reference, he had 27 goals and 49 assists for 76 points in 82 games last year. The former Hart Trophy winner is on pace to set a career-high with 46 goals and 114 points, and he even missed a game with an illness.

Alex DeBrincat has emerged a star. He has 25 goals and 18 assists for 43 points in 51 games this season, with eight of his goals coming on the power play. He's on pace for 40 goals and 68 points, both of which would set a career-high. A year ago, he had 28 goals and 24 assists for 52 points in 82 games while averaging only 14:48 of ice time.

Heck, even Brandon Saad's numbers are quietly coming around. There are still inconsistencies in his game, but he has 15 goals and 27 points through 49 games after recording only 18 goals and 35 points in 82 games last season. He's on pace for 25 goals and 44 points.

In summary, the Blackhawks are expected to have three 35-plus goal scorers, one 25-goal scorer and a 100-plus point player this season. DeBrincat led the team with 28 goals in 2017-18 as a rookie and Kane led with 76 points. That's a big difference from where the Blackhawks were a year ago.

The problem is, the four players listed above have combined for 91 of the 135 goals from Blackhawks forwards this season, which comes out to be 67.4 percent. That means the remaining 44 goals have been scored by the other 16 forwards combined.

To be fair, Dylan Strome has accounted for nine of them in only 27 games with the Blackhawks. Over the course of an 82-game season, that comes out to be 27 goals. That'll definitely work.

After that, the secondary scoring simply hasn't been there. The scorching power play has carried the slack for the last two months and has made up for it, but it's absolutely an area the Blackhawks need to address going into next season. There needs to be a more balanced offensive attack. And that will certainly be a high priority this summer, considering they got their expected bounce-back seasons from their horses.

Grade: B-

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device. 

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Reaction to Hawks loss and love for Outsiders fan Cam Payne

bulls_outsiders_podcast_640x360.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Reaction to Hawks loss and love for Outsiders fan Cam Payne

On this edition of Bulls Outsiders, Matt Peck, John Sabine, and David Watson react to the Bulls 121-101 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

1:00 - Bulls seemed like they were going through the motions from the start

2:00 - On John Collins career night

3:30 - Few positives from this game

4:40 - Markkanen needs to be a bigger part of the offense

6:10 - On inconsistency from Boylen on his rotation

8:00 - On Arcidiancono’s struggles

11:00 - Comparing Hoiberg vs Boylen each through 24 games

14:30 - Next signature pizza for a Bulls player?

17:40 - How Cam Payne is a Bulls Outsiders fan

22:20 - Fan questions which coach would you rather have: Kukoc or Hinrich?

24:55 - Advice from a Sixers fan

26:15 - Seeing two Boylen’s at the United Center

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below: