If you’ve been paying attention to Gone Puck Wild lately, and shame on you if you haven’t, then you know school has begun as Wild fans brush up on their knowledge of the new teams within Minnesota’s division. This week, that new team just so happens to be the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. Going through Sunday, we’ll break down Chicago’s major additions and subtractions, strengths and weaknesses, prospect pool, 2013 draft class and team outlook.
Well, what a week it’s been. We analyzed Chicago’s additions and subtractions, discovered what makes them so good and also found what the team needs to improve. We took a look at the future as we took a dip into the prospect pool and broke down an intriguing 2013 draft class by the ‘Hawks. Today, we recap our coverage with the team outlook.
It’s hard to fill out an article when there just isn’t a whole lot to say. Captain Jonathan Toews and 2007 1st overall pick Patrick Kane are just entering their primes (they’re scary enough as it is) and guys like Brandon Pirri and Brandon Saad are ready to make their mark in Chi-town. Behind them, Ryan Hartman and Teuvo Teravainen will make their own splash in the coming season.
The defense is brimming with elite talent, and the Blackhawks aim to keep it that way with names like Adam Clendening and Carl Dahlstrom in the fold. There is a question mark in goal with Nikolai Khabibulin providing a short-term cushion at No. 2 while Finnish MVP Antti Raanta finishes his development as the No. 1 in Rockford. With no legitimate starter prospect in the pool after Raanta, this is a need that will likely be addressed at next year’s draft. In the meantime, Corey Crawford’s nothing to sneeze at, as long as he stays mentally focused.
After collecting two Stanley Cups in four seasons, the future is now for Chicago. Of the six other teams in the Central division, it’s very likely Chicago will be Minnesota’s greatest rival. There may have been no better kick-start to a beautiful rivalry than Minnesota’s first round matchup against the Blackhawks. The ‘Hawks may have won last season’s battle, but they’ve far from won the war. It’s a new division and a new season for Minnesota–a clean slate–it’s their time now.