No one enjoys reading wishy-washy predictions about their favorite team. As someone who has followed and is pretty familiar with the 2013 Stanley Cup champions, I have compiled a list of Chicago Blackhawks predictions that are bold and sure to go wrong.
Corey Crawford becomes a Vezina Trophy Finalist
“Crow” has been receiving mixed reactions during the off-season in regards to how good he will be in 2013-14. Crawford should have won the Conn Smythe trophy as the playoff’s MVP, but lost to it the flashier, mullet-rocking Patrick Kane. The netminder showed mental maturity in 2013, especially after letting up soft goals in the playoffs against Detroit and Los Angeles. The next step naturally for a good goalie on a great team is to join the elite club of twine protectors.
Marcus Kruger scores 20 goals
The Swedish-born center has found his niche playing hard minutes on the fourth line and penalty kill. Fans caught a glimpse of Kruger’s soft touch around the net during the cup run, and this is the season he surprised the league but potting exactly 20 goals. Chicago’s defensive forwards have done well making the most of the offensive opportunities. Look for Kruger to pot at least three short-handed goals on the top penalty killing unit.
Marian Hossa scores 17 goals
Chicago’s revered right winger has seen his injury list grow at an alarming pace. Hossa missed a game of the Stanley Cup finals because his injuries forced him to. If you do not know, majority of hockey players will play with debilitating injuries regardless of the repercussions. Blackhawks center Michal Handzus played with a broken wrist and torn MCL during the finals. Hossa’s injuries finally catch up and limit him to 45 games.
Joakim Nordstrom plays 82 games with Chicago
Who the hell is Joakim Nordstrom? Well Hawks fans, he is the newest addition to the fourth line and penalty kill. The 21-year old is also from Sweden, perfect considering he will be paired with Kruger. Nordstrom is a bigger player standing at 6’2’’, and has found a knack for using his length in his own zone. He has never scored more than five goals in a season while playing in the Swedish Elite League, and was a member of the Sweden team that won the 2012 World Junior Championships.It remains to be seen if Nordstrom played well enough to stick with the big club for the season, but coach Joel Quenneville loves him some sexy Swedish defense.
Patrick Kane scores 100 points
In 2013, Kane took a huge step forward, offensively. After seeing his point totals drop each of the past two seasons, the 24-year old put the league on notice with 23 goals and 55 points in 47 games during the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign. His prorated numbers from last year put him in the 90-point range, meaning that “Kaner” will enter his prime years as a pro competing for the scoring title.
The Chicago Blackhawks repeat as Stanley Cup Champions
Winning back-to-back championships in the NHL is nearly impossible now. The salary cap has caused parity in the league, and teams that can build deep farm systems stand a better chance of continued success. Chicago lost a few pieces because of cap issues, but should not fall back to the pack as much as some expect them to. As good as teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins are, the Blackhawks boast a scoring and defensive depth that every team envies. Don’t call them a dynasty…okay, next June you can.
Cue the Pat Foley “Hawks win! Hawks win!”
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffrotull44 for more sports and entertainment ramblings. If you play fantasy sports, check out The Fantasy Fix, where Jeff’s weekly column ‘Peaks and Valleys’ covers your add/drop/watch needs during baseball and hockey season.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks