Lots of new faces for Chicago Blackhawks heading into season
LAST SEASON: 50-23-9, 109 points. Won Central Division. Swept by Nashville Predators in first round of playoffs.
COACH: Joel Quenneville (10th season, 21st NHL season).
ADDED: F Brandon Saad, F Patrick Sharp, F Tommy Wingels, D Connor Murphy, G Anton Forsberg.
LOST: F Artemi Panarin, D Niklas Hjalmarsson, D Johnny Oduya, D Brian Campbell, G Scott Darling, F Andrew Desjardins, F Marcus Kruger, D Trevor van Riemsdyk.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Connor Murphy. The Blackhawks have several questions on their blue line after trading Hjalmarsson to Arizona and losing van Riemsdyk in the expansion draft this summer. Enter Murphy, a physical defenseman who was acquired in the Hjalmarsson deal. The 24-year-old Murphy had two goals and a career-high 15 assists last season, but also had a minus-13 rating.
OUTLOOK: The Blackhawks looked like, well, the Blackhawks right until they got to the playoffs last season. Now, after a second straight exit in the first round, the pressure is on. The good news for the Blackhawks is a deep group of forwards, boosted by the return of Saad and Sharp, and Duncan Keith remains one of the NHL’s best defensemen.