Lots of new faces for Chicago Blackhawks heading into season

September 27, 2017
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy reaches for a loose puck behind Boston Bruins' Matt Beleskey during the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game in Boston, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)


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.

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