Game Notes: Chicago Blackhawks @ Edmonton Oilers
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis9 months ago
After a frustrating overtime loss to the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night, the Edmonton Oilers will look to get back into the win column against another basement dweller, the Chicago Blackhawks.
1. The Blackhawks came into this season with no aspirations of winning, having traded away young forwards Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach in the off-season for draft picks. It’s pretty obvious that Chicago has their eyes set on trying to win the golden ticket at this year’s draft lottery.
Through 47 games this season, the Hawks have a 15-28-4 record, which is second-last in the league ahead of only Columbus. Their .362 points percentage is the worst that the team has had in the post-expansion era since 2003-04 when they went 20-43-11-8. They finished slightly ahead of the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins in the standings that season and selected Cam Barker at No. 3 overall, while Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin went No. 1 and No. 2 respectively.
2. The last time Chicago selected No. 1 overall in the draft, of course, was back in 2007 when they landed Patrick Kane. They had selected Jonathan Toews at No. 3 overall the year prior and the franchise quickly turned things around when the duo made their debuts in 2007-08.
The Hawks went 40-34-8 and narrowly missed the playoffs in Kane and Toews’ first season and then they went on to make the playoffs in nine consecutive seasons and win three Stanley Cups in 2009, 2013, and 2015. Kane and Toews now rank second and sixth in all-time franchise scoring.
3. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for both of these players as their identical eight-year, $84 million contracts that were signed back in 2014 come to an end this summer. Both are 34 years old and surely they don’t want to stick around for a long rebuild. But maybe that would change if the Hawks win the draft lottery and select Bedard at No. 1 overall, which would help accelerate the process of turning things around.
4. Both Kane and Toews will be names to watch as the March 3 trade deadline approaches. Kane is having the worst output of his career with just nine goals and 32 points through 44 games, and Toews’ 27 points in 45 games this season is also far from impressive.
That said, their supporting cast is far and away the weakest they’ve ever had throughout their careers so these results should be taken with a bit of a grain of salt. Both players have plenty of playoff experience and would be worthwhile adds for a team looking to go on a run. The difficulty is that both of them have huge cap hits at $10.5 million and they both have no-movement clauses and can control where they go.
Though there was quite a bit of talk about a Kane-to-Edmonton deal during the summer, Toews probably makes more sense for Edmonton. He could help the team as a defensive third-line centre who can win faceoffs and kill penalties. Ken Holland has already gone to the Blackhawks once to add a veteran presence and it wouldn’t be shocking if he did it again.
5. Edmonton’s loss to Columbus on Wednesday snapped their six-game winning streak and put them at 27-18-4 on the season. At the time of writing (Friday evening), they’re in fourth in the Pacific Division, two back of the L.A. Kings with one game in hand, three back of the Vegas Golden Knights with the same amount of games played, and three points back of the Seattle Kraken with two more games played.
6. As the Oilers learned with the Blue Jackets, there’s no such thing as an automatic win in the NHL. The Calgary Flames also learned this on Thursday, as the Hawks rolled into town and beat them by a score of 5-1.
Chicago is getting excellent goaltending right now from an undrafted free-agent goalie named Jaxson Stauber, who’s stopped 63 of 67 shots in the first two games of his career. If the Oilers put forward another lethargic effort against Chicago, they’ll likely end up with another frustrating result.
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