The Chicago Blackhawks will have a few additions who could add to the goal totals in 2023-24. Connor Bedard obviously headlines it, but what about those who returned from last year’s team?
The Blackhawks only saw two twenty goal scorers last season – Andreas Athanasiou and Taylor Raddysh. Patrick Kane and Max Domi both notched 20 as well, but were with different teams at the conclusion of the season.
All of this is contingent of course on playing at least 60 games. Here’s a look at a few of the names that could potentially see 20 on the left side of the goal column with a reasonably clean bill of health in 2023-24. For the range, I looked at goals-per-game rate along with his ixG/60 as well as other metrics to provide a range.
We’ll start with what really feels like it’s a mortal lock. Bedard already has the line set for 32.5 so 20 seems like an easy hurdle to clear for him. His junior numbers were eye-popping. He added nine goals in the World Junior Championships, lining up against the best talent in the world.
It stands to reason that Bedard will make the goal cleanly. Sidney Crosby potted 39 in his rookie campaign while Auston Matthews notched 40. It’s fair to believe that he could not only hit 40, but add a few more, especially in a league that is even more friendly to offense than it was for the aforementioned.
Likelihood to Hit 20 Goals: Sure Bet
Predicted Floor to Ceiling Range: 20 – 43
He’s the risk-reward player on the Blackhawks, a dazzling speedster who in the blink of an eye can be in alone on a breakaway. Athanasiou won’t be as dominant in the back end, but his offense is what makes him so appealing.
Last year he ended up with 20 on the nose. His ixG per Evolving Hockey clocked in around 20.42 so he’s scoring as he should be.
The question now: can he do it again? History is in Athanasiou’s favor, where he recorded a 30-goal season back in 2018-19 with the Detroit Red Wings. He also played a full minute less on average last season than he did in his 30-goal season. He could see an uptick as he’ll be counted onto score goals.
His production would nosedive the next season, precipitating a trade to Edmonton where he would then sign with Los Angeles in the offseason. His output with Chicago was a good sign, the highest total he had since that 2018-19 season.
He inked a two-year extension and knowing he’ll be up again for a new contract when he’s barely 31, there’s a lot of upside for him to build on those numbers. He also played a full minute less on average last season than he did in his 30-goal season. Athanasiou could see an uptick as he’ll be counted onto score goals.
Likelihood to Hit 20 Goals: Very Likely
Predicted Floor to Ceiling Range: 15-27
Another one Chicago’s 20-goal scorers last season, Raddysh could be one of those guys that could surprise again. He, too, stands to benefit from Bedard being on the roster and with a good preseason, could make the argument that he should flank #98 on the right side to start the season.
His ixG was 18.99, which puts him as overachieving ever so slightly last year with the 20 he scored. Much will depend on where he slots in the top six, but he should also get ample time on the power play.
Raddysh doesn’t have the historic comparables as Athanasiou, but scoring like he did on a team that suffered from a lack of scoring is certainly a good sign. It remains to be seen if it’s a consistency or if it’s going to be an outlier.
Likelihood to Hit 20 Goals: Very Likely
Predicted Floor to Ceiling Range: 15-22
This is the “unless he gets injured” disclaimer, which has been an unfortunate reality for Hall during his career. Hall’s expected goals last season hit 18.66, when he potted 16 for the season. This was on a very good Bruins squad so some inflation might be there for the sole purpose that he wasn’t going to line up against the best every night.
However, there’s the counter argument that says he’ll likely be on Bedard’s left and having more ice time, providing the chance to hit 20.
He’s no stranger to the mark, hitting it seven times prior with his 39 goals as his standout season back in 2017-18. Hall hit 20 in 2021-22, so it’s within recent history.
It’ll need to be at least 65 games for it to happen, and again, health hasn’t always been on his side. Regardless of that, there’s a real shot here.
Likelihood to Hit 20 Goals: If healthy, very good
Predicted Floor to Ceiling Range: 14 – 22
This is the most intriguing of all. Will Reichel prove to be the goal scorer Blackhawks fans are hoping he will be and has shown flashes of both in Rockford and Chicago. He had 15 points (7-8) in 22 games with the Blackhawks and notched 20 in 55 games with the IceHogs.
The goal scoring ability is there. But now does it all come together? Reichel will be eased in, but he too could find time on a line with Bedard–which let’s face it–is what Blackhawks fans would love to see.
The history isn’t enough to tell us much other than the potential is high. Beating his numbers from last season with a full year in Chicago is goal number one. Getting past 20 would be a bonus.