Nine games in and the Chicago Blackhawks are 3-6 and coming off a brutal 8-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. They’ll reset heading into a tough tilt against the Florida Panthers tonight, who wouldn’t you know it, boasts Sam Reinhart who has eight goals in nine games.
So much for getting a break in that schedule.
The Blackhawks thus far this season have scored 19 goals and before the Arizona game, had given up 24. The latter is an outlier, but another blowout would certainly make things more challenging to say it was an anomaly. How did it look a year ago?
After nine games, Chicago was 4-3-2 and had 31 goals to the good and 31 against. While it wasn’t the gauntlet they’ve faced this year schedule wise, the Hawks played six playoff teams which included the then-defending Stanley Cup champions (Colorado), the eventual champ (Vegas) and the Cup runner up (Florida).
The takeaway? The Blackhawks are starving for goals this season. Is this a concern? Could it be a team that just needs to find its legs? Or is it going to be a consistent issue all season long?
Blackhawks Goal Scoring By The Numbers
So how do things shake out? A quick look at things:
- In nine games, they’ve been shut out twice.
- The leading goal scorer is Connor Bedard, who has four goals.
- Last season, Chicago scored three or more goals in seven of its first nine games. They went 4-1-2 in that span.
- This season? Just four times. They’re 3-1 in those games, the only loss coming to Vegas in the home opener. They’re 1-5 when they don’t score at least three or more goals.
- The power play is a very poor 3 for 33, and ranked 31st in the league. The only team worse than Chicago’s 9.1% efficiency rate: St. Louis. Even the San Jose Sharks, who are winless at 0-9-1, have a 14.8% efficiency rate.
- Of the three power play goals, Bedard has two of them. Tyler Johnson has the other.
- A look at the Blackhawks’ expected goals at even strength per Natural Stat Trick doesn’t paint a pretty picture, either–although 15 of those 19 have been scored at even strength. Taylor Raddysh has the only short handed goal.
So what might help?
Two Cents To Tweak Goal Scoring Woes
A couple more points after nine games with 19 goals.
- Try Kevin Korchinski on the top power play line with Bedard. The tape-to-tape pass in Chicago’s lone goal on Monday was a thing of beauty–and something the Blackhawks should order more of. Though that was at even strength, having Korchinski quarterback the man advantage with Bedard seems to boast great potential.
- Lukas Reichel on the wing is the right call–but maybe he should be up one more line. Yes, I understand it concentrates much of the scoring on the top line. But Reichel needs to get going for more than just statistical reasons. The longer he goes without contributing to the offense, the more it gets into his head. I’ll die on this hill, but the psychological is just as power as the weight lifting and nutrition players do for their bodies. The mind is a powerful thing. Bedard is the straw that stirs the drink of the team–some time there could really help.
Maybe the Blackhawks find some good luck tonight. Perhaps it continues. But the first nine games saw some slippage in the back half of things. Similar struggles will make things a bit more troubling and possibly