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Mid Season Audit: How Have Blackhawks Predictions Measured Up?

Some hit, some miss. But some of the answers to the preseason questions don’t have favorable answers

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The Chicago Blackhawks are at the midpoint of the season, with a record of . But at the beginning of the season, CHN had a few predictions and will add a few more thoughts in the end. Here’s a look at what was predicted and in what has been.

Blackhawks Season Win Total Prediction Range: 24-29
Projected Points Range: 55-67

Current Wins: 12 (Projected: 24)
Current Points: 26 (Projected: 52

Right on the money, for the purposes of prediction with wins. They’re graded out to be worse than the range predicted. Injury depleted lineups tend to have that effect.

But here’s what’s interesting: the Blackhawks have won games they had no business on paper winning, starting with Sunday’s 4-3 win over Calgary. Then, there were close games they lost simply because they didn’t have the depth or skill to compete. The Blackhawks are neck and neck with the San Jose Sharks right now for who’s going to end up first in the lottery. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to get that top pick (last year didn’t work out that way), but it guarantees a top three selection.

Season MVP Prediction: Connor Bedard
Hit or Miss: Hit–but there’s another to consider

There’s no doubt that Bedard has been the Blackhawks MVP. But it’s been the play of Petr Mrazek that has kept the Blackhawks in games while also earning them 10 of their 12 wins. Mrazek has been the goalie the Maple Leafs hoped for before shipping him to the Blackhawks with a first round pick. 

Maybe that’s the MVP reasoning right there?

Other Blackhawks Questions from October

  1. Can Bedard truly strap the team onto his back like Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, and Auston Matthews can?
  2. Who are the young defensemen that can provide depth for years to come?
  3. Can Arvid Soderblom be the goalie the Blackhawks think he is?
  4. Is Lukas Reichel going to be the top six forward Chicago hopes for?

#1 is a resounding yes. Simply put, imagine what he could do with a roster o7that has more threats on it. Before his injury, Bedard was inching closer to a point-per-game pace.

#2 is undoubtedly Kevin Korchinski, who has been everything the Blackhawks could have hoped for. Yes, he’ll need to clean things up but he’s 19. Alex Vlasic has slotted in as a very dependable defenseman, too, who gives the Blackhawks another sub 23-year-old on the blue line.

Wyatt Kaiser has shuffled back and forth for no other reason than he needs more time to steady his game. Isaak Phillips has had ups and downs, but if his skating improves, it will make some of the instincts he has even more dangerous.

#3: Can Arvid Soderblom be the goalie the Blackhawks think he is?

It started out well but has been a bit of a struggle for the young goalie. He rebounded a bit in his last start, but it’s been similar returns as it was a season earlier–a long string of losses with a handful of goals he’d like back. To be fair, Chicago hasn’t exactly given him a lot of goal support, but truly judging Soderblom’s performance doesn’t seem fair until there’s a more stable group in front of him.

#4: Is Lukas Reichel going to be the top six forward Chicago hopes for?

So far? No. Reichel’s struggles have been a major source of debate amongst fans, pundits, you name it. The same kid who looked confident, fast, and having a bag of tricks while on the ice has looked frustrated, snakebitten, and sometimes, slow. He started the season at center, and now one has to wonder if that made him more hesitant and less aggressive.

There have been times where Reichel looks like he’s dancing with the puck on the ice–then others where it appears they’re dancing around him.

There’s a future article coming that says it’s still early to give up on him. But there’s no doubt that concerns revolving around him are not wrong, either.

Five Second Half Questions

  1.  What should the Blackhawks be looking for at the trade deadline?
  2. Should Jason Dickinson get a contract extension?
  3. What about Petr Mrazek?
  4. What does success look like at the end of the season?
  5. Which young players should get a cup of coffee?

These will be answered tomorrow.

Three More Predictions

  1. Connor Bedard still puts himself in the position to win the Calder
  2. The Blackhawks finish top two for lottery consideration
  3. Colton Dach gets a cup of coffee and turns some heads

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