The Chicago Blackhawks are a professional ice hockey organization based in Chicago, Illinois. They compete in the National Hockey League as a member of the league's Central Division in the Western Conference.
The Blackhawks have won six Stanley Cup championships since being founded in 1926. They are one of the "Original Six" NHL teams and the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Blackhawks saw their greatest success as a franchise last decade when they won three Stanley Cups in six seasons from 2010-2015, establishing themselves as one of the few NHL dynasties in the modern era. Future Hall of Famers Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith, along with head coach Joel Quenneville, revamped the hockey scene in Chicago after the team made the postseason just once from 1997-2007 under the ownership of Bill Wirtz. In September of 2007, Wirtz passed away after a brief battle with cancer, and he was succeeded by his son, Rocky, who made much-needed changes throughout the organization.
After losing to the rival Red Wings in the 2009 Western Conference Final, the Blackhawks went out. They landed arguably the biggest free-agent signing in Chicago Sports history before the 2009-10 regular season by signing forward Marian Hossa to a 12-year, $62.8 million contract. Hossa joined an incredibly talented young group in Chicago with Kane, Toews, Keith, & co. In their first season together, the Blackhawks ended a 49-year Stanley Cup drought following a 52-win regular season, the most in franchise history.
The Blackhawks lost in the first round of the playoffs in both of the next two years, but in 2012-13, they opened the lockout-shortened regular season with a run for the record books. Not only did the Blackhawks break the Anaheim Ducks' previous record of 16 consecutive games with a point to start the season, but they absolutely shattered it by extending the NHL record to 24 games. During the run, the Blackhawks also set a franchise record for most consecutive wins with 11. With a remarkable 36-7-5 record to finish the year, the Blackhawks won the NHL's President's Trophy for the best regular-season record and clinched home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. To top it off, they went on to win their second Stanley Cup in four years, but not without facing a little adversity. In the Western Conference Semifinals against the Red Wings, the Blackhawks overcame a 3-1 series deficit. They won Game 7 in overtime on a goal from defenseman Brent Seabrook that shook the United Center. The Blackhawks were also less than two minutes away from being forced to a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. Still, Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland heroically scored 17 seconds apart to turn a 2-1 deficit into a dramatic 3-2 victory.
In 2013-14, the Blackhawks came up one goal short of the Stanley Cup Final by losing to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 7 in the Western Conference Final (thanks a lot Nick Leddy). However, the team was primed to make yet another run for the Cup in 2014-15 and jumped out to a 30-15-2 record at the NHL All-Star break. Unfortunately, all their momentum was killed when Kane, the NHL leader in points at the time, suffered a gruesome shoulder injury in late February and was expected to miss the remainder of the regular season and most playoffs. The Blackhawks clawed their way to a 48-28-6 record down the stretch to qualify for the postseason, and miraculously, Kane recovered just in time to return for the beginning of their playoff run. With his help, the Blackhawks cruised through the opening two rounds with just two losses heading into the Western Conference Final against the Ducks. Anaheim, the top seed in the West, held a 3-2 series lead, but the Blackhawks rallied back to win Games 6 and 7 and advance to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Once again, the Blackhawks found themselves down in the series, but no deficit was too much for this core group to overcome. The Blackhawks took Games 4, 5, and 6 against Tampa Bay to win their third Stanley Cup in six seasons. Dynasty: Complete.
Recent Chicago Blackhawks News
Life post dynasty era for the Chicago Blackhawks has been difficult, to say the least. After winning 50 games during the 2016-17 regular season, the second-most in franchise history, the top-seeded Blackhawks were picked apart in the first round of the playoffs by the eighth-seeded Nashville Predators and have seemingly never recovered. Nashville won all four games of the series and held the Blackhawks to a mere three goals thanks to a pair of Pekka Rinne shutouts in Games 1 and 2. To make matters worse, the following offseason was a complete nightmare for Chicago. The Blackhawks revealed that long-time two-way stud Marian Hossa would likely be forced to retire due to a skin disorder. Then, Chicago's front office, led by general manager Stan Bowman, traded away stars Artemi Panarin and Niklas Hjalmarsson, which led to Quenneville infamously storming out of a team meeting in disbelief before the 2017 NHL Draft. Backup goaltender Scott Darling and valued penalty-killer Marcus Kruger were traded as well. At the same time, defensemen Brian Campbell retired, Johnny Oduya was not re-signed, and Trevor van Riemsdyk was lost in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft to the Vegas Golden Knights. Despite all the losses, the Blackhawks' biggest offseason additions were fourth-liners Tommy Wingels and Lance Bouma. Patrick Sharp was also brought back for a second stint following two mediocre years with the Dallas Stars, but the three-time Stanley Cup champion was a shell of himself at that point of his career. For the first time in well over a decade, things were not trending in the right direction for the Blackhawks organization.
To much surprise, the new-look Blackhawks got off to a solid start and were in the hunt for a playoff position near the midway point of the 2017-18 regular season. Kane was carrying his share of the load and then some, as always, and 2016 second-round pick Alex DeBrincat quickly burst onto the scene as a sharpshooter despite his smaller stature. Around Christmas time, though, veteran goaltender Corey Crawford suffered his first diagnosed concussion against the New Jersey Devils, which cost him -- and ultimately the Blackhawks -- the rest of the year. Without Crawford, they limped to a 33-39-10 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08. A new era of hockey had officially arrived in Chicago.
Much like a year prior, the Blackhawks' front office failed to give the core players adequate help during the offseason. Veterans Chris Kunitz and Cam Ward were brought in even though both players were at the end of their respected careers, and defenseman Brandon Manning lasted a whole 27 games in Chicago before Blackhawks fans were ready to chase him out of town (seriously, he was THAT bad). Even though the offseason acquisitions clearly were not enough to put the team in a position to compete for a playoff spot, the Blackhawks did the unthinkable by firing Quenneville, the second-winningest coach in NHL history, on November 6, 2018, following a five-game losing skid. Quenneville was replaced by Jeremy Colliton, who previously served as the head coach of the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, to become the youngest coach in the NHL at 33 years old. The Blackhawks also made a major change to their roster by trading former first-round pick Nick Schmaltz to the Arizona Coyotes to forward Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini. As expected, the Blackhawks struggled with all these changes and fell to the Western Conference's bottom by the NHL All-Star break. However, in the second half of the season, the Blackhawks found life behind strong play from Kane, DeBrincat, Erik Gustafsson, and the newly-acquired Strome. Their play carried the Blackhawks down the stretch, but unfortunately, they came up just six points short and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season. The only positive takeaway from that outcome is that the Blackhawks fortuitously landed the third overall selection in the 2019 NHL Draft at the NHL Draft Lottery and used the pick to select 18-year-old standout forward Kirby Dach. The last time the Blackhawks had the third pick in the NHL Draft was in 2006 when they selected their future captain in Toews. No pressure, Kirby.
For the first time in a couple of years, Bowman and the Blackhawks made some big-time moves during the 2019 offseason. The holes on defense were addressed with the additions of Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta, while scrappy forward Andrew Shaw was reacquired from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for draft picks to give the team some more grit. 2017 first-round pick Henri Jokiharju was also controversially traded to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for forwarding Alex Nylander, the eighth overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. Then, on the free agency opening day, Bowman signed 2018-19 Vezina Trophy finalist Robin Lehner to a one-year, $5 million contract to give the Blackhawks arguably the league's best tandem in net. Even after making all these moves, though, the Blackhawks still found themselves in the bottom third of the standings heading towards the All-Star break and were sellers at the trade deadline. They rebounded a bit in the second half due to a couple of winning streaks, and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Blackhawks were the 12th and final Western Conference team that qualified for the NHL's 24-team postseason with a 32-30-8 record through 70 games. The Blackhawks very likely would not have made the playoffs being seven points back of the final spot with 12 games remaining. Still, they were allowed to win a play-in series against the Edmonton Oilers because COVID-19 canceled the regular season's remainder. After splitting the first two games of the best-of-five series, the Blackhawks won Games 3 and 4 to advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs' first round. As a result of being the bottom-seed in the Western Conference, they drew the No. 1 seed Golden Knights in the opening round. The Blackhawks put up their best fight against a far-superior Vegas squad, but they were clearly outmatched and lost the series in five games. Because they won the play-in series against Edmonton, the Blackhawks missed out on a top-10 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, which frustrated many fans. While a top-10 pick would have been a pleasant addition in the future, gaining valuable playoff experience for key young players like Dach, Adam Boqvist, Dominik Kubalik, etc., should only help their game progress in the future.
2020 Blackhawks News
The 2020 offseason was a tough pill to swallow for A LOT of Blackhawks fans. After spending the past 17 years in the organization, Bowman announced that Crawford would not return to the team for another season with his contract expiring. The Blackhawks second-round pick in 2003 wound up signing with the New Jersey Devils in free agency and was reportedly 'devastated' that he did not re-sign in Chicago. Then, forward Brandon Saad was traded to the Colorado Avalanche without netting any draft picks or major prospects in return. While Nikita Zadorov is no slouch, he is a second-pairing defender at 25 years old that provides little to no offense. Bowman also elected not to bring back Drake Caggiula, the team's swiss army knife, and he traded Maatta to the Kings after a tremendous postseason as part of a straight salary cap dump. After all these moves, the tension surrounding the franchise could be cut with a knife. Not only were the Blackhawks' fans upset with the lack of direction from the organization, but the players were beginning to become frustrated as well. Toews, who rarely takes part in offseason interviews, took the time to sit down with The Athletic over the summer to voice his displeasure with the lack of communication between the players and the front office. After adding only a pair of young depth pieces in Lucas Wallmark and Mattias Janmark during free agency, the Blackhawks FINALLY came out publicly. They admitted that they are "committed to developing young players and rebuilding our roster." The word "rebuild" had been danced around since losing to Nashville in the 2017 playoffs. Bowman then went on a tour of podcasts to openly discuss the team's plans and answer any questions people may have about what is trying to be accomplished at the moment. With the 17th pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks selected German forward Lukas Reichel.
Who coaches the Chicago Blackhawks?
The Chicago Blackhawks currently have the youngest head coach in the NHL (35) in Jeremy Colton, and he was hired at the start of the 2018 season. Colton replaced Joel Quenneville, who won three Stanley Cup Championships in Chicago.
How long before the Blackhawks are competing for the Stanley Cup again?
After officially committing to the youth movement in October, the Blackhawks essentially threw in the white towel for 2020-21. The primary focus going forward is developing young players like Dach, Boqvist, Mitchell, Kubalik, etc.
How much longer do Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have in Chicago?
Both Kane and Toews are signed on with the Blackhawks for the next three seasons with an AAV of $10.5 million and a full no-movement clause. Even when those contracts expire after 2022-23, it is hard to imagine the Blackhawks letting either player walk.
What do the Blackhawks do with Brent Seabrook?
Seabrook has signed to arguably the worst contract in the NHL with an AAV of $6.88 million and a full no-movement clause for FOUR. MORE. YEARS. There is simply nothing the Blackhawks can do. Thanks, Stan.
Was letting Corey Crawford hit the free-agent market the right decision?
The Blackhawks likely could have brought 'Crow' back for another year or two, but that would have cost either Subban, Delia, or Lankinen a look this season, and that would have gone against the commitment to developing their youth group. If the Blackhawks are truly committing to a rebuild, then letting Crawford walk was the correct decision, as tough as it was to see happen.