It’s official: the 2022-23 Chicago Blackhawks will not be competing in the playoffs in April.
A conclusion that every Blackhawks fan had accepted months ago was made official on Saturday when they lost 4-2 to the Arizona Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets picked up an overtime win against the Predators. This year marks the third consecutive season where the Blackhawks will not be seen in the postseason.
With the loss to the Coyotes, the Blackhawks solidified their position in the cellar of the Western Central Division, with 11 fewer points than Arizona. They also have the third-fewest points in the entire NHL (54), behind only the Sharks (52) and Blue Jackets (49).
While fan bases of most teams would see the elimination of their favorite team from contention as a disappointing time, Blackhawks fans don’t mind at all. With every loss, they inch closer to landing a generational talent in either Connor Bedard or Adam Fantilli. With 11 draft picks in the 2023 Draft alone, it’s easy to look toward next year. However, it’s worth noting that the Blackhawks are already working toward something great with what they currently have.
Luke Richardson has been a perfect fit in Chicago since being named head coach on June 27. To quantify his success, one just needs to look at the players he has available. The majority of fans couldn’t name more than two or three. But the Blackhawks have still had far more success than one would expect with this roster, and Richardson is a major part of why. He has this ragtag bunch hustling, playing fast and hard, and working well together.
The most obvious “good thing” the Blackhawks have gotten even in a lost season would be their prospect pool. Players like Lukas Reichel, Kevin Korchinski, and Cole Guttman headline a group of young players that is among the best in the league. Cole Guttman wasn’t drafted by Chicago, but he made his NHL debut there this year and didn’t take long to prove himself, despite recently being shut down for the season for shoulder surgery. Perhaps the best all-around prospect in the Blackhawks’ system is Reichel, who was voted by Chicago scouts as the team’s fastest skater, best hands, best hockey sense, and purest scorer. Korchinski is the top defensive prospect on the team, and while he has yet to make his NHL debut, has shown flashes and will likely be a key piece of the team moving forward.
What Went Wrong?
In most seasons and for most teams, a conversation about a team being officially eliminated from playoff contention would start with the question, “What went wrong?”. The answer for this Blackhawks team, despite sitting at 24-39-6, is nothing. It’s obvious that the 2021-22 edition of this team, with all of its star power, wasn’t the right fit and was the cause of Chicago’s current position.
This year, however, it seems for now as if they’re playing their situation perfectly. They’re in the midst of a major rebuild, and currently building back up through the draft and their current prospects. While this season officially won’t result in a playoff appearance for the Blackhawks, at this rate, even next year might.
The season is lost if they keep winning.
Richardson was probably hired 1 yr too early. Mrazek & Stalock are due to get injured again. Hawks need to get that first pick. No one is gonna trade them that pick. Connor Bedard is too generational to give up. Need to lose more games