Oct 30, 2015; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks forward Artem Anisimov (15) celebrates his goal with teammates during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
6. Chicago Blackhawks
Previous Rank: –
October Record: 6-5-0
The Chicago Blackhawks currently rank ninth in the league in goals against, at 24. So, the defense is doing a decent job, despite Duncan Keith’s injury that will keep him out of the lineup for at least three more weeks. It is no secret that the Western Conference teams like to play good defensive hockey (even the Anaheim Ducks, 29th in the league, only have 27 goals against), and when your team is one of the ones that do it best, the winning chances are usually good. The problem here: Chicago is only average in Corsi Against per 60, and goaltender Corey Crawford is the one occasionally saving the day.
Patrick Sharp left for Dallas, Brandon Saad is a Blue Jacket — and the Blackhawks get to feel the full impact early in the season. While the defense may be working, the offense that still features star players Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, is struggling. After 11 games this season, the team has scored 24 goals, making their goal differential even. If the reigning Stanley Cup Champions want to get back to the top, the offense must raise their production level.
In our preseason Central Division power ranking, the Blackhawks owned the No. 1 spot. That has changed, but it could change back quickly. It may be a long way to the top, but for this team, nothing but the playoffs would be acceptable. The roster’s quality is nowhere near last season’s, thanks to Kane’s and Toews’ contracts, but it still has enough quality to play better than they are right now.
Next: #5 - Minnesota Wild