Sunday, September 24 2023

10 observations: Toews era ends, Hawks put a bow on season originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks fell to the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 in overtime at the United Center on Thursday in their season finale.

Here are 10 observations as we put a bow on the 2022-23 season:

1. The Blackhawks finished the season with a 26-49-7 record and 59 points. It’s the fewest points they’ve had in an 82-game season since the 2003-04 team registered 59 points.

2. Anaheim clinched the 32nd spot in the NHL standings, which means Chicago and Columbus is now fighting for the 31st spot. All eyes will be on the Blue Jackets on Friday. If they earn at least one point, the Blackhawks will have the second-best lottery odds. If they don’t, the Blackhawks will have the third-highest odds.

3. Jonathan Toews played in his last game with the Blackhawks after GM Kyle Davidson announced in the morning that he wouldn’t be re-signed. And he fittingly scored, which brought all 20,219 fans to their feet, and was able to give the crowd multiple salutes after the game. I’m glad he had that moment. He deserved it.

4. Overall, I thought this was a successful first season for head coach Luke Richardson. The Blackhawks were competitive in way more games than I expected them to be, despite what the record showed. He was a solid hire and laid a strong foundation going into Year 2.

5. The Blackhawks had eight double-digit goal scorers, which is two more than they had last season: Taylor Raddysh (20), Andreas Athanasiou (20), Max Domi (18), Patrick Kane (16), Jonathan Toews (15), Tyler Johnson (12), Seth Jones (12) and Sam Lafferty (10). Jason Dickinson and Philipp Kurashev each came close and finished with nine.

6. The Blackhawks finished with a team save percentage of .892, which ranked No. 22. Last season, their save percentage was .892, which was No. 28. An identical save percentage.

7. The Blackhawks finished 28th in power-play percentage (16.4) and 22nd in penalty-kill percentage (76.2). At times, the penalty kill was on a seriously good roll. The aggressive mindset definitely paid off.

8. Lukas Reichel took some real strides, as shown in his longest stint with the Blackhawks after the trade deadline. I think GM Kyle Davidson isn’t looking at next season as another “tank” opportunity, for lack of a better term, especially if they land a Top 2 pick. He will surround his younger players like Reichel with a stronger supporting cast I’d imagine.

9. Did this season fly by or was it just me? It felt like last week training camp started and we were wondering if Patrick Kane and/or Toews would be playing in their final seasons with the Blackhawks. Neither of them will be at camp next season, which is crazy to think about.

10. Writing 10 observations is something I look forward to every season. It gives me the best chance to encapsulate everything that happened within a game. Thanks for reading, as always!

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Source: Yahoo Sports


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