The Blackhawks knew before the season opened on the 13th. January against the Tampa Bay Lightning that the year 2021 would be tough.

Corey Crawford was not the starting goalie for the first time in 10 years, Kirby Dack needed surgery after breaking his wrist during the World Junior Championships, Alexander Nylander underwent knee surgery that will likely keep him sidelined this season, and captain Jonathan Toews was absent during training camp and has not played this season due to undisclosed medical issues.

After ten games, the Blackhawks have a record of 3-4-3. Getting 9 points out of a possible 20 isn’t a very high percentage, but in the first season after the franchise finally admitted it’s in rebuilding mode, it’s important to look beyond the record.

Attacking class

Good: C+

The Blackhawks scored 26 goals this season, an average of 2.6 per game. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Patrick Kane leads the team in goals (four), assists (six) and points (ten) after ten games. Dylan Strome won in the absence of Toews and Dach, scoring a record six points, including five in extra time.

The surprising signings were those of free agent Matthias Janmark and newcomers Pius Suter and Filip Kurashev. Janmark played for the Blackhawks and scored six points this season. He has a knack for getting the shuffleboard into the corners and ending up at the net. Dinner was great too. His four goals lead all NHL recruits. Finally, Kurashev has scored three goals himself and seems to play at his best when he has time with experienced players. He fought hard and his future is bright.

Photo : AP Photo/Nam I. Ha.

Of the 26 goals scored, only 15 were of equal strength, but fortunately the power play is first-rate in the league. The Blackhawks currently rank sixth in the NHL with a 33.3% success rate. Dylan Strom and Dominic Kubalik each have five points on the game, while Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat have four. Unfortunately, the power play gained steam late and only one of their final nine tries could be converted.

The Blackhawks have scored two goals or less in six of their 10 games and will need to find a way to score more for the rest of the season.

Defence Class

Good: C+

It’s all relative, isn’t it? The Blackhawks have scored the fourth most goals in the NHL over the past three seasons (759). It’s been a problem for a while now, and head coach Jeremy Colliton has struggled to establish a new defensive system, and seems to be the boss on the bench every year.

After ten games, the Blackhawks have allowed an average of 30 goals per game. There were times this season when the Blackhawks looked structurally sound. Players are keeping their opponents out and defending the slot better than in the past. However, there are still blunders in their game, and they have embarrassed themselves more than once this season.

All eyes were on the blue Ian Mitchell for the start of the season. The former Denver University captain competed in every game and averaged 14:04 minutes on the ice. His score of -5 is the worst on the team, but overall his play was solid. He is a very cool player for a starting defender and has shown the ability to slow the game down, making clean passes on the break.

The highlight of the Blackhawks defense early in the season was the play of Connor Murphy. In his fourth season in Chicago, Murphy is finally showing that he is a truly top-notch defender. His average time on the ice of 23:08 minutes is just eight seconds behind Duncan Keith at the top of the team. He also scored two goals and three assists in his first ten games.

Goalkeeper category

Good: A-

The most frustrating part of the Blackhawks’ preseason programming is now the most reliable. Malcolm Subban and Collin Delia have each started two games, but neither has won yet. Subban’s protection percentage is 0.889, and Delia’s is even worse.

Go to Kevin Lankinen.

After scoring five goals in his NHL debut against the Florida Panthers, Lankinen never stopped being a great player. He has a 3-1-2 record with a remarkable 1.97 goals against average and a save percentage of .937, which ranks him fifth in the NHL. His play kept the Blackhawks in games that didn’t concern them, and he’s solid in the starting role.

Where Blackhawks rookie Kevin Lankinen ranks among goalies with at least five starts, according to @NatStatTrick :

– The goal is mediocre: 1,97 (2)
– Percentage of savings : .937 (1)
– Targets are maintained above average : 6.18 (1)
– GSAA goals at risk : 4,31 (3)
– Risk objectives saved % : .882 (5)

– Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 1, 2021

Anticipatory

The Blackhawks will need to build on the positive results of the first ten games as the season progresses. They need to find a way to generate more attack power, while the power play needs to return to its starting point. Defensively, the Blackhawks have gotten better overall, but they need to find a way to reduce the number of bad mistakes that their opponents take advantage of.

Yes, there will be 46 long games until the end of the season. There will be good nights and terrible losses, but it’s important for the Blackhawks to be competitive and give themselves a chance in every game.

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