Well, this isn’t exactly how we envisioned the Chicago Blackhawks season going when we explored their preseason in the fall. But, through 11 weeks of the NHL regular season, the team is sitting at 11-15-4 and hold the 7th spot in their division.
So no, it’s not going all too well. The defense has come with some question marks and a few key players have yet to hit their expected strides. And when it comes to the Chicago Blackhawks playoff odds, well, things could be better. Plus, don’t even get us started on the temporary league shutdown. We’ll dive into all of that and more in our year end recap of the Blackhawks!
How Are Things Going?
Honestly, not great. The guys opened their season 0-7-2, and didn’t manage to see their first win until November 1 against the Ottawa Senators. That slow start certainly didn’t help the Chicago Blackhawks playoff odds. After floundering for the first few weeks of the season, the team then fired head coach Jeremy Colliton and named Derek King as the interim replacement. After that move, things turned around a little bit as they went on to win 7 of their next 10 games under the new coach. But, after alternating wins and losses for the past month and a half, the NHL hit the pause button on the season.
Why did they do that? Well, like every recent major league sports season postponement in recent years, the NHL put a stop to games due to the Coronavirus. The Omicron variant, holiday season, and increase in outbreaks across many franchises all led to the league’s decision to shut it down on December 22. As of now, the plan is to return right away in the New Year, which means the Blackhawks next game is on New Year’s Day against the Predators.
Key Adjustments for 2022
Things will need to turn around quickly if the Chicago Blackhawks playoff odds are going to improve. It’s easy to point the finger at the offensive output or the defensive effort and say the team needs to do better there. Any team can say that. But when it comes to specifics, there’s one key player who should be looking to step their game up in 2022.
That player is our 20-year old center, Kirby Dach. Dach is in year three of his professional hockey career, and while he has shown flashes of brilliance and stick-handling finesse that reminds us of Kaner, the consistent production hasn’t been there. Through 30 games, he has 13 points on just five goals and eight assists. Dach recognizes that he isn’t quite reaching his potential yet, and has even said, “I just want to become the player that I know I am.” Now, we obviously want him to get to that point too, but it’s important to remember that Kirby Dach is only 20 years old. He’ll turn 21 on January 21 of next year. While we might not have seen all that he can be yet, he still has plenty of time in this season – and his career – to change that.
Chicago Blackhawks Playoff Odds and What’s Next
So what exactly are the Chicago Blackhawks playoff odds at this point? Well, according to Hockey Reference’s playoff probability calculator which simulates 1000 different outcomes for the rest of the NHL season, the Blackhawks currently have a 1.2% chance of sneaking into the postseason. That’s not great, but it’s also not zero. They’ll need to start winning some games early in 2022 to improve those odds.
And their first chance to start winning comes on January 1 in a road game against the Nashville Predators. After that, they’ll head back home to the United Center to face the Calgary Flames on the 2nd, and the Avalanche on the 4th.