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3 Things To Be Optimistic About For The 2022-2023 Season


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Jared
May 24, 2022  (2:45 PM)
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With another disappointing season having come to an end, it is sometimes hard to remain optimistic about the future. Not so long ago, the talk surrounding the Blackhawks was always how many more cups could they squeeze out of the core. Now we are all left wondering what the future may hold for this storied franchise. As the franchise is about to enter an era of uncertainty, there are three big things to watch out for and remain optimistic about for the 2022-2023 season.

1. The development of Lukas Reichel

Lukas Reichel is by far the best prospect in the Blackhawks' pipeline. At only 20 years old, the former first round pick has already made a huge impact in Rockford, leading the team to the Calder Cup Playoffs. Reichel notched 21 goals and 46 assists in 56 games played, as well as 2 goals in 5 games for Rockford in the playoffs. Reichel had three separate stints with the Blackhawks this season, totaling 1 assist in 11 games. While the offensive production wasn't there at the NHL level, Reichel was doing everything right. He generated scoring chances with his quick speed and wasn't afraid to throw his body around to make a play. The sample size is small, but Reichel is currently projected to play most of the 2022-2023 season at the NHL level, which would give him an enormous opportunity to translate his production from Rockford. The Blackhawks already have a plan in place for Reichel's development, and have stated that they do not want to "rush him along", but with his skill and promise he showed at the NHL level, he will not be in Rockford much this season. Reichel is widely regarded as one of the future franchise stars of the Blackhawks, leaving this upcoming season as a great opportunity for us as fans to watch him develop into something special.
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2. The future defensive core
One thing the Blackhawks have done extremely well over the last few years has been drafting high upside defensemen. With the addition of Seth Jones, Connor Murphy's extension, and the uncertainty whether Calvin DeHaan will be brought back, there will be plenty of opportunities for the young defenseman to make a leap to the NHL. Four names to watch out for are Ian Mitchell (23 years old), Isak Phillips (20 years old), Alec Regula (21 years old), and Alex Vlasic (20 years old). The one player out of the four that is the most NHL ready is Ian Mitchell. There is no hiding the fact that Ian Mitchell's development was rushed along, not allowing him to fully develop his skill set before being thrown straight into the fire. When Mitchell signed with the Blackhawks April of 2020, he was praised for being an above average offensive minded defensemen. This past season in Rockford, Mitchell was working hard to sharpen up his defensive game. In Rockford, Mitchell scored 35 points (11 goals, 24 assists) in 57 games. Earning high praise from his coaching staff, Mitchell should get another shot to crack the lineup come training camp. While all of these defensemen are very young, the opportunity will be there for them all to prove that they belong.
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3. Alex DeBrincat
Alex DeBrincat has quietly turned himself into one of the best pure shooters in the league. As one of the bright spots from this previous season, DeBrincat matched a career high in goals (41) and set new career highs in assists (37) and points (78). DeBrincat played the majority of the season with Patrick Kane, showing off the impressive chemistry the two have developed. While DeBrincat may not be the biggest player on the ice, he is one of the most dangerous. DeBrincat has been steadily increasing his offensive production over the past 3 seasons, priming him for another career year in 2022-2023. With DeBrincat reportedly open to begin discussing a contract extension this summer, look for him to come into training camp and the season more fired up and motivated than ever.
While the Blackhawks may not be viewed as a contender and are considered one of the favorites to win the 2023 Draft Lottery, there will be plenty to remain optimistic about in the upcoming season and in the future. The door is wide open for prospects to show us all what they are made of and for the stars on this team to keep playing their game. This next season may not be great in terms of wins, but the pieces are all there to begin laying the framework for something truly special.
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3 Things To Be Optimistic About For The 2022-2023 Season

What are you most excited/optimistic about for the 2022-23 season?

Lukas Reichel4427.2 %
Young Defensemen3722.8 %
Alex DeBrincat8150 %
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