NHL Power Rankings Week One: Capitals, Lightning, Predators, And Ducks Are Favorites

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Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: #8 – Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks are the reigning Stanley Cup champions. They underwent a bunch of changes over this offseason and are a completely different team than the one that won the Stanley Cup.

STRENGTHS: The Hawks still have their elite core of players. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will lead their first two forward lines. Toews is one of the best two-way centers in the league. Kane is one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league. Marian Hossa is such a good player who is often overlooked. It’s a shame that he’s never won a Selke Trophy. Duncan Keith continues to amaze me and is the best defenseman in the NHL (in my opinion). Corey Crawford isn’t elite, but he’s pretty gosh darn good and he has two Stanley Cups.

Their coaching is top notch. So is their front office. I’m not sure which one of the two makes the other one look better. That tends to be the case in the NHL. Either your coaching makes your FO look good or your FO makes your coach look good. Perhaps they just work together so flawlessly that neither one is the strongest. The Brent Seabrook contract is going to get ugly in a few years, but for now, it’s fine.

WEAKNESSES: The Hawks lost a lot of leadership and talent. I’m confused as to why they decided to keep Seabrook over Brandon Saad. They got a good return for Saad. Marko Dano shouldn’t be in the AHL for long. The guy who they’re going to miss the most? Patrick Sharp.

As excellent of a coach as Coach Q is, his reliance on veterans is a bit concerning. The Hawks are going to have a younger team this year. He has to trust his young players or they aren’t going to have a chance of repeating. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt because he’s so smart.

OUTLOOK: A down year for the Hawks likely means a first or second round exit. Teams wish they could be THAT spoiled.

Next: #7