The Chicago Blackhawks thought they could re-tool back to contention in 2021-22. That proved disastrous as the team lost its first nine games (0-7-2) and never recovered. Chicago then pulled a 180 this offseason and began selling off its best assets. Gone are the likes of top-scoring winger Alex DeBrincat and center Kirby Dach.
The Blackhawks also lost other key members like Dylan Strome, their second-line center, and backup goaltender Kevin Lankinen. As such, the NHL odds have Chicago back as one of the worst teams in the NHL. Even with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, Chicago will be fighting Arizona for the best NHL Lottery odds.
This team will be worth following closer to the NHL trade deadline as Chicago is likely to be a major seller. The question is where Kane and Toews, who have expiring deals, will end up. You can likely bet online on it later.
Chicago Blackhawks Odds
- To win Stanley Cup: +25000
- To win Western Conference: +12500
- To win Central Division: +25000
- To make playoffs: Yes +1100 / No -5000
Player to Watch
The obvious answer here is either Kane or Toews. The two are future Hall of Famers and most teams would get in line for a chance to have either one helping their Stanley Cup run. However, newly acquired Andreas Athanasiou bears mentioning. Chicago signed the 28-year-old to a one-year deal and is putting him on the top line with Max Domi and Kane.
Athanasiou is a former 30-goal scorer with the Detroit Red Wings in 2018-19. He has struggled since then and has been in both Edmonton and Los Angeles with mixed results. But if he can recapture some of his success and become a potent goal scorer, he will become a valuable asset for Chicago.
- Player to Watch: LW Andreas Athanasiou
Alex Vlasic was one of the few bright spots for Chicago last season. The 21-year-old defenseman was drafted 43rd overall by Chicago in 2019 and is slated to play on the top pairing with Seth Jones. While Vlasic only had two points in 15 games last season, his advanced analytics show that he was one of the better skaters on the ice.
With Vlasic on the ice, Chicago’s shooting percentage went up to 10.2 percent while the team’s expected plus-minus logged at 1.7, the third-best. Vlasic has plenty of work to do on the defensive end. But as an offensive defenseman, he could help improve Chicago’s 29th-ranked offense while quarterbacking its power play.
- Breakout Watch: D Alex Vlasic
The days of Chicago being a legitimate Stanley Cup contender have been over for well over five seasons. But the team has finally accepted that and Chicago is pivoting toward a new era. Kane and Toews will continue to produce as they await what could be a blockbuster deal with a real contender.
As for the rest of the team, the Blackhawks have enough young talent to build around. Vlasic could be one of their best defensemen in the future while the likes of Taylor Raddysh and Lukas Reichel are building blocks.
Chicago will almost always be an underdog on the online sports betting lines. This team is expected to only get around 65½ points, which is no more than 33 wins. Still, Chicago will find ways to pull off upsets. Bettors will just need to pick their spots and wait for a line worth playing.