I looked at every Chicago Blackhawk player and how they performed in terms of shot differential in every game they played this season. From this, you can attempt to determine if a certain player is trending up or down, notice a funk or hot streak, and see how effective each player has been.
We start with the teams shot +/- to see how they have performed in each game.
In the first 20-games, Chicago was pretty good besides a five game swoon from games 10-14. In their past twenty games, Chicago has been inconsistent. They have had many negative games where the opponent has out-shot them.
For those who don’t know, here is a quick lesson on what shot +/- is. Shot differential or Shot +/- is simply the number of shots for vs shots against when a player is on the ice.
EXAMPLE: If Michal Kempny is on the ice during a game for 15 Chicago shots and 5 St Louis shots, then he would have a (+10) shot +/-. Chicago out-shot St Louis by 10 shots when Michal Kempny was on the ice.
Michal Kempny had an amazing start to his NHL career. He had one negative game in his first 19 NHL games. That’s a very impressive start for the former KHL defenseman. Unfortunately, Coach Quenneville started scratching Kempny after game 18. Whether he was injured or not, inconsistent playing time led to some poor play in games 20-24.
Duncan Keith is usually better than this.
Forsling started the season playing horribly. He was a negative in 18 of his first 26 games. He has a positive shot +/- in four of his last five games. He looks like he could be trending up, and has been paired with Trevor Van Riemsdyk during the uptick in performance.
Seabrook was impressive to start the season. The Kempny – Seabrook pairing was one of the best in the league. Then Quenneville split them up and started scratching Kempny. Seabrook has been a disaster ever since, not being able to find his groove with other defensemen.
Hjalmarsson has been alright this season.
Like Kempny, Trevor Van Riemsdyk struggled early on when he received inconsistent playing time due partly to injury. Once he was able to consistently play, he has performed quite well.
His career numbers are also quite good. He’s not flashy, so he fails most people’s “eye test”, and he performed horribly in 400 minutes playing his off side in a 2nd pairing role with Brent Seabrook last season. Besides that small chunk of poor play, TVR has been a solid contributor, and Chicago outshoot’s opponents with him on the ice. He isn’t a puck mover or offensive defenseman that wows people. Instead, he’s a solid, third pairing, defensive defenseman.
Rozsival is a 7th defenseman. Five positive games and five negative games. Moving on.
Panarin had a great start to the season. The Panarin – Anisimov – Hossa line dominated shot totals. Panarin’s last five games give the appearance of a slump and aren’t up to his usual standards. This also coincides with the Blackhawks losing four of their last five games. Still, a really great season by Panarin.
Anisimov has performed well this season.
One can see when Kane was paired with Toews, because that line was atrocious. I’m talking one of the worst lines in the league bad. How is it that two $10.5M players can form one of the leagues worst lines statistically? Either way, all those negative game are from the Nuclear option that ended in a meltdown.
Ryan Hartman has performed well this season. He was mostly a positive while playing in a bottom-6 role. Looks like he’s adjusting to his new role of being on the top line, as better competition has resulted in him being a negative more often than not lately. Still, he looks good and has probably outperformed most people’s expectations of him for this season.
It’s often hard to project prospects as the public has limited data available. The simplest way is to look at how often a player is scoring, the league they are in, and their age. He didn’t really wow people in Rockford last season, scoring 35-points in 61-games. The one positive about Hartman that I remember is that fact that he led the Rockford Icehogs last season in shots on goal per game.
He’s currently on pace to score around 30 points this season. This is important as Chicago lost Teravainen and Shaw who were both 30-35 point scorers. At the beginning of the season, I wondered who would replace that production as Chicago only really added rookie forwards. Someone had to step up, and it looks like that someone is Hartman.
Hinostroza is kind of like Hartman. He played well in the bottom-6 early on. Now that he’s in a top line role, playing against tougher competition, there has been an adjustment period.
Hinostroza is another guy that could be a key to replace Teravainen and Shaw’s production. Most thought it would be the college kids Schmaltz and Motte that would contribute the most, but it looks like the NCAA guys still need to adjust to the NHL game. The Rockford Icehog rookies have been the most impressive.
Hossa was really good on a line with Panarin and Anisimov. He has been inconsistent ever since. His line mates haven’t really been consistent. He played with Hartman and Hinostroza for some time, bounced around with Toews and whoever plays on the left-wing. It will be interesting to see if things balance out once he gets healthy and playing on a consistent line.
Kruger has been running hot and cold. He’s gone on great three game runs followed by three game stinkers.
Rasmussen has been very inconsistent. Hot and Cold like Kruger.
Panik has also been inconsistent. I guess this could be a theme as we start looking at the bottom-6 forwards.
Andrew Desjardins is not an NHL level forward, at least not in the high pace, high skill era we are currently in.
Jordin Tootoo has exceeded the very low expectation that I had for him.
Tyler Motte needs a stint in Rockford. Maybe he can go down when Schmaltz comes back up.
Nick Schmaltz looks okay, but he had a really bad five game stretch that led to his demotion.
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