Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Blackhawks Who Could Benefit from a Lockout
For the third time since he's assumed the role of Commissioner of the NHL, Gary Bettman faces another lockout.
The 1994-95 lockout cost the NHL 36 games, 104 days, and all cross-conference games. The league still managed a 48-game schedule and playoffs.
The more famous (or infamous) 2004-05 lockout lasted the entire season, as owners and players simply couldn't reach an agreement in time to salvage the season as they had ten years before.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement has again expired, and it could again damage or entirely wipe out another NHL season.
However, there are still some positive aspects, as some players in Chicago's system would benefit from a late start, or even an entirely lost season.
RW Marian Hossa
For months, any and every Blackhawks fan has wondered about the future of star winger Marian Hossa. The story of Raffi Torres's brutal hit on Hossa has been hashed and re-hashed plenty in the Chicago media.
While the general hope is that Hossa would be ready in time for a regularly scheduled opening day, he may require longer. With at least a delayed start, much like we saw in the NBA last season, Hossa would have extra time to get up to full strength with no pressure.
D Steve Montador
Much of the same can be said about Hossa and Montador. Both are dealing with injuries to the head, which cost them time late in the season. Montador missed 22 consecutive games last season.
This offseason, Montador's been balancing his training regiment with his work for the NHL Players' Association.
If healthy, Montador can still be a useful part of the Blackhawks' defense. Extra time to rest can't do anything but help in that regard.
G Corey Crawford
The 2010-11 season made it appear as though the five long seasons Corey Crawford spent in both Norfolk and Rockford of the AHL were worthwhile, as he seemingly emerged as a true starting-caliber goaltender that the Blackhawks could rely on for seasons to come.
As we all know by now, that didn't happen. A full-fledged lockout would likely mean that Crawford would take his trade to Europe. A season against lesser competition, and away from the scrutiny of the Chicago media would almost assuredly do wonders for Crow's psyche.
D Nick Leddy
In 2011-12, only three Blackhawks' defensemen posted a negative plus/minus rating on the season. One was rookie Dylan Olsen, who was a minus-five in 28 games. Another was 40-year-old Sean O'Donnell, who posted a minus-six in 51 games.
The final defenseman to finish with a minus was Nick Leddy, who went minus-12 in 82 games. Only Andrew Brunette was worse, at minus-13.
Like Crawford, a lockout would likely have Leddy go to Europe to play. The larger ice sheet would play to his strengths as a skill player, while forcing him to learn better angles to at least try to shut down opposing forwards. He'll never be a physical force like Brent Seabrook, but he can at least become effective in his zone.
LW Brandon Saad
Brandon Saad broke camp with the Blackhawks last season, and was Marian Hossa's replacement in the lineup during the playoff series with Phoenix.
There is some hope that he can become a full-time contributor for Chicago this season. However, he's still a raw product. A full season or partial lockout would help him greatly. The ceiling's sky-high for Saad, but every day he can spend still learning the sport, rather than trying to compete at the highest level, will only help in the long run.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!