The 10 Players That Led the Chicago Blackhawks to the Finals
The Chicago Blackhawks seismic shift in the power rankings of the NHL from the joke of the league to the Western Conference Champions has been a sight to behold.
Many factors have aided the victory seen in the United Center as the 'Hawks swept the high-powered San Jose Sharks out of the playoffs. The rise and success of the team can be attributed to many people.
The ownership of Rocky Wirtz revitalized a dormant franchise from obscurity. The promotional and marketing genius of President John McDonough has brought a sense of excitement to the organization.
Along with the efforts of team decision-makers such as past general manager Dale Tallon (recently appointed GM of Flordia Panthers) along with this year's team architect GM Stan Bowman; along with his father legend and adviser Scotty Bowman.
And, of course Joel Quenneville the coach of the team who has built of the success of his predecessor Denis Savard who brought the team along with the young talent that I will discuss in my list.
All these factors do not include the most important factor that has led the team to the finals: the on-ice talent.
Here are the top 10 players that have gotten the 'Hawks to this point.
No. 10 Martin Havlat
The only current non-Blackhawks player to make the list.
Was one of the first semi-big names to come to the team after the lockout in 2005. Decided to resign with the team the following year and at times showed his masterful scoring abilities.
Unfortunate that his lasting memory among Blackhawks fans was of him being "knocked out" by Niklas Kronwall of Detroit in the '09 West Finals. But, for most, it will be the exciting goal to send a game into overtime vs the Flames, and a goal 12 seconds into overtime to win it.
"Marty" was replaced in a sense by Marian Hossa, but his contributions to the 'Hawks will not be soon forgotten.
No. 9 Niklas Hjamarsson
Niklas Hjamarsson, a young defensemen from Sweden, makes the list.
His speed, finesse, and unheralded toughness have made him one of the rising defensemen in the entire world.
He was surprisingly passed over for a spot on the Swedish National Team in the Olympics; which he was not very pleased with.
However, he took the time off to become one of the stalwart players for the Blackhawks in 2010.
He seemingly never makes mistakes and is a threat from the point anytime he is given the puck.
No. 8 Patrick Sharp
One of the best goal scorers on the Blackhawks... Patrick Sharp.
On a team full of 22- and 23-year-old veterans, this 29 year old who is in the prime of his playing career may seem ancient. However, since he came to the Blackhawks he has gotten better and better.
A one time fledgling minor league player who never got a real chance with the Philadelphia Flyers may get a chance to get the ultimate revenge on the Philly Faithful in the Cup Finals.
His future with the team is uncertain after this season, but he continues to be a big-time playmaker on the ice.
No. 7 Dave Bolland
Nothing makes a organization happier than seeing a player who came through the system have success on the highest level.
That is what Dave Bolland has done. From the Rockford Icehogs, the minor league affiliate of the Blackhawks; Bolland has emerged as a reliable second line center who is valuable at winning big face offs.
After battling injury throughout the '09-10 campaign, he battled throughout the playoffs with the leagues best including Joe Thornton and the Sedins.
His silent and un-superstaresque persona coupled with his constant threat of big play ability have made him a fan-favorite in Hawks Nation.
No. 6 Brent Seabrook
Brent Seabrook may still be young, but being one of the veterans on the Blackhawks; he will and should be one of the first to hoist the Cup if they do win it.
A gold medal winning defensemen with size, speed, and a heavy shot; has become a threat in all areas of the game.
His ability to not only score points, but also get power forwards out of goalies ways has become an asset of real value.
No. 5 Patrick Kane
No. 4 Dustin Byfuglien
A few short years ago no one knew how to pronounce his last name...
Now, everyone does.
This former defensemen with a heat seeking missile for a shot moved back and forth this year, and now is a established power forward.
One analyst compared his unyielding and unstoppable play to Shaquille O'Neal in the post in his hey-day.
That is a lofty comparison, but most would say it is apt.
In these playoffs it is hard to make a argument that any one player has made the impact Dustin Byfuglien has.
No. 3 Duncan Keith
Duncan Keith is by many accounts the best defensemen alive today.
This Canadian gold medalist and Michigan State former player has all the tools to be one of the best at his position among the likes of Bobby Orr.
His outstanding attitude along with his limitless ability gives him the leg up for years to come.
He also is a finalist for the Norris Trophy for best defensemen.
I'm one who would send a vote his way...
No. 2 Antti Niemi
No. 1 Jonathan Toews