Almost everyone who follows the NHL knows of the names Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. They are the two, young stars of the Chicago Blackhawks. A duo that was said to bring a new beginning to the Blackhawks organization.
It's true that Toews and Kane were huge aspects to the Hawks revival but, as in every championship team, there are players that make just as big as an impact and get overlooked.
Now that most of the players are gone from the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship team, productivity from the overlooked players is now more important than ever.
Four players besides Toews and Kane had 20 or more goals in the 2009-10 season. Compare that to last season when there were only two other players with 20 or more goals. The offensive production was down in almost every player on the team, including Kane.
Toews and Kane can add some explosive offense to the team, but they can't do it all.
There's one thing that Kane and Toews, for the most part, can't impact: defense. In that championship year, the Hawks had the best defense in the NHL. Fast forward to the next season, and that has changed dramatically.
Why such the drastic change when the team still had Kane and Toews?
Because, while Toews can play some defense (and Kane can't), success relies on their defensive starters showing up to play as well.
One such player that didn't show up was Duncan Keith. Keith saw a 24-point decrease last season compared to the 2009-10 season, but more alarmingly he saw a 22-point decrease in his plus/minus rating.
Brent Seabrook, Keith's defensive partner, also saw a decrease of 20 points in his plus/minus rating.
One thing was certain: the Hawks' defense was not as effective as the 09-10 season and it killed their chances of any run.
Teams need those grinders that give them that extra push and energy that can lift a whole team. Andrew Ladd, Adam Burish and Dustin Byfuglien, to name a few, were just those players for the Hawks in 09-10.
All three of those players are now gone, but no one took their roles. Hawk fans soon found out the consequences of losing and not replacing those guys, and now many are praying/wishing for a return of Ladd.
Truthfully, a championship isn't a one or two-man show, it's a team effort. Everyone has a role on the team, and not fulfilling that role can seriously harm a team.
With the new dismantling of some players who were there in 09-10, many fans are worrying because this all seems so familiar.
Hopefully the management has learned their lesson as well.
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