The Golden Knights’ first round opponent is the Chicago Blackhawks. Despite being bolstered by multiple players who have hoisted three Stanley Cups, the Blackhawks are the youngest team remaining in the playoffs at an average age of 26 (VGK is nearly 29).
You probably know the names Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Corey Crawford but it’s guys like Kirby Dach, Adam Boqvist, and Dominik Kubalik who will have just as much impact on the series as the Hawks superstars.
With a little help (he literally wrote the whole thing) from Mario Tirabassi of the Blackhawks podcast “Mario on Hockey,” here’s a quick rundown of every player in Chicago’s lineup.
**Check out the latest episode of Mario on Hockey featuring me. Don’t worry, I picked VGK in 5 even on the Blackhawk centric podcast.**
Jonathan Toews – The player with possibly the most fitting nickname in all of hockey, “Captain Serious” has seen a rejuvenation in his game over the past two seasons and his performance in the Qualifying Round against the Oilers was a reminder that when the lights are brightest, the guy shows up.
Patrick Kane – Still one of the most talented players in the league offensively. Nearly on a 100-point pace during the regular season, much of the Blackhawks’ successes this season were because of him. He was “quiet” in the Qualifying Round with one goal and three assists, but still facilitated much of Chicago’s attack.
Kirby Dach – A rookie, technically, Dach has improved his game so much over the course of this season that he is now trusted with anchoring the Blackhawks’ second-line with Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat. His size, speed, and vision for the game are still developing, but he is quickly becoming a key factor for Chicago.
Alex DeBrincat – He didn’t record a goal during the Qualifying Round, but his shot is his most effective weapon in his arsenal. Has a habit of being invisible, not in a good way, at times. But when he’s on, he can cause problems.
Brandon Saad – His return to the Blackhawks over the past two-plus seasons has been a roller-coaster. Still counted on as a key player in all situations, Saad hasn’t shown consistently that he can be the game-breaker he showed during Chicago’s 2013 and 2015 Stanley Cup runs.
Dominik Kubalik – What a steal for Chicago. Acquired for a new soda machine and a bag of pucks, Kubalik has developed into a key piece to the Blackhawks’ success this season. He’s going to finish third in voting for the Calder Trophy, but his 30-goal season is nothing to scoff at. He’s dangerous on the powerplay with a cannon of a shot.