This past Tuesday marked the 10-year anniversary of the Chicago Blackhawks raising the Stanley Cup for the first time in 49 long years. Yes June 9 of 2010 was a pretty special day in Chicago. Well, in Philadelphia to be exact. Patrick Kane scored the championship goal that nobody saw, and the rest is history. The Blackhawks went on to win the Cup again in 2013 and 2015, earning them the right to be called a modern-day dynasty.
Seven core players were along for the ride all three times. They are the only players in Blackhawks’ history to claim this honor. Little did we know it at the time, but that first championship was the beginning of their legacy.
As we commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Blackhawks’ 2010 Cup win, we also celebrate these seven integral players and what they brought to the table in 2010 and beyond.
Keith was the first to enter onto the scene. The young defenseman was chosen by the Blackhawks in the second round of the 2002 draft, 54th overall. He started with the league in the 2005-06 season, and quickly became recognized as a staple on the blue line.
While not the largest of stature at 6-foot-1, 192 pounds, Keith was best known for his excellent physical conditioning and ability to eat up heavy minutes on the ice. Not only was he an excellent defender, but he could contribute offensively as well.
In the 2009-10 regular season, Keith earned the Norris Trophy for best defenseman in the NHL. In the playoffs, he contributed two goals and 15 assists. But most importantly, he led the team with an average of 28:11 minutes of ice time per game and tied defensive partner Brent Seabrook with 51 blocked shots.
Oh, and there were those seven teeth he lost in the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks.
Keith went on to win the Norris Trophy again in 2014, and the Conn Smythe Trophy for most valuable player when the Blackhawks won the Cup in 2015. On the verge of turning 37 years old, he’s still considered one of the Blackhawks’ top defensemen to this day.
Keith and Seabrook will be forever tied together, as they made up the Blackhawks’ top defensive pairing for many years. Seabrook was drafted one year after Keith in 2003. He was selected by the Blackhawks in the first round, 14th overall. Like Keith, he started his NHL career in the 2005-06 season.
In the 2010 playoffs, Seabrook notched four goals and seven assists in 22 games while on the top pairing with Keith. He also was second on the team with 81 hits (Dustin Byfuglien was first with 99 hits).
While Seabrook might not have the same notoriety as Keith as a stalwart defenseman, he has a knack for scoring clutch postseason goals. He’s currently tied for second place (along with Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks) among active defensemen with 20 playoff goals.
Seabrook underwent right shoulder surgery and two hip surgeries early in 2020, but is expected back for the 2020-21 season.
On Dec. 5, 2005, forward Patrick Sharp was traded to the Blackhawks from the Philadelphia Flyers. “We addressed a need we had for speed and skill in getting Sharp,” said then general manager Dale Tallon. “Sharp is a good skater and a solid two-way player who fits into our plans for the future.”
Boy did he ever fit in. He lit it up in Chicago, becoming known as a goal-scoring sniper. When the 2010 playoffs came around, Sharpy was ready for the challenge. He scored 11 goals (tied for first with Byfugien) and added 11 assists. His three power play goals and one game-winning goal certainly helped the Blackhawks win the Cup, and it must’ve been nice to do it against his former team.
While Sharp was an important part of the Blackhawks winning the Cup in 2013 and 2015, he never put up the kind of numbers he achieved in that golden 2010 championship. He hung up his skates in 2018, but currently enjoys a second career as a hockey analyst for NBC Sports.
The Blackhawks had Keith, Seabrook and Sharp in the fold, but they needed a few more pieces to find sustained success. Enter Jonathan Toews, who was chosen third overall in the 2006 NHL draft. Do we really need to elaborate here? Toews was born a leader.
He started with the Blackhawks in the 2007-08 season and hit the ground running. He finished as the runner-up for the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year, and was named captain of the team the following season.
Toews’ 2010 playoff stats are impressive. He led the team with 29 points. Of seven goals, three of them were game-winning-goals. He scored his second career hat-trick in the Conference semi-finals against the Vancouver Canucks. All in all, he added 22 assists, 32 takeaways, and won 60.2% of his faceoffs. He was awarded the Conn Smythe for MVP of the playoffs for his efforts.
This was only the beginning of Toews’ earning a reputation as one of the top two-way players in the game. As a matter of fact, he earned the Selke Trophy in 2013 as the best defensive forward in the league. On top of his elite all-around hockey skills, there’s no denying Toews’ leadership skills are second to none.
As if Toews wasn’t enough, the Blackhawks drafted Patrick Kane in the 2007 draft at first overall. The two have gone on to become the modern-day faces of the franchise for the Blackhawks.
But unlike Toews and his heavy two-way play, Kane is a pure finesse player. From the very beginning he wowed fans with his elite stick-handling, vision, and highlight reel plays. It was Kane that won that Calder Trophy instead of Toews in their rookie 2007-08 season.
Kane contributed 10 goals and 18 assists in the 2010 playoffs. And of course there was that famous championship-winning goal.
This dynamic right-winger has gone on to win the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2013, and the Art Ross, Ted Lindsay, and Hart Memorial Trophy in 2016. He is consistently one of the highest scorers for the Blackhawks every season, with no signs of slowing down.
Ah, all these kids needed a veteran presence. Another piece was needed to make this team unstoppable, and that came in the form of Marian Hossa.
Hossa was already 31 years old and a 11-year NHL veteran when he joined the Blackhawks in the 2009-10 season. Like every hockey player, he was thirsty for the Cup. But the Slovakian winger had been much closer to it than most.
In the 2007-08 season Hossa was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who lost in the Cup Final to the Detroit Red Wings. Hossa actually signed with those same Red Wings for the 2008-09 season. He was hopeful they could repeat as champions for a second consecutive year. Well, they did make it to the Final; but lost to the Penguins. Oh, the irony!
So when Hossa went to the Final with the Blackhawks in the 2009-10 season, it was his third consecutive appearance. Was he a jinx?
Related – Hossa’s Case for the Hockey Hall of Fame
Well in hindsight we all know he definitely was NOT a jinx. Hossa notched three goals and 15 points in the 2010 playoffs, and led by example with his incredible work ethic and professional demeanor. He did all the little things right, and the younger players looked up to him and tried to emulate him.
Aw shucks! Let’s relive Hossa’s overtime game-winning goal against the Nashville Predators in the first round of the playoffs.
Little did Hossa know when he was frustrated with his quest for the Cup that he would actually raise it three times?! While Hossa’s playing days were cut short in 2017 due to a progressive skin condition, rumor has it he could eventually re-join the Blackhawks’ organization in some capacity.
Ah, but wait! There’s one more Blackhawks’ player who has won three Cups in this modern-day era. He doesn’t get a whole lot of recognition, but once you say his name he gets an awful lot of respect.
Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was just getting his feet wet in the NHL in the 2009-10 season. He played in some games in the previous two seasons, but this was his first full season with the Blackhawks.
Even as a third pairing defenseman, Hjalmarsson averaged a healthy 21:01 minutes of ice time in the 2010 playoffs. He contributed a goal and eight assists offensively, but his bread and butter was about keeping the puck out of his own net. He blocked 54 shots throughout the postseason run, which was tied with fellow defenseman Brent Sopel for a team high.
Hjalmarsson went on become an extremely reliable and dependable shutdown defenseman for many more years with the Blackhawks. He earned a reputation of being a warrior on the ice, willing to sacrifice his body to stop the puck at all costs. And although getting hit by a flying rubber mallet can be incredibly painful, this guy rarely missed a shift.
Unfortunately, Hjalmarsson was a salary cap casualty after the 2016-17 season. He was traded to the Arizona Coyotes where he still plays, and stops pucks, today.
Each of these seven core players was integral to the success of the Blackhawks, and a part of winning three championships in six years. While some are still playing, others have moved on. But we will always remember them for their legacy, which started 10 years ago with the 2010 Stanley Cup win.
All statistics courtesy of Hockey-Reference.com