While there may be talk of finishing the 2019-20 season for the NHL, no one really knows how that will all pan out. One thing we do know is the COVID-19 pandemic has left us all sorely missing hockey. So while we wait for some sort of resolution or closure, let’s look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ first 70 games by the numbers. Here are your statistical leaders in several different categories.
Kane Is Mr. Showtime
The man dubbed Mr. Showtime ran away with a many top honors this season, to absolutely no one’s surprise.
Most Goals: Patrick Kane (33 goals)
Kane led the team in goals just as he does almost every season. In 2017-18 he was usurped by Alex DeBrincat, who scored 28 goals to Kane’s 27. Before that one must go all the way back to the 2014-15 season, where Jonathan Toews won the scoring title instead of Kane. Toews also tallied 28 goals and to Kane’s 27.
Related – Blackhawks’ Top-20 Goal Scorers All-Time
This season it was Dominik Kubalik who came in second place to Kane, with an impressive 30 goals in his rookie campaign. Brandon Saad was third with 21 goals.
Most Assists: Kane (51 assists)
Continuing the trend, Kane also tallied the most assists. And yes, this happens almost every season as well. As a matter of fact, he’s been the leader in this department for the past five seasons. In 2014-15 Marian Hossa had him beat with 39 assists and Toews came in second with 38 helpers. Kane was in third place with 37 assists.
This season it was Toews in second place with 42 helpers, nine less than Kane. DeBrincat placed third with 27 assists.
Most Points: Kane (84 points)
Enough already! I think it’s safe to say Kane is a key offensive contributor for the Blackhawks. Once again, one must go back five seasons for a time when Kane wasn’t the leader in points. In 2014-15 Toews won with 66 points, and Kane came in second with 64 points. This season Toews had second-place honors with 60 points, and Kubalik was third with 46 points. But even Toews’ final tally was was 24 points less than Kane, who continues to find ways to produce year after year.
Most Shots on Goal: Kane (275 shots)
Kane’s 275 shots on goal averaged just under four shots per game. He boasted 68 more shots than second place DeBrincat, who was credited with 207 shots. Toews was third place with 172 shots.
Most Time on Ice: Kane (1493:51 minutes)
Wait, what? Isn’t a defenseman supposed to have the most TOI? It’s true Duncan Keith led the team by averaging 24:23 minutes of ice time per game, while Kane averaged 21:20 minutes. But Kane played in all 70 contests compared to Keith’s 61, pushing his all-around ice time over the workhorse blueliner.
Head coach Jeremy Colliton leaned heavily on Kane this season, double shifting him and often letting him stay out on the power play for the full two minutes. As you can see from the numbers above, Kane was up to the challenge.
The Blackhawks’ captain might not be as dynamic as he used to be, but he still leaves quite the mark on this team. Here are some of his top accomplishments this season.
Top Faceoff Percentage: Toews (57.3%)
Toews took 1494 faceoffs this season, which is second only to Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blues league-wide. Of all players taking 1000 faceoffs or more, his 57.3% ranks fourth in the league.
On the Blackhawks, Ryan Carpenter was second after Toews with only 610 faceoffs. And his faceoff win percentage was much lower at 43.1%. David Kampf was second in faceoff wins at 52.3%, and third in number of draws with 598. And Dylan Strome took 581 draws for a 47.7% in faceoff wins.
These numbers put things in some perspective. The Blackhawks would be in a world of hurt without Toews dominating at the dot.
Most Takeaways: Toews (58)
The Blackhawks’ captain was also credited with the most takeaways on the team. Kane came in second with 43, and Keith third with 42 takeaways.
Most Overtime Goals: Toews (3)
Toews is also almost always the starter in overtime, and for good reason. Not only can he win the draw and gain possession in a 3-on-3 situation, but he has a knack for coming up clutch with the overtime goal. Kane and DeBrincat each followed Toews with one OT tally this season.
Most Penalties: Toews (23)
Yeah, this statistic isn’t so good. Penalties are inevitable, especially when you’re on the ice so much and play with the kind of intensity needed to win. But Toews could work on curbing this number for next season. For further reference, defenseman Slater Koekkoek took 17 penalties, and Kane had 16.
Special Teams Specialties
Overall, the Blackhawks power play was another disappointment this season, ranking 28th in the league with a meager 15.2% success rate. Their penalty kill, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise at 9th in the league with an 82.1% success rate. Here are the individuals who thrived on special teams.
Most Power Play Goals: DeBrincat (10)
While DeBrincat had trouble scoring in 5-on-5 play this season, he was the leader on the man advantage. For most of the season Coach Colliton utilized DeBrincat and Kane as a one-two punch on the first power play unit.
Incidentally, Kane tallied eight PP goals, and Kubalik had four.
Most Power Play Points: Kane (23)
Kane runs away with yet another top statistic. The dynamic right winger’s eight PP goals and team-leading 15 PP assists added up to the most points on the man advantage. DeBrincat was second with 16 points, and Keith came in third with 11 points.
Shorthanded Goals: Saad (2)
Not only is Saad a leader in 5-on-5 play, but he puts in the dirty work on the penalty kill as well. It’s always fun to watch this power forward score a goal, especially in a shorthanded situation.
Toews, Kampf, Carpenter and Zack Smith all tallied one shorthanded goal this season. Carpenter led the team with three points while on the penalty kill (one goal, two assists).
Let’s give some love to the Blackhawks’ defenseman and their contributions this season.
Defenseman with the most goals: Erik Gustafsson (6)
Gustafsson is known for his offensive impact on the game. As a matter of fact, he wowed the league with an unprecedented 17 goals, 43 assists, and 60 points in the 2018-19 season. Unfortunately he’s not so well known for his defensive abilities, which is kind of an important part of being a defenseman.
This deficiency was a contributing factor in his being dealt to the Calgary Flames at the most recent trade deadline. Nevertheless, Gustafsson takes home this honor with six goals in his 59 games with the Blackhawks. Blueliner Connor Murphy came in second with five goals in 58 games.
Defenseman with the most assists: Keith (24)
Keith only scored three goals, but his 24 assists were the most of any defenseman and fifth on the team overall. Gustafsson was the runner-up with 20 helpers, and Murphy had 14.
Defenseman with the most points: Keith (27)
This one goes to Keith as well. Not bad for a 36-year-old and the oldest player on the team!
Gustafsson had 26 points in his tenure, and Murphy was third with 19 points.
Blackhawk with the Most Hits: Murphy (128)
The leader in this statistic is invariably a defenseman, and it holds true in this case for the Blackhawks. Murphy also accomplished this in just 58 games, where Olli Maatta came in second with 119 hits in 65 games. Carpenter, a forward, was third place with 117 hits in 69 games.
Blackhawk with the Most Blocked Shots: Murphy (138)
Once again, the leader here is usually a defenseman. I established in a recent article that Murphy was one of the few players to show improvement in production from last season. Here’s another positive number to back up his value to the team.
Keith was second place with 117 blocked shots, and Maatta came in third with 110 blocked shots.
Other Noteworthy Blackhawks’ Numbers
Best Shooting Percentage: Kubalik (19.11%)
The Czech rookie was recognized above for his 30 goals, which was second on the team to Kane and first in the league among rookies. But he also had the highest shooting percentage, which is certainly encouraging for his continued development and for the Blackhawks’ future.
Kubalik was fourth on the team with 157 shots on goal. Just keep shooting kid; the odds are in your favor!
Game-Winning Goals (5-on-5): Saad (5)
That’s a pretty sweet stat for Saader. The most game-winning goals, above and beyond both Toews and Kane. Interestingly, Kane was tied with Kampf, Strome, and Kirby Dach with two game-winning goals. DeBrincat had four, and Toews and Kubalik both had three game-winning goals.
Most Hits Taken: Dach (191)
Ugh, this isn’t something you want to see. Welcome to the NHL kid! As we all know, Dach was the third overall pick in the 2019 NHL draft. He’s obviously a very skilled player with a high ceiling. But continuing this trend of constantly getting hit could affect his long-term durability.
Obviously, opponents want to see what he’s made of. Dach isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas and take the hits. But hopefully as he gains more experience he will also learn how to avoid so much contact.
Defensemen Maatta and Murphy came in second and third in this department, with 165 and 156 hits taken, respectively.
Many of these statistical leaders aren’t much of a surprise for the Blackhawks. It’s interesting to see how the core of Kane, Toews, Keith, and even Saad still lead the way for this franchise. But newer players, such as DeBrincat, Murphy and Kubalik are making their way into the conversation.
Only time will tell who can continue to be on top of the leaderboard. And who will emerge in the future. Finding a better balance will be key for next season and beyond.