Blackhawks News & Rumours: Strome, Toews, Delia, Söderblom

It’s safe to say that the Chicago Blackhawks have made streaking a theme of their 2021-22 campaign. They began 2022 by losing their sixth straight, only to win their next four, then lose the four that followed. After beating the Detroit Red Wings this past Wednesday, perhaps a string of a few more wins are in their near future.

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Regardless of what to expect of their results on any given night, what we can safely presume at the mid-way point in Chicago’s year is that they won’t achieve at the level they set out to this season. What still can be accomplished, though, is continued development and progress.

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This edition of Blackhawks News & Rumours will get you caught up in the meantime, before any future streak steers your attention elsewhere.

Strome Achieves First-Ever NHL Hat Trick

There’s no denying that Dylan Strome has struggled to produce in the same way he was able to when he first landed in Chicago, having accumulated 51 points in the 58 games that remained during that 2018-19 season. Despite the fact that he hasn’t been able to regain that type of pace, there’s no denying his top-end skill.

Dylan Strome, Chicago Blackhawks
Dylan Strome, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Although his production has been rather inconsistent since he broke into the league in 2016-17, he’s a former third overall pick for a reason.

A smart, good skating, center who can not only make  plays but can finish them also. Reads the play so very well and he gets himself into positions where he can take advantage and be a threat. He’s multi-dimensional in that he can play two-ways, can play a skill game, can play a ‘heavy’ game but regardless of the situations he plays a game where he contributes in some way, some fashion.

All of which has been more readily displayed when he’s been put in positions that have leveraged his talents rather than attempted to force different attributes out of him. So it should come as no surprise to see Strome scoring more when he’s given the minutes and linemates to encourage such results.

Spending the majority of his 17:00 on Wednesday lined up with Patrick Kane, along with a couple of power-play minutes that also involved Alex DeBrincat, Strome scored his first-ever NHL hat trick.

Regardless of any lacklustre output through recent seasons, it’s still surprising that this is only the first time the 24-year-old has achieved the feat. He is a former CHL (Canadian Hockey League) top scorer, after all.

That he’s finding some much-needed momentum will certainly work to Strome’s advantage, while also benefiting the Blackhawks all the while. It seems more than evident that the club is prepared to move the forward, so elevating his play is doing the same for his trade value.

Toews Enters Concussion Protocol

After an extremely uneventful start to his season, Jonathan Toews seemed to be finding his groove heading into the new year. Outside of a few performances that he’d surely like to forget, Toews has been winning faceoffs at a dominant rate and putting some points on the board. He’s closer to doing what’s expected of him than he was when the year began.

Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Unfortunately, that progression has been halted for the time being as Toews will not be playing in Friday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Although no further details have been confirmed regarding the injury and what may have sidelined Toews, Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Sports Chicago isolated the following clip from Wednesday’s contest against the Red Wings as a potential cause.

Every ailment should be treated in as serious of a manner as is required to encourage a full recovery, but head injuries certainly demand an elevated focus.

That this isn’t the first time Toews is having to deal with this type of scenario makes it that much more apparent that his health deserves all the attention at the moment, while hockey takes its rightful place on the back burner.

Delia & Söderblom Swap Spots for Chicago

Collin Delia was far from impressive in his only game with the Blackhawks thus far throughout 2021-22. In fact, he was pulled after allowing three goals on the seven he faced in that Jan. 1 contest against the Nashville Predators. Although Arvid Söderblom played better in relief, the Predators notched three more en route to their 6-1 victory.

That said, it’s not as though the team in front of either netminder had done much to support their efforts. An important factor to consider, when it comes to offering a chance at redemption.

Söderblom has made his way into additional NHL action since, but Delia has yet to. Fortunately, that hasn’t affected Delia’s ability to remain focused in the minors, as he has done his part for the Rockford IceHogs in the meantime.

The two have recently swapped spots, as Delia is back in Chicago while Söderblom reunites with their Rockford teammates. With Delia now on their active roster, it only makes sense for the Blackhawks to give him a more suitable opportunity to succeed.

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Even if Delia isn’t part of their future plans at this point, letting him showcase his skill set works to his and the franchise’s advantage. Especially if they want to extract any value while they still can before his contract expires at the end of the season.

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