With the Chicago Blackhawks sporting a 24-33-10 record, it’s safe to say that they will not be in the playoffs this season. This was made even more apparent when general manager (GM) Kyle Davidson announced that the team was rebuilding and then traded several players away. Yet, fans should still be excited for the postseason, and there are a few teams Blackhawks fans should be rooting for.
Of every playoff team, Blackhawks fans should be cheering for the Minnesota Wild the most. That may seem strange as the two teams have been division rivals for years. However, the primary reason for this is a major component of the Marc-Andre Fleury trade.
In this trade deadline day swap, the Blackhawks acquired a conditional second-round pick in 2022 from the Wild, but it will become a first-round pick if Minnesota reaches the Western Conference Final and Fleury wins four games in the first two rounds. As Chicago enters their rebuild, landing another first-round pick would be a major win. This is especially true since they acquired the veteran goaltender from the Vegas Golden Knights for almost nothing.
It would also be nice to see the Wild succeed because of Fleury. Although the future Hall-of-Famer’s time as a Blackhawk was very short, he immediately became a fan favorite, and it’s very hard not to root for the 37-year-old. A fourth Stanley Cup championship would make his remarkable NHL resume even better. However, at a minimum, fans should be hoping that Minnesota makes it to the Western Conference Final.
Last summer, Duncan Keith requested a trade from the Blackhawks to be closer to his son, Colton. The 38-year-old was then moved to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Caleb Jones and a 2022 conditional third-round pick. This trade marked the end of the two-time Norris Trophy winner’s time in Chicago, and it is still strange to see him wear a different jersey.
The biggest reason why Blackhawks fans should be rooting for the Oilers is that the conditional third-round pick will become a second-round pick if the latter win three rounds in the postseason. However, given their goaltending issues, there is doubt that they will make it that far, but with superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, they shouldn’t be taken lightly, either. Furthermore, Keith will need to be at least fourth in ice time among their defensemen for the pick to change.
Although the Blackhawks have a lot going against them with the conditions of this pick, fans should still root for the Oilers because of Keith. He was part of the organization’s core for over a decade and a major reason for their three Stanley Cups in the 2010s. Truthfully, it would be hard not to cheer for him.
Although Ryan Carpenter was not as impactful on the Blackahwks as the two players above, it would be nice to see him win his first-ever Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames. The 31-year-old came close to winning it with the Golden Knights in 2018 but lost out to the Washington Capitals in the Final.
As a Blackhawk, Carpenter always played with a full effort. Although he never dominated the scoresheet, he was an effective penalty killer and never shied away from the physical side of the game. The Flames will love having him in their bottom-six once the playoffs come around, as he is built exactly for it.
For Carpenter, the Blackhawks received a 2024 fifth-round pick, and the Flames’ playoff success doesn’t impact this return at all. However, it’s still hard not to cheer for a former player like Carpenter.
Even if the Blackhawks are not going to be in the playoffs this season, there are many reasons to watch. The Wild should be the team Chicago fans should be cheering for, as that extra first-round pick would be fantastic for their rebuild. However, that doesn’t mean that Keith and Carpenter shouldn’t get some love from fans too. We can also root for Brandon Hagel, but it’s hard to cheer for the Tampa Bay Lightning overall as back-to-back Stanley Cup champs going for the three-peat.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.