CHICAGO (WSCR) The Chicago Blackhawks stormed back from a 3-0 series deficit only to see their season end in overtime of Game 7 agaisnt the Vancouver Canucks.
As much as the loss might hurt and the season might have been a disappointment, Chicago will immediately turn its focus to getting back to where they want to be.
“You start turning the page right away,” former Blackhawk and current analyst Eddie Olczyk said on the Danny Mac Show. “As soon as your season is over, you’re down, you figure out ‘how did we get here? Why are we in this situation? And what do you do to fix it?’ And for the Blackhawks it’s about ‘how do we get back to where we were last year?’”
LISTEN: Eddie Olczyk On The Danny Mac Show
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Last season the Blackhawks were among a few Stanley Cup favorites who stayed at the top of the league from start to finish. This season, the Blackhawks backed their way into the playoffs after not taking care of business when they had a chance.
“How do you fix it? You look at the salary cap, you look at guys that are arbitration eligible, whether it’s Corey Crawford or Troy Brouwer or Chris Campoli,” Olczyk said. “I mean you have decisions to make. When you look at the players who have come in a made an impact on this team, you stole Michael Frolik from the Florida Panthers. Nick Leddy has come in and I think has grown each and every day, and experience, of playing on the backend.”
Although it won’t be as drastic as it was last season, Chicago will have to assess a number of players and weigh the value of their contracts towards the salary cap.
“This team is not going to settle for just getting to the playoffs and being one-and-done and being out in seven games agaisnt Vancouver,” Olczyk said. “They’re going to look to figure it out and there’s going to be some decisions to be made…You have Patrick Sharp’s contract coming up, after next season he’s an unrestricted free agent. There’s lots of decisions, but I still do like the makeup of this team.”
Through the regular season and their seven-game series with Vancouver, the Blackhawks showed that they have a good combination of youth (Ben Smith, Leddy, Crawford, etc) and established talent (Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, etc).
Now it’s just a matter of general manager Stan Bowman tweaking his lineup to meet his vision for this team’s future identity.