Chicago Blackhawks 2016-17 NHL season preview –

September 30, 2016, 11:00 AM

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  September 30, 2016, 11:00 AM

As we approach the 2016-17 season, we’re previewing what’s ahead for each of the 30 NHL teams. Here’s what’s on deck for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Forward Artem Anisimov has successful wrist surgery

Defenceman Michal Kempny lured away from the KHL

Chicago trades Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to Carolina for draft picks

Blackhawks trade Andrew Shaw to Montreal for draft picks

Sign defenceman Brian Campbell to one-year contract

Artemi Panarin wins Calder Trophy

Patrick Kane wins Hart Trophy as league MVP

Head coach: Joel Quenneville
GM: Stan Bowman
Team payroll: $70.6 million ($73 million salary cap)

2015-16 Record: 47-26-9 (Third in Central)
GF: 235 (9th in NHL)
GA: 209 (10th in NHL)
Result: Lost in first round to St. Louis, 4-3

Key acquisitions: Jordin Tootoo, Brian Campbell, Michal Kempny

Key departures: Andrew Shaw, Christian Ehrhoff, Teuvo Teravainen, Andrew Ladd, Bryan Bickell

Rookies to watch: Vincent Hinostroza may not have carried the ball and run with it in his seven-game sniff with the Blackhawks last season, but there’s reason to believe there’s room up front for the talented centre who had two great seasons at Notre Dame before joining the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs last season and scoring 18 goals and 33 assists in 66 games.

Watch out for forward Nick Schmaltz, who signed an entry-level contract after notching a 46-point season with the University of North Dakota.

Though he’s not technically a rookie at age 26, defenceman Michal Kempny will likely take his first strides in the NHL this season. He was a fixture on Team Czech Republic’s blue line at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. If Kempny doesn’t play for the Blackhawks, he has a clause in his contract that stipulates he returns to the KHL.

He can only be sent to the AHL on a conditioning stint.

Chicago will have a successful season if…
The primary offence can deliver. Andrew Shaw was a considerable loss. Andrew Ladd, too. Teuvo Teravainen was traded to Carolina without an NHL player coming back to the Hawks.

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin, Marian Hossa and Artem Anisimov are going to have to be the ones who get Chelsea Dagger singing at the United Center. The good thing is that this team has always been able to find productive and cheap depth production so there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic they’ll find it again.

Chicago will have an unsuccessful season if…
Defenceman Duncan Keith goes down for an extended period of time.

He missed the World Cup with a knee injury and there’s no guarantee he’ll be healthy enough to go on opening night of the regular season.

Keith is the backbone of the offence and the defence. He’s also been healthy as an ox for the majority of his career, appearing in 833 games and missing only 33 due to injury.

The Blackhawks haven’t had to live life without Keith for any extended period of time, and with the players they lost up front this is not the season for them to find out what that would be like.

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