Blackhawks

What the stats say about the newest Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

What the stats say about the newest Blackhawks

Olli Maatta

The 6’2” defenseman played 60 games for the Penguins in 2018-19; he missed a chunk of time in February-March with a separated shoulder. He played in 82 games the season before. Did you ever realize how many NHL players play at least 82 games (sometimes they play in 83 or 84 if they’re traded midseason due to imbalanced schedules) in a season? I took a look at the last five seasons, and I found it hard to believe.

NHL players appearing in at least 82 games (regular season)

2018-19:               106

2017-18:               103

2016-17:               99

2015-16:               85

2014-15:               85

In November 2014, Maatta had a cancerous tumor removed from his thyroid. The following two seasons, he won a pair of Stanley Cups, and the season after that he played a full 82 games. He has already amassed 69 career playoff games before his 25th birthday (he turns 25 in August). Already quite a tale of perseverance, he now heads to Chicago looking to add to his résumé .

Ryan Carpenter

Carpenter has 16 career goals… 2 against the Blackhawks (including one in 2018-19) and one each against 14 other teams.

Carpenter had a 52.6% faceoff win percentage in 2018-19. He brings that skill to the Blackhawks, who certainly need it. Outside of Jonathan Toews, they really struggled at the dot last season.

2018-19 Blackhawks faceoffs

                                                Faceoffs               Pct

Jonathan Toews               1,880                    56.3%

Everyone Else                   2,880                    45.0%       

Carpenter also had excellent puck possession numbers last season. His 5 on 5 Shot Attempt Pct was 57.84% - good for 7th in NHL among 540 skaters with 50+ games played. What this means is that when Carpenter was on the ice (in 5 on 5 situations), his team had 57.84% of the shots attempted, and therefore his team had the puck much more often than not. 15 Blackhawks played 50+ games last season, and only four of those 15 had a SAT% over 50%, with Brandon Saad leading the pack with 52.63%.

One last piece of trivia on Carpenter: no Florida-born player has ever appeared in a game for the Blackhawks.  Carpenter, born in Oviedo, Florida, will be the first.

Calvin de Haan

De Haan is one of 12 players who had a single regular season goal last season – with that goal being a game-winner. Olli Maatta & John Quenneville can also make that claim, and the Blackhawks added both of them as well. Consequently, de Haan’s goal was November 8 in Chicago against the Blackhawks.

He did score a goal in the playoffs as well, in Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 – a 2-1 loss vs Bruins.

Coming back to the 5 on 5 Shot Attempt Pct discussed in the Ryan Carpenter comments, de Haan was 37th in NHL among 540 skaters with 50+ games played with a 55.60 SAT% (13th among 174 defensemen). One of the key trademarks (perhaps THE key trademark) of the championship Blackhawks teams was puck possession. With Carpenter & de Haan, the Blackhawks have taken a step towards regaining that possession dominance.

De Haan was drafted 12th overall in 2009, and he will join Brendan Perlini (2014) as 12th overall picks on the Blackhawks. Blackhawks legend Marian Hossa was picked 12th overall in 1997.

Robin Lehner

Perhaps the most stunning addition of the offseason thus far was goalie Robin Lehner. The 27-year old posted a .930 save percentage this past season for the Islanders, 2nd in NHL among netminders with at least 30 games played, while his six shutouts tied for 4th. He was 3rd in Vezina voting. The last Blackhawks goalie to finish top-3 in Vezina voting was Ed Belfour (2nd) in 1994-95, though Corey Crawford probably should have been top-3 at least once (his closest finish was 5th in 2015-16).

Lehner’s .930 save percentage towers above Blackhawks goalies this past season

2018-19 Save Percentage

                                                Sv%        Shots Against

Robin Lehner                           .930        1,323

Corey Crawford                      .908        1,176

Collin Delia                             .908           545

Cam Ward                               .897        1,113

And his six shutouts were two more than the Blackhawks had in the last two seasons combined.

Shutouts                                                              Starts    Shutouts

Robin Lehner 2018-19                                               43           6

Blackhawks 2017-18 & 2018-19                              164         4             

One thing Lehner was particularly good at in 2018-19, that the Blackhawks were certainly NOT good at, was facing the Pacific Division. The Blackhawks were a dismal 6-13-5 against the Pacific, while Lehner went 8-3-1 with a 1.78 GAA and four shutouts.

Andrew Shaw

The scrappy forward returns to Chicago after three seasons with Montreal. He’s coming off a career-high 47 points despite playing only 63 games. He posted his first career hat trick on February 26 at Detroit. It seems like forever ago when Shaw scored a goal in his NHL debut back on January 5, 2012 at Philadelphia, but he’ll turn only 28 on July 20. Shaw is another player with solid puck possession numbers; his 52.28 SAT% would’ve ranked a close second on the Blackhawks to Brandon Saad’s 52.63%.  Speaking of Saad, the last time Shaw & Saad played a game as teammates was the Stanley Cup-clinching Game 6 of the 2015 Final back on June 15, 2015.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: An inside look at the Blackhawks Hockey Ops department with Senior VP Al MacIsaac

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: An inside look at the Blackhawks Hockey Ops department with Senior VP Al MacIsaac

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle catches up with Senior VP of Hockey Operations, Al MacIsaac. They discuss the process the Blackhawks took in transforming the roster this off-season. MacIsaac is entering his 20th year with the Blackhawks and talks about the organizational changes over the last two decades. He also weighs in on the role analytics plays in evaluating current or potential Blackhawks and he explains why the team made a commitment to make its new practice facility the “gold standard” of the NHL.

0:45 – MacIsaac on changes within the Blackhawks organization in the last 20 years

4:00 – How the Blackhawks have added great depth this summer

5:25 – A good problem to have with two good goaltenders

6:23 – How the hockey ops meeting went at the end of last season

8:45 – How much the Blackhawks use and rely on analytics

10:27 – The importance of the Blackhawks strength and conditioning programs

12:24 – The planning behind Fifth Third Arena’s development

14:40 – The dynamic between hockey ops and business ops

16:37 – Agreements and disagreements within the hockey ops group

18:32 – MacIsaac’s longtime relationship with Mark Bernard

20:27 – Looking ahead to training camp and the regular season

22:42 – Tough decisions will need to be made when the season starts

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Andrew Shaw on his career season in Montreal and adding toughness to Blackhawks

Andrew Shaw on his career season in Montreal and adding toughness to Blackhawks

Andrew Shaw had a terrific 2018-19 season with the Montreal Canadiens. He set a career high with 47 points (19 goals, 28 assists) despite missing 19 games due to injuries and averaged 15:55 of ice time, which was the highest of his NHL career.

When asked to explain why he believes he had the best offensive output of his career, Shaw pointed to one thing.

“Honestly I just think it was the hunger for the game," Shaw said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "I missed nine months with knee surgery and concussions. I battled back to get back to where I needed to be and just started having fun again. Maybe I’m bigger, stronger, older. I think I’ve been in situations in games so many times that you’re better at reacting to them so I think that maybe that has a little bit to do with it.”

The Blackhawks reacquired Shaw because they've lacked some jam in their game over the past couple seasons. And looking at the other moves GM Stan Bowman has made this summer, it's clear that's an area they prioritized.

Shaw noticed it too and he's excited to see how it'll all come together this coming season.

“I still have to be me," Shaw said. "I still have to go out there and work and compete and bring the energy I’ve always brought. I think it’s the intensity and the love of the game that pushes me to do that so I think it’s something that others feed off of. With a couple other guys they brought in, too, we got a little bit more grit, a little bit more defensive game. I think it’s going to be a really good year.”

Check out the interview in the video above.

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