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Team Reset

Blackhawks make changes after first-round exit from playoffs

Saad returns after trade; Panarin, Hjalmarsson gone

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the Chicago Blackhawks:

Change was inevitable for the Chicago Blackhawks after they scored three goals in four games and were swept by the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference First Round.

The first major personnel change came June 21, and it was unwelcome. The Blackhawks announced forward Marian Hossa, 38, will miss this season because of side effects related to medication he must take to combat a progressive skin disorder.

The news on Hossa set in motion a series of trades and signings that have given the Blackhawks a makeover, albeit with two familiar faces who return to the city where they had their greatest achievements in hockey.

Here is what the Blackhawks look like today:

 

Key arrivals

Brandon Saad, F: The Blackhawks reacquired Saad, who won the Stanley Cup with them in 2013 and 2015, in a trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets on June 23. The 24-year-old, who was traded to Columbus on June 30, 2015, after playing his first four NHL seasons with Chicago, had 53 points (24 goals, 29 assists) in 82 games with the Blue Jackets last season. … Patrick Sharp, F: The 35-year-old returned to the Blackhawks on July 1, when he signed a one-year contract. He played the past two seasons with the Dallas Stars after 10 seasons with the Blackhawks, a stint that included Stanley Cup championships in 2010, 2013 and 2015. … Connor Murphy, D: The Blackhawks acquired Murphy in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on June 23. Murphy, 24, had 17 points, including an NHL career-high 15 assists, in 77 games with the Coyotes last season. … Anton Forsberg, G: Forsberg came to Chicago with Saad in the trade from the Blue Jackets. He is expected to back up Corey Crawford after signing a two-year contract June 26. … Lance Bouma, F: The 27-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Blackhawks on July 1. Bouma had seven points (three goals, four assists) in 61 games with the Calgary Flames last season. … Tommy Wingels, F: A native of the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, Illinois, Wingels, 29, signed a one-year contract with the Blackhawks on July 1. He had 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 73 games with the San Jose Sharks and Ottawa Senators last season. 

Video: Chicago Blackhawks make some changes this offseason

 

Key departures

Artemi Panarin, F: The 2016 Calder Trophy winner went to Columbus in the trade that brought Saad and Forsberg to Chicago. The 25-year-old had 74 points (31 goals, 43 assists) in 82 games last season. … Niklas Hjalmarsson, D: Chicago sent Hjalmarsson to Arizona in the trade that brought Murphy and center Laurent Dauphin to Chicago. He had 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) and a plus-12 rating in 82 games in 2016-17. During his 10 seasons in Chicago, he won the Stanley Cup three times. … Scott Darling, G: Chicago's backup goalie the past two seasons, Darling was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes on April 28. He was 18-5-5 with a 2.38 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in 32 games last season. … Marcus Kruger, C: Kruger was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights for future considerations on July 2. Vegas then traded him to Carolina on July 4. … Trevor van Riemsdyk, D: Van Riemsdyk was selected by Vegas in the NHL Expansion Draft on June 21, and then traded to Carolina the next day. 

 

On the cusp

Alex DeBrincat, F: A second-round pick (No. 39) in the 2016 NHL Draft, the 19-year-old had 127 points (65 goals, 62 assists) in 63 games with Erie of the Ontario Hockey League last season. DeBrincat had 332 points (167 goals, 165 assists) in 191 games in three seasons with Erie. … John Hayden, F: A third-round pick (No. 74) in the 2013 NHL Draft, Hayden, 22, had four points (one goal, three assists) in 12 games at the end of last season after turning pro following four seasons at Yale University. … Laurent Dauphin, F: The 22-year-old had three points (two goals, one assist) in 24 games with the Coyotes last season. … Jan Rutta, D: A 26-year-old from the Czech Republic, Rutta signed a one-year contract with Chicago on June 7. He had 32 points (eight goals, 24 assists) in 46 games with Pirati Chomutov of the Czech Extraliga last season.

 

What they still need

Cap space. The Blackhawks are $34,795 over the $75 million NHL salary cap, according to CapFriendly.com. Teams are allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent in the summer but must be cap compliant when they submit their final 23-man roster before the season starts. Hossa is expected to land on long-term injured reserve once the season begins. That would allow the Blackhawks to go above the salary cap by $5.275 million, which is his cap charge, and potentially allow them to re-sign defensemen Brian Campbell and Johnny Oduya, each an unrestricted free agent. Regardless, the Blackhawks need their young, less expensive players like forwards Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman, Tanner Kero and Hayden, as well as defensemen Michal Kempny and Rutta, to contribute. They need Forsberg to be a solid backup. And they need Saad and Sharp to step in and replace what Panarin and Hossa gave them last season, which was a combined 119 points (57 goals, 62 assists).

 

Pete Jensen's fantasy focus

Panarin could end up being a massive loss for the Blackhawks, but they have plenty of candidates to earn top-six forward roles and spots on the No. 1 power play. If one or both of Jonathan Toews' former linemates, Saad and Sharp, end up back on his line, look for Schmaltz potentially to have a breakout season on the top line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov. Schmaltz had 21 points (three goals, 18 assists) in his final 26 games last season in mostly a top-six role, and should be available late in drafts.

Video: Patrick Sharp discusses his return to the Blackhawks

 

Projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik

Patrick Sharp -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Ryan Hartman -- Nick Schmaltz -- John Hayden

Lance Bouma -- Tanner Kero -- Tommy Wingels

Duncan Keith -- Connor Murphy

Michal Kempny -- Brent Seabrook

Gustav Forsling -- Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Anton Forsberg

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