The Chicago Blackhawks took on the St. Louis Blues on the road Saturday, Feb. 12. Unfortunately, the fact that the game happened is the best news that can come of this match, and even then, it is debatable whether the game happening is good news.
The Blackhawks were utterly dismantled against the Blues. The Hawks managed to put up a measly 16 shots on goal throughout the game. No one could provide offensive support, and defense was even less present than the forwards. However, while this game was atrocious, there are some key takeaways that this game has made evident for the Blackhawks.
Fleury Receives No Support
Marc-Andre Fleury has been one of the only bright spots for the Blackhawks in a dismal year. He has managed to maintain a .910 save percentage despite many goals against him in numerous games. Obviously, he is far from the problem.
It seemed like this offseason was spent trying to buff the defense. The trade for Seth Jones and the signing of Jake McCabe seemed like moves towards a better defensive core. Unfortunately, it seems like the moves have largely backfired. While Jones is putting up points, the defense is failing to complete their primary objective: defense.
This game represented how totally outmanned the defense is. The Blues ran laps around the defensemen. However, playing defense has to be a job of the forwards as well. In this outing, the forwards provided some support, but not enough. Fleury was left out to dry once again. Seeing him represent a different jersey by the end of the season is starting to become more and more likely.
Strome Continues to Prove Doubters Wrong
Dylan Strome had the only goal against the Blues. He has been putting up points left and right as of late. Other forwards had reasonable attempts at scoring, but Strome was the only one who could capitalize.
After Strome was benched for most of Colliton’s coaching time this season, he had a lot to prove to Derek King. Not only has Strome met expectations, but he has also exceeded them as of late. As the rest of the Blackhawks struggle to net goals, he has been the one bright spot of the Blackhawks.
With Strome’s contract approaching its end soon, he is making an excellent argument for an extension with the Blackhawks. Of course, his recent performance could also warrant a decent return at the trade deadline. Strome has many questions surrounding him, and those questions will have to be answered sooner rather than later.
The Blackhawks take on the Winnipeg Jets Monday, Feb. 14. It seems like playoff hopes are entirely out the window, so the focus now is on what the Blackhawks will do at the trade deadline. Only time will tell what their plans will be. As of now, however, the future is not looking exceptionally bright.