**Rating system for “Plus/Minus” Series**
+3 = Major Upgrade
+2 = Upgrade
+1 = Slight Upgrade
0 = Same as prior year
-1 = Slight Dowgrade
-2 = Downgrade
-3 = Major Downgrade
Team: Chicago Blackhawks
2010-11: 97 points, #8 in Western Conference
Returning: Corey Crawford
Arrivals: Alexander Salak
Departures: Marty Turco
This grade is more about how bad Turco was last year, rather than how good I expect Salak to be.
Returning: Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Nick Leddy, John Scott
Arrivals: Steve Montador, Sean O’Donnell, Sami Lepisto
Departures: Brian Campbell, Chris Campoli, Jordan Hendry
People rip on Brian Campbell all the time, but lets remember that he put up 27 points in 65 games, boasted a +28 plus/minus rating, and averaged close to 23 minutes per game. Chicago added depth on the blueline, but they will struggle to replace Campbell.
Returning: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Michael Frolik, Bryan Bickell, Viktor Stalberg
Arrivals: Andrew Brunette, Rostislav Olesz, Dan Carcillo, Jamal Mayers, Marcus Kruger, Ben Smith
Departures: Troy Brouwer, Tomas Kopecky, Jake Dowell, Fernando Pisani, Ryan Johnson
Losing Brouwer hurts, but the Hawks did a very good job adding depth to their top 3 lines, and adding some size and nastiness to their fourth line. The key for Chicago is how quickly their top forward prospects (like Morin, Beach, McNeil, Hayes and Pirri) become NHL ready.
OVERALL RATING: -2
2011-12 Prediction: #6-#8 in Western Conference
The Hawks will still be a playoff team this year. They had an off year in 2010-11 because of all the trades they needed to make in the offseason, but I expect that they will be a dangerous team in 2011-12 and beyond.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.