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BLACKHAWKS GM THINKS KEY YOUNGSTERS COULD SPEED UP REBUILD

The Chicago Blackhawks had been perennial contenders for almost 10 years before failing to make the playoffs in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. The core of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith led the way, and it was hard to imagine that this team could miss the playoffs. Although they did return to the playoffs through the NHL’s 24-team playoff format last season, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman confirmed a rebuild earlier this offseason.

"The biggest thing is going to be how quickly these young players that we're going to give opportunities to can seize the moment and show progress to the point where they're helping our team win on a regular basis," Bowman said Wednesday. "With some of these players, it's going to take a little bit longer for them to make that jump forward. If they do improve quickly, then I think it's going to help push our team up the standings quicker."

Just over a week after publishing a letter telling fans to be patient with the rebuild, Bowman has now come out to say that the young players in the organization have the chance to make this less of a rebuild than it needs to be. There are a few young players that already made impacts at the NHL level, which include Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist, but there are also other intriguing names coming up that need to make contributions.

Philipp Kurashev, Pius Suter, Matthew Highmore, and Ian Mitchell are all names that are being counted on to make an impact on the team in the immediate future.



"We saw that last year with young players, they all had flashes of really good play," Bowman said. "Now you have to figure out, can you do it night in and night out? That's what separates the talented players from guys we remember and talk about. Those guys are able to do it even when they're the focal point of the other team."

The Blackhawks are hoping to integrate the young players with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, and maybe even find a glimmer of those two stars in some of the youngsters trying to find their way into the NHL lineup. If the team can find them, then maybe the “rebuild” will not be nearly as painful as some fans are expecting.
BRENNEN BEAUDIN
OCTOBER 29, 2020  (13H28)
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