Dale Money | January 20th, 2020
We have hit 2020 and with the turn of the new decade, we here at The Scorecrow are putting together our All-Decade teams for each franchise. So who made the All-Decade team for the Chicago Blackhawks? Let’s take a look.
The All-Decade team consists of a full team of skaters; four forward lines, three defensive lines, and two goaltenders. My criteria for choosing who made the team is a mixture of historical significance and statistical performance.
*The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013, and 2015
Patrick Kane, Right Wing
Chosen first overall by the Blackhawks back in the 2007 entry draft, Kane has been the face of the franchise arguably since he put on a club jersey. In Kane’s first season with the Hawks, he would play all 82 games contributing 72 points earning himself the Calder Trophy. Kane has since earned himself seven all-star appearances, Ted Lindsay Award, and a Hart Trophy. He would finish the decade out with the most combined points and is seventh on Chicago’s all-time games played list with 940.
Jonathan Toews, Center
The Robin to Kane’s Batman, Toews has been a consummate professional throughout his 13 years in Chicago. Still one of the best all-around centers in the game, just like a Duracell battery he keeps going. Since his rookie season in 2007, Toews has consistently produced and in fact, last season. He would set a new record for points scored with 81 points.
Toews would win his one and only Conn Smythe trophy in 2010 and is ranked sixth in Blackhawks all-time playoff scoring with 110 points in 128 games. He is ninth all-time in games played with 920.
Patrick Sharp, Left Wing
Sharp was a core member of all three of Chicago’s Stanley Cup victories, coming over from the Philadelphia Flyers in 2005, and staying on with the Blackhawks for eleven straight seasons in which he would play 749 games and finish 15th all-time on the clubs points list with 532. Sharp would eventually jump ship in 2015 to the Dallas Stars and lasted there for two seasons before agreeing to a one year deal to return to the Hawks and finish out his career.
Marian Hossa, Right Wing
A dynamic scoring weapon during his time with the Blackhawks, I always looked at Hossa as the backbone in their title run. Hossa would amass 73 points in 107 games in his playoff run with the team. Hossa played 19 seasons, eight of those with the Blackhawks and would finish his career, 27th on the clubs all-time points list and was 11th in all-time playoff points.
Artem Anisimov, Center
Acquired in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets back in 2015. Anisimov would play four productive seasons with the Blackhawks, scoring 20 goals or more in his first three. His best season being in 2016, where he would contribute 45 points in 64 games played along with a plus-minus of nine.
Brandon Saad, Left Wing
Drafted 43rd overall in 2011, Saad would work his way into the opening day roster that same year but would not become a full-fledged starter until 2013 season. Saad would have a tantalizing 2014 playoff campaign, ranking just behind Toews in total points scored with 16 in 19 games played. After being traded after the 2015 offseason to Columbus, Saad would return two years later in the infamous Panarin deal.
Andrew Shaw, Right Wing
One of my all-time favorite Blackhawks during those Cup-winning years in 2013 and 2015. Shaw was never looked at as one of the team’s offensive superstars, during his time with Chicago. However not many will deny the size of his heart, and heart can help win you a lot of games. He has never been afraid to put his body on the line, in order to gain that extra advantage on an opposing player.
That’s not to short change his offensive ability, Shaw can certainly put up points in clutch situations. It was in the 2013 cup final against Boston, in which he would come through with a tip-in goal in triple overtime to win game one of the series.
Dave Bolland, Center
A solid addition as the third center, Bolland was the man responsible for the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in 2013. Bolland would play seven seasons in Chicago scoring 168 points in 332 games.
Artemi Panarin, Left Wing
This selection might be looked at as a tad bit controversial, given Panarin was absent for the three-cup winning seasons and would play just two seasons in Chicago. However, given how Panarin continues to leave such a lasting impression among many of the clubs fans long after his departure from the team, I feel he belongs on the list. Signed to a two-year entry-level contract in the spring of 2015, Panarin would have a significant first season with the Hawks, leading all rookie scorers and would tie for first in team playoff scoring.
Kris Versteeg, Right Wing
Versteeg was always looked at as a rather steady player, averaging more than 15 minutes per game in his five years as a Blackhawk. Versteeg would also average a stellar plus 42 which ranks him 44th on the club all-time. A member of the 2010 and 2015 cup winning rosters, he had a superb 2010 playoff, contributing 14 points in 22 games good for eighth on the team.
Marcus Kruger, Center
Kruger turned out to be one of the Hawks’ more underrated draft bargains in the last two decades, he would be taken in the fifth round of the 2009 draft. Every dynasty needs those role players, and Kruger was fantastic at his job. He played eight of nine seasons with Chicago, scoring 117 points and sporting a plus-minus of 11. His best playoff performance was during their 2013 cup run where he racked up three goals.
Bryan Bickell, Left Wing
Drafted in 2004, Bickell did not really become a true fixture on the team until the 2010 season when he tallied 37 points and 40 penalty minutes in 78 games played. However, it was during the 2013 cup final, that Bickell really cemented his legacy.
Bickell would go on a tear in that tournament, scoring 17 points and was responsible for the game-tying goal with just over a minute left in the third period of game six. With Boston down in the series 3-2, and looking to send it back to Chicago tied. That goal would turn out to be a complete series changer, as Bolland would seal it for Chicago just 17 seconds later.
There are about a handful of players that could make the claim as top defenseman of the past decade, Keith would be one of them. Having been a full-fledged starter since 2005, he would log 23 minutes per game that season playing 81 of the 82 games. Keith has been a mainstay ever since, having racked up over 1,100 games and earning a number of awards including a Conn Smythe and two Norris trophies. He is second all-time in defensive scoring for Chicago behind only Doug Wilson, and first in playoff scoring.
Just like with Kane and Toews, Seabrook and Keith have been a package deal through the beginning of the dynasty years and onwards. Taken just a year after Keith, they are the seventh defensive duo to have each played over 1,000 games. Seabrook has in fact only played three fewer games than his counterpart. He is currently sixth in all-time defensive scoring for the Hawks, and fourth in defensive playoff scoring.
Known fondly as soupy, due to sharing a surname with the infamous Campbell’s soup company. Campbell spent four full years in Chicago, his efforts in the 2010 playoffs cements his position on this all-decade squad. After getting injured due to a boarding incident involving Alex Ovechkin in mid-March of that year, Campbell was able to come back for game four of the first round versus Nashville.
Although he would have a rather quiet playoff showing statistically speaking, contributing just five points in 19 games. It was in the game six overtime that Campbell would have the lone assist, on Kane’s cup-winning goal against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Where would the Hawks defense have been without Hjalmarsson during those aforementioned dynasty years? A defensive defenseman to the core, Hjalmarsson was the ultimate worker bee, a player that would always quietly go about his business when the Hawks needed a man to block those shots in tight games, he was the man. In his time in Chicago, the Hammer would block over 1,110, there was no one better.
A member of all three of those cup teams, it was certainly disheartening to see him moved in a 2017 trade to Arizona.
Just like Hjalmarsson, Oduya was a dependable Swedish defensive stalwart, whose contributions wouldn’t reflect in the score sheet. In his five seasons in Chicago, Oduya would contribute 400 blocked shots, 161 hits and a plus-minus of 29.
A solid puck-moving defender that was quite adept at creating offense and was dependable in his own zone. Leddy would contribute 73 helpers and a plus-minus of ten in four seasons in Chicago. He was a part of the 2013 cup roster and would play in all 23 games, but would be traded in early October of that same year to the New York Islanders.
Corey Crawford (Starter)
The second-longest-serving member of this all-decade team, Crawford has been in the clubs goaltender system since he was 19 years old when he was taken 52nd overall in the 2003 NHL entry draft. Once Crawford was finally given the number role, he was able to gradually build quite a career for himself, earning two William Jennings Trophies, and two all-star appearances. Crawford would be an integral part of those 2013 and 2015 cup winning seasons. He leads the club in all-time playoff wins and is second in games played, with 48 and 87 respectively.
Antti Niemi (Backup)
Niemi had a very short tenure as the man between the pipes in Chicago, looked at as the goaltender that got the dynasty rolling. Niemi would come onto the scene just as the Blackhawks were beginning to build themselves into a title contender. In his first season in 2009, Niemi would be playing behind both Nikolai Khabibulin and Cristobal Huet only starting three games.
Khabibulin would be out of the picture by the next season, leaving Niemi in prime position. By December, he had wrestled away the role and would take full advantage leading them to the playoffs and their first cup win since 1961. Niemi would start all but one game, with a goals-against of 2.63.
It would come to a head after his cup-winning triumph, the Hawks had to choose between paying him or letting him go, they would decide to choose the latter leaving him to go to San Jose.
Here are a few honorable mentions of players at each position group that just missed out on making the Blackhawks All-Decade team.
Ray Emery, Goaltender
Alex DeBrincat, Right Wing
Michal Rozsival, Defenseman
It was a tough choice picking between Emery and Niemi for that backup role behind Crawford. But again given how Niemi was able to come in and have such a great 2010 campaign after having only three games, of NHL experience just the previous season. I feel those accomplishments put him over the top.
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