19 - Jonathan Toews - A-minus
"Tazer, El Capitan, Johnny B. Goode"
If it weren't for injury, this would have been an A+. You can't ask much more from El Capitan, other than to stay healthy (and lookout for support steel beams). Tazer carried this team on his back for much of the season, until the unnamed and unspecified injury took him out of the lineup for a significant period of time. I personally feel that the Hawks were right to keep him out, and not have this situation turn into a Crosby situation. They botched melon mushing injuries to Hjalmarsson, Montador and Kruger, so they certainly don't want a repeat with the face of the franchise. This team learned to exist without him, but he still makes this team infinitely better when he's on the ice, similar to Sid The Kid.36 - Dave Bolland - C
"Bolly, Invisibolly, Incredibolly"
Invisibolly has some issues to sort out. He's no longer just a young kid. He is considered a veteran that younger players will look up to, and he disappears for long stretches of the season. Maybe this is what Bolland IS. An ultra streaky player that will never be more than a third line shutdown guy, and had plateaued. I honestly don't believe that, though. This guy lit up the JRs so he has a knack for scoring. I think he makes a better second line center than Kruger, but he's yet to show anything of the sort, nor the desire. His disappearing act has led the Blackhawks to experiment with Kaner at center, which has turned out pretty well, luckily. Later in the season, he added some more scoring to the mix, but what Bolland needs is consistency; and some people with offensive skill around him. If you look at the people he's been paired with most (Frolik, Bickell, Shaw, Brunette, Carcillo), only Frolik is a legitimate offensive player, and we'll get to HIS colossal disappointment later in the program. Bruno can score, but he needs people to open up space around him, and is best from the dots north.16 - Marcus Kruger - B-minus
"Krugs, Dream Warrior"
Stan Bowman tried to sell us a bill of goods last year, and no Hawks fan, sans a frontal lobotomy, bought it. He did exactly what you'd expect a kid from Europe adjusting to North American hockey to do. He struggled. And he struggled. He struggled more into camp this year, and was sent to Rockford. After his little smack on the ass, he came back with the big boys and never left. I'm still not a Dream Warrior subscriber, just yet, but he is improving. He's shown why the management was so high on him a year ago.37 - Brandon Pirri - Incomplete
Pirri lit up the preseason and looked like he might stick around, but numbers just didn't fall in his favor. He ended up sticking around for 5 games, and got 2 assists, but it's hard to get into a rhythm when you're only around for a game or 2 at a time. In Rockford he ended up an All-Star and led the team in scoring. He has a future somewhere.17 - Brendan Morrison - F/Incomplete
This acquisition was pretty pointless, and accomplished one thing. It freed up Brian Connelly to advance his career, because that wasn't happening in Chicago. Morrison played in a handful of game and looked terrible in every one. This was a way to try and get something for Connelly when they were in need of help up the middle. Because of injuries he was forced into action late, and didn't look quite as awful, but he's still just a band-aid.
10 - Patrick Sharp - A
"Sharpie, Shooter, Mr. Handsome"
You can try to keep him down, and you can take the support from around him, but he just keep producing. Jack of all trades, and master of quite a few. Patrick Sharp has been consistently consistent. On pace to reach his typical 65-70 point season, the Hawks Alternate Captain has done anything and everything asked of him. Short of some time he spend banged up, he could have eclipsed his previous high of 71 points. I don't know of anyone who dislikes or speaks ill of the man.25 - Viktor Stalberg - A-minus
"Pick-to-Click Vik, Vik, Wheels"
Pick-To-Click Vik! The breakout player of 2011-12. This guy has taken a bumpy road to West Madison, but thanks to the Columbus Blue Jackets, this Bumslayer seems to be paying dividends. For the price, the Blackhawks are getting a hell of a deal. Under a million a year for a guy that has spent a majority of his time skating with the big six. Forty points and his world class speed make for a great second level role guy. Sure, he has problems finishing (HEY-O!). Sure, he has brain cramps that occasionally lead him straight to Chateau Bow Wow. The bottom line is that he's a bargain, and he is fast as hell! Use him as trade bait or keep him around as a role guy; either way, he is valuable.29 - Bryan Bickell - C
"One Trick Bick"
This poor guy went from phenom, last season, to dead man walking, this season, and is now clawing his way back. The knock on him has always been that he is rather soft for his stature. Package that with a willingness to unleash the three day long wrist shot, and you have a guy with limitations. When you put all the fact in line, he is a low rent replacement for Troy Brouwer, who was a disappointment in his own right. Bickell is a third liner with some size, that can shoot from the perimeter. He just needs to learn to throw his body around more, and work in tight spaces. What do you expect for $541K a year, seriously?65 - Andrew Shaw - A
"ShawFacts, Shock and Shawe, Shawzer"
What a shortened season this kid had. He was drafted in the summer, with the clear intentions of him becoming a smaller Marchand, Ott, Cooke agitator type. He began the season in Rock Vegas where he has 23 points in 38 games. Once the the Hawks called him up, he became a cult hero. The subject of the twitter phenomenon "#ShawFacts" had 9 points in his first 19 games, before being sent back to Rockford in favor of some size. He was recalled at the trade deadline and has resumed his unbelievable pace with 14 more points. He's played on all the lines, and even on the powerplay. The way he throws himself around, his career may be short, but it will be fun to watch. This kid just keeps making things happen, and will end up as one of the leading jersey purchases by bandwagon fans, in the near future.13 - Daniel Carcillo - C
"Car Bomb, Asshole"
I'll be the first one to admit I was thoroughly confused by this ordeal. First by the signing, and even more so by the RE-signing. The guy is a total trouble magnet. He has a horrible league reputation and was knocked out, for the year, on a play where he dangerously injured an opponent, as well as himself. This was his second suspension while playing for the Hawks. He played 28 games, and scored one goal with a goalie actually in the net. I just don't see the love. I wanted to, but he's proven to be nothing more than a dirty cheap shot artist, with an itchy trigger finger. Whatever the case, the Hawks are stuck with him for two more years. The over/under on suspensions is 4. I can handle his antics if there are no more roster spots wasted on John Scott/Brandon Bollig types, but the management love to torture us bloggers with wasted roster spots full of "sandpaper" and "grit". Spare me the ulcer, please.85 - Rostislav Olesz - Incomplete
What a shit deal THIS guy got. He was the albatross of a contract that the Hawks had to absorb, to unload the even bigger albatross named Brian Campbell. His release was called for the instant the deal was done, and he never got a fair shake. Six games is hardly a chance, when you had worthless players like John Scott on the ice skating as a forward, yet he was sent to Rock Vegas. He obviously has some talent, along with his good size, tallying 41 points in 50 games, but he's going to rot there in Rock Vegas, like meth lab trailer. $3.125 million a year is a tough pill to swallow, while he's netting goals and slaying bums in the AHL. Since no one will trade for him, a buyout has to be imminent, unless they are comfortable with the Cristobal Huet treatment. Nothing I've seen of this guy has shown me that he's deserving of this treatment, yet there he sits. Honestly, it's not worth splitting hairs over this, when you have a logjam of talent at the position.00 - Jeremy Morin - Incomplete
The kid has promise, talent and some spunk to his game, but the log jam at wing has kept him slaying bums in Rock Vegas, too. While recovering from concussion problems Pirri, Shaw and Hayes all passed him up on the call up list. He still has the chops for a spot in the next few years, but is there room left? If someone wants to ante up a tremendous deal for him, he may let go, but I'd like to see what he's got. Could be looking at an edgier, but slower Stalberg.52 - Brandon Bollig - Incomplete
I'm sure John Scott, and Glen Sather are on this guy's Christmas card list. Thanks to the Cementhead Du Jour spot being vacated, due to Scott's trade deadline move to the Rangers, Bollig got his chance fill those Cement skates. Not that it was a taxing task at hand, mind you. He is the typical enforcer clod. Limited skills, but the personality that fans love. I have to think that with Shaw around, and Carcillo coming back, the quota of agitating hammer tossers on this team have been met, but it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong. I have nothing against the guy, I just don't see a spot for him on a team and organization with such depth at wing, unless they want him to center the fourth line, which would mean Mayers is playing elsewhere.43 - Brandon Saad - Incomplete
"General Saad, Kneel before Saad"
We only saw a brief flash of his talent, but this kid is going to be a stud here. The Hawks wisely decided not to waste his first year of his entry contract on a year of struggling and musical lines, so he was sent back to the Juniors where he has absolutely lit the league on fire. He's a man among boys down there. In 44 games, he had 76 points, including 9 PPG and 6 SHG, as well as a cartoonish plus 35 +/-. Bowman and Quenneville have absolute boners for this guy, and they should. Hell, I have a boner over him; wait, stricken that from the record...81 - Marian Hossa - A-plus
While there have been injuries and turmoil, Hoss put together a pretty stellar two way season. He racked up his best point totals since 06-07 with the Thrashers. Through the blood and fire, he has been a solid two way performer all year long, especially with injuries to people like Toews. He continues to be one of the better defensive and puck control players in the league. I have no criticisms with Hoss, especially since he is really set up as a secondary scorer on this team.88 - Patrick Kane - B
"Kaner, Party Boy"
It's been a rough and interesting year for Kaner. He started the year with wrist surgery, that kept him out of the lineup, early on. Once he came back, he was forced to adjust to playing Center, which he did quite well. After a while he was switched back to wing, where he did well also, but he ended up back in the middle when Toews went down. He went through hot and cold stretches, where some dumb shit mouth breathers actually suggested trading the point a game 23 year old, former number one overall draft pick and Calder trophy winner, multiple All-Star selection, who scored the Stanley Cup winning goal two seasons ago and won Silver Medal in the Olympics. Unless Sidney Fucking Crosby is coming to Chicago in said trade, you're out of your fucking mind. His point totals were slightly lower than his average, but with all the adjustments and the injury, it's expected. He's still a very important player to this team, and should be for years to come. Here is a little food for thought: http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=0&id=17067415 - Andrew Brunette - C
"Bruno, Old Man"
This was one of Stan Bowman's top free agent signings, last summer. He was supposed to come in and add some veteran leadership, and secondary scoring. He never really turned out to be much more than a 3rd tier role player. His point totals were about half what can be expected, and he never really found a spot in the lineup. He was shuffled up and down all 4 lines, and the only place he really provided anything was on the second powerplay unit. He's hands around the net came in handy, but his tortoise-like speed just dragged everyone down around him. At $2 million he was a fairly low risk signing, and the only way he'll be back is at a considerably lower price tag.22 - Jamal Mayers - A
From one of the disappointing free agents to the hidden gem of a free agent signing. Mayers has turned himself into a beloved teammate and cult hero in Chicago. He has done everything that the Hawks have asked of him. He has played on the PP, PK, and even strength, while even seeing time with the top 6 forwards. Mayers was the most consistent physical player on the Hawks, from beginning to end, and he has done it wisely. Like an assassin. Generally most fans, including myself, would like to see him back for another year. Granite, I understand he is a 38 year old 4th liner, but he brings that "grit" the Hawks management are so desperately looking for, while not sacrificing talent at the offensive side of the ice. Bring him back on another one year, low dollar deal. He has brought more to this team than Brunette.67 - Michael Frolik - D-minus
What a complete and utter nightmare of a season for Frolik. He was relegated to the 4th line when he wasn't a healthy scratch and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. I can't really pinpoint where things went wrong, but he was given opportunities. I was really high on Frolik, coming in, and he completely expelled his bowels all over the bed. He has been a healthy scratch several times, and has fallen down the depth chart to 14th forward. He is only 24, but at $2.333 million a year, 14 points just isn't going to be enough. If the Hawks get a chance to move him, that may just happen, especially with players like Morin, Pirri, and Saad knocking at the door at over half the price.39 - Jimmy Hayes - C
In the pre-season people liked what they saw of his game, but there just wasn't any room for him. He was sent back to Rock Vegas, and had himself a nice little run with the Hogs. He was shuffled up and down a few times, and ended up with a decent point total. Nothing great, but his nose for the net, and size will earn him a much longer look next season. His fire faded as the season went on and he was a Healthy scratch several times, but with a summer of working out with the boys of west Madison street, he could come in next season with some more confidence.28 - Ben Smith - Incomplete
My, My, My, How a year can change things. Last spring, all summer, and most of the fall Ben Smith was labeled the messiah by fans and media alike. A smallish, average, grinder couldn't possibly be a fluke? Could he? Surely, A handful of good games last spring should land him a spot in the top six, right? To take a page out of Dennis Green's book, Ben Smith is who I thought he was. A marginal bottom six forward/AHL player. He was given shots at playing time, but did absolutely nothing. When teams don't know much about a player, it's hard to prepare, but once teams have seen you the success can fade fast. I won't say he has no chance of coming back and playing, but he has been passed up on the depth chart considerably. Jesse Rogers will hold a candle light vigil, and carve Smith's name into his arm if the Hawks decide not to re-sign him this summer. The bottom line is that he was never really that good in the first place. Just ask John Druce, and Fernando Pisani how that works.
2 - Duncan Keith - C
2011-12 has been an interesting year for #2. For the second year in a row, his point production dropped. Maybe his Norris Trophy winning season of 2009-10 was a fluke and this is the real Duncan Keith. If that's the case, He's still a fine defenseman that eats up an enormous amount of ice time against other teams top players and is very effective doing such, as shown by his plus 16. With a solid supporting cast to take some of the load off his shoulders, he might just be able to have another 69 point season, but he absolutely has to learn to create lanes for himself. Nothing is more annoying than Keith blasting shots into opponents shin pads all game long, which end up in odd man breaks coming back the other way. His shot totals have gone down each of the last two years for a reason. Teams realize that he doesn't fake shots, or try to work to give himself a better angle at the net. He just winds up and lets the shots fly no matter how many players are in front of him. Something very uncharacteristic of Keith's usually insanely cool demeanor was his ode to Randy Savage, aka flying elbow, to the melon of Daniel Sedin. A move that earned him a late season 5 game Shana-Ban. Maybe the frustration is finally starting to show for the Deuce. No matter what the meatballs say, a "C" Duncan Keith is still better than an "A" from most defensemen.8 - Nick Leddy - C-plus
"Three Times a Leddy"
This was supposed to be Nick Leddy's breakout year, and something became very evident. Nick Leddy is not ready to shoulder the responsibility of the load that Brian Campbell left. That's not a knock on him. He's 21 years old, and this is his second NHL season. If he WAS ready, Chuck Fletcher would have no choice but to eat the barrel of a 357, because if Minnesota gave up the next Brian Campbell (which will still be up for debate) for Cam Barker (who doesn't even play for the Minnesota organization anymore), he should be hung drawn and quartered. Last season, the Hawks were content in letting Leddy have a trail by fire, and he wasn't terrible, nor was he great. He was a mobile, 20 year old defenseman that had to learn his trade. One thing has changed this season. He is now a 21 year old defenseman that has to learn his trade. It's very rare that a 20 year old defenseman can step in and take over for someone the caliber of Brian Campbell. Just look at what Campbell did in Florida this season, and tell me how many 21 year old players have done that. In Leddy's defense, everyone thought that Chris Campoli was coming back, and the two could split the responsibilities. Once, Campoli did his best Antti Niemi impersonation, all bets were thrown out the window. The Hawks hands were forced, and I can't say I'm completely disappointed in the kid. Was Keith or Campbell this good at 21? I think not. Let's hope the Hawks can avoid a third year of arbitration drama with Oduya, this summer, and Leddy should be just fine. Right now, though, he has the attention span of a Labrador, and can't physically keep up with stronger forwards in the Hawks end, but he'll learn.7 - Brent Seabrook - B-plus
"Seabs, Lucky Number Sleven"
I openly admit, I'm a huge Brent Seabrook fan. He's big, physical, intimidating, and will score a goal or two for you. A clutch performer, that will eat up ice time against all the top players in the league. Playing with a revolving door of partners this season hasn't worked to his benefit, but he still put together a solid year by Seabrook standards. He tied career highs in goals, while cutting his penalty minutes in half. I honestly feel that Seabrook means more to Keith than Keith does to him. He'll never will a Norris Trophy, and All-Star selections won't come often, but the guy is a stud on the back end. Like I said before, a "B-plus" from Seabrook is still better than an "A" from a majority of defensemen in the league.5 - Steve Montador - C-minus
"Monty, Matador, Frank the Tank, Ron Burgundy"
Montador was Bowman's big free agent signing last summer, and while he has been decent, for what was expected, he was a huge disappointment. Now this isn't entirely his fault, because Quenneville jerked his chain from day one. He was scratched several times, and even dressed as a forward when the season opened. This is what you do when you have a fairly pricy free agent trophy that you don't want to play, but have to, because you don't want to make your boss look like a complete nincompoop, which he may or may not be. He averaged roughly 23 points a season before this one, and after all was said and done, he had 14 this year. Not what you're looking for out of a guy that is being paid $2.75 million a year. Now I know he has missed a lot of time with injuries, so that has been taken into account. If this was based on production alone, I would have given ol Monty a solid "D Minus". He can thank Quenneville for having the stupid idea of dressing him as a forward the first game back after a concussion, in which he received an elbow to the melon. Back on the shelf for you and your dizzy spells!4 - Niklas Hjalmarsson - C-minus
Hjalmarsson is another player on the speed train to disappointment. When the Hawks matched Doug Wilson's little cock blocking move, it was clear to everyone that the Hawks needed Hammer. He was young, and there was promise in his game. Fast forward two years, and his game has actually regressed. Again, like Montador, he has has concussion issues this year, but he wasn't lighting the world on fire before the injuries. For the money he is making, the Hawks should be getting more production. Now, all the meatballs will weep and sob about blocking shots, but I've said this a hundred times before. Blocking shots is not splitting the atom. You just have to have the desire to give up your health and body to do it. Like the Hunchback of the KHL before him, Hjalmasson is the defenseman most willing to give up his body, on this team. If blocking shots was such a fucking skill the league lead wouldn't be by Josh Fucking Gorges, it would be led by Erik Karlsson, Zdeno Chara, or Shea Weber. They leave it for the the other knuckleheads. If the Hawks can find a way to unload Hjalmarsson, they should pull the trigger. It's always nice to have cap room should a player they really want become available.6 - Sean O'Donnell - C
"O'Donnell Sean, Lurch, Father Time"
Instead of getting Campoli back, Hawks fans had to endure the two headed monster of O'Donnell Sean and Sami Lepisto. Yes, he's an experienced veteran, and yes he has Stanley Cup experience. What he doesn't have, is gas left in the old tank. The Hawks picked him up about two years too late. He's old, big, slow, and very limited, which doesn't fit him anywhere in the Hawks scheme. As a 7th defenseman, I can live with him, but trotting him out there for 50 games is just too damn much for my liking, and if he's out on the ice before Montador, something is VERY wrong. There is no way he's back next season. If they want an NHL 7th guy, Sami Lepisto should be a cheap solution.27 - Johnny Oduya - A
For every 3 Bowman misses, there is a hit, like Johnny Oduya. With the number of defenseman available limited to a skeleton crew, at best, Bowman pulled off one of his best moves, in acquiring Oduya for two draft picks. Oduya fit right in to the Hawks scheme because of his mobility, and before long he was logging Duncan Keith's minutes. He played half the game a few times, which was as a result of the Keith suspension, but this is a team that still has Brent Seabrook. He has turned out to be a total hidden gem, and the fans could only hope that the Hawks can retain him. A little food for thought; Oduya and Hjalmarsson made the same salary this year, and while Nik is a different kind of player, you'll NEVER see him logging 30 minutes a game. I would gladly trade Oduya's experience and dependability for Hammer's youth in a heartbeat.20 - Sami Lepisto - B
This grade might draw some contention. He was basically, signed as a #7 guy, and Quenneville seemed to hate his face from day one. Like Olesz, I saw nothing to make me believe that Lepisto should sit for 20 games at a stretch. He's fairly quick, and has decent size, which lends to the Hawks style, unlike Sean O'Donnell. Once he was able to knock the dust off, Lepisto played some solid minutes, due to injuries. Of course, when you're relegated to the doghouse for 20 games, you might be a little shy about making mistakes with the puck, so he treated it like a live grenade for his first few games. Once he was able to shake the fear of being beaten with a rolled up newspaper for any mistake, he settled in nicely. Unfortunately, a late season injury limited his progression, but I'd have no issues with him coming back as a #7 for the same cabbage, next season.34 - Dylan Olsen - C
The Golden Goose, as far as young defensemen go, in the Organ-I-zation. While they rushed Leddy into action as fast as possible, they took the opposite approach with Olsen. They have been extremely conservative with young Slowlsen, and probably with good reason. He's a physical specimen, and has some great talent. With the injuries and the fact that O'Donnell Sean is a century old, Olsen was forced into action. He started out at a snails pace, but really picked up his game, as his time with the team went on. He is going to be a bulldozer someday, if paired with the right partner, but if he gets stuck out there with a partner that is less than fleet of foot, there will be red lights blazing behind the Blackhawks net. The problem with Olsen is not his shot or his positioning as much as it's his footspeed. To get that big ass moving, he needs time. If you watch him transition from skating forward to backwards, expect an hour or two. His first thirty NHL games were less than stellar, but there is promise. If the Hawks have him work on his puck handling and foot speed, they will have the next Seabrook.
50 - Corey Crawford - C
Poor Crawford. I talked him up all summer, and he showed up just to shit his pants. There were even rumors of the Hawks bringing in a Goalie, at the deadline, to take over. He has had a rough year, to say the least. The sophomore slump perched itself firmly on Corey Crawford's back. I put some of the blame on Stephane Waite, who is normally an excellent goaltending coach. What happened was that a little tweaking turned into fixing something that wasn't broken. It was clear, to open the season, that someone was chirping in Crawford's ear about being more aggressive, and he was just following orders. The problem is that he never looked comfortable. He is the type of goalie that works best deep in his crease. He was losing his angles, giving up some godawful goals. A number of times, Emery was handed the keys for long stretches, while Crawford was left to sit the bench and ponder what the hell was going wrong. That aside, had some very strong stretches, especially to close the season. In the long run, I think he'll be alright, but he needs a guy like Emery to push him. Lets not all toss him in the lake just yet. If he has another horribly streaky start to open next season, or just lays a turd in the playoffs, then there might be reason to add "goalie" to the grocery list.30 - Ray Emery - B
After a controversial decision by the Hawks management, in the fall, Emery had himself a very nice full season as the Blackhawks 1B goaltender. When Crawford soiled himself, Emery was there to pick up the job and run with it. When Emery ran out of gas, Crawford picked up and started a streak of his own. The problem with Emery is, and always will be, his durability. His hips will never be able to take the grind of a season as a true starting NHL netminder. He's a great second level alternative, though, which is why the Hawks re-upped him for another season. Cheap, and not terribly bad. If you would have told me, or anyone for that matter, that Ray Emery would put up a 15-9-4 record with the Hawks and be available for a full season, when they signed him to that pro tryout, I would have cynically laughed in your face. Don't get me wrong, If the Blackhawks signed a goalie off the scrap heap, I was pulling for Emery, but I didn't think they'd get this much out of him. Lets hope that a summer of knowing he has a job in North America helps him, and he can push Salak, and Crawford in training camp.