For a team that had just won a Stanley Cup, the Chicago Blackhawks have certainly gotten off to a slower start than many anticipated. However, the modern dynasty parted ways with several pieces that played a key part in their league dominance over the past six seasons.
Chicago struggled to get pucks past a troubled Anaheim Ducks team Monday night advancing to 6-3-0 in nine games but by way of overtime. As of right now, the ‘Hawks currently sit 23rd in the league with only 2.11 goals per game. Although the defending Stanley Cup champions finished last season with 2.68 goals per game, they had 3 goals per game in the playoffs.
Their last 6 games have only resulted in 10 goals and hope to bolster their goal scoring by recent roster moves. Tanner Kero, 23, was recalled from the Blackhawks AHL affiliate, Rockford IceHogs. Kero has 5 goals and 2 assists in just five games for the IceHogs. He was named the CCM/AHL Player of the week for the period ending Oct. 25 with three goals, an assist, and a plus-5 rating in three games.
It will be interesting to see if Kero can add a scoring supplement to the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks signed Kero in April after an impressive year at Michighan Tech scoring 21 goals and 46 assists in 41 games. As a result, he was named the WCHA’s player of the year. He also became the third player in school history to be a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, the award given to the top NCAA Men’s Hockey player of the year.
Former Stanley Cup Champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins, 41-year-old Sergei Gonchar, joins the club as defenseman development coach. Gonchar had a preseason tryout with the Penguins, but was released by the team in the final cuts for the 25-man roster this season.
As far as his role goes, a club press release stated he will “work with Pittsburgh’s defensemen at the NHL level and throughout the Penguins’ system. He will also scout European tournaments on behalf of the team.”
Gonchar’s veteran experience could help develop young defenseman in the organization including Derrick Pouliot, Olli maatta, Brian Dumoulin, and Adam Clendening.