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2014-2015 NHL preview: Chicago Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews is back to lead the Blackhawks in their quest for vengeance.
Jonathan Toews is back to lead the Blackhawks in their quest for vengeance.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The story has been the same for the Chicago Blackhawks for years. They were one of the best teams in the NHL again last season, although they actually finished third in their very tough division. Nevertheless, they had 107 points and a plus-47 goal differential. The Blackhawks then made it to the Western Conference Finals, yet again, but they couldn't get past the Los Angeles Kings, who won the Cup. In the end, most people thought they were the best two teams in the league, but the Blackhawks ended up being the one that fell just short.

This season, it's more of the same. Pretty much everybody things that Chicago and Los Angeles are the best two teams in the league, and with good cause. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and the rest are still around. Which Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa are getting older, they were both excellent last season. Plus, even if they take a step back, guys like Brandon Saad will likely step up. Also, the Blackhawks managed to finagle Brad Richards on a cheap deal. That can only help. He's still a good player. The defense is excellent, led by Duncan Keith. Corey Crawford is no longer really thought of as a liability, and justifiably so. This team has no flaws.

As such, there isn't a ton to say. They are going to make the playoffs. They will probably win the Central, as I expect both St. Louis and Colorado to take a step back. They are one of the best teams in the league, and they will probably face the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Finals. Chicago has won a couple Cups recently. It's possible they will add a third. This has been a great run, and it's not ending anytime soon. Sustained excellence doesn't lend itself to deep thought and interesting predictions.