10 thoughts as Blackhawks wrap up rebuilding 2020-21 season

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10 thoughts as Blackhawks wrap up 2020-21 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks wrapped up the 2020-21 campaign with a 24-25-7 record and 55 points. They finished No. 6 in the Central Division.

Here are 10 thoughts after the season came to an end on Monday night:

1. The Blackhawks had nine rookies make their NHL debuts this season and nine players score their first career goals. In total, the Blackhawks had 311 games played from their rookies, which is the most of any team. 

2. Kevin Lankinen started in 37 of the 56 games. In his first 15 starts, he went 9-3-3 with a 2.55 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and one shutout. In his final 22 starts, he went 8-11-2 with a 3.34 goals-against average, .898 save percentage and one shutout. It should be worth noting his numbers started to dip when the calendar flipped to March, which featured a significant stretch against the top three teams in the Central Division (Carolina, Florida and Tampa Bay).

Overall, Lankinen finished with a 17-14-5 record, 3.01 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. He has certainly positioned himself to be the starter moving forward, but the jury is still out on whether he's a bonafide No. 1.

3. Patrick Kane finished the season with 15 goals, 51 assists and 66 points. Over the course of an 82-game season, he was on pace for 22 goals and 74 assists for 96 points, which would've been the third-best finish of his NHL career. And he did so by shooting only 7.9 percent, which was the lowest of his career.

4. Alex DeBrincat was, hands down, the most consistent player on the Blackhawks this season. He compiled 32 goals and 24 assists for 56 points and was on pace for 50 goals and 38 assists for 88 points in a typical 82-game season. All three of those totals would have set career highs at the professional level. He has arrived as an NHL star.

5. The Blackhawks registered 161 goals and 267 assists for 428 points this season. The first- and second-year players combined for 63 goals and 107 assists for 170 points; that's 39.7 percent of the offensive production. DeBrincat and Kane combined for 122 points, which accounted for 28.5 percent of the production.

6. Pius Suter finished as the Blackhawks' rookie leader in goals (14) and points (27), both of which rank fourth on the team. Brandon Hagel was the rookie leader in assists (15).

7. The Blackhawks' goals leader among defensemen? That would be Duncan Keith and Wyatt Kalynuk, who were tied with four. Kalynuk, however, played in only 21 games and, across an 82-game season, would have been projected to finish with 16. For reference, that would have been tied for second among all NHL defensemen last season.

8. Dominik Kubalik finished third on the team in goals (17) and points (38); over an 82-game season, he was projected to have 25 goals and 30 assists for 55 points. Not a bad season for someone who averaged only the seventh-most ice time among team forwards (15:26).

9. Special teams has been a big area of focus for the Blackhawks. Last season, they ranked 28th in power-play percentage (15.2) and eighth in penalty kill percentage (82.1). This season, the roles were reversed. The Blackhawks, as of Monday, ranked No. 11 in power-play percentage (21.7) and No. 28 in penalty kill percentage (76.8).

10. Let's finish with some random stats on the season. Here's a look at the team leaders for each of these categories:

  • Hits: Nikita Zadorov (190)

  • Blocked shots: Connor Murphy (130)

  • Takeaways: Patrick Kane (33)

  • Faceoff wins: David Kampf (410)

  • Penalties drawn: Alex DeBrincat (15)

  • Ice time leader: Duncan Keith (23:25)

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