Blackhawks team captain Jonathan Toews missed all of last season with Chronic Immune Response Syndrome. Most of us have no idea what that even means, but it sidelined the star for the entire year. With his return, it gives the Hawks a completely new edge, and changes the dynamic of this team. Everyone respects him across the entire league, and young players look up to him for advice. That is sorely needed on a team like Chicago, who has rebuilt itself over the last few years after being completely dominant for the last decade. They won three Stanley Cup Championships and had nine consecutive playoff appearances with Toews leading the way, so expect some sort of moral boost for the team and young guns.
They also got much better on defense this offseason, and they knew that it was their biggest flaw for the previous few years. Gone are the days of prime Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, Hall-of-Fame defensemen that will go down as some of the better players ever to grace the ice for the team. With them departed, the Hawks defense was a mess. In comes Seth Jones and Jake McCabe. Jones is a star, and one of the better defenseman in the game right now. He'll take on the role of Keith, while McCabe is a good player that will compliment Connor Murphy on defense, a rising star for Chicago.
Truly, the hockey goalie is one of the most important positions in all of sports. With a bad goaltender, it can be game over before it even starts. The Blackhawks went out and traded for reigning Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury, and he will be one of the bigger reasons the Hawks find success this season. He's getting up there in age, but he has been one of the most reliable backstops in the league over his tenure in Pittsburgh and Las Vegas.
With all these new additions, the focus can now switch to head coach Jeremy Colliton, who has been highly scrutinized since taking over for legendary coach Joel Quenneville. People have said he is too young and lacks the experience needed to bring his team to a championship. Sometimes he seems to be over his head, and looks like he should be back down in the minors coaching where he was before being promoted.
I think with Toews back, things will get better for Colliton. He is a real leader, and even if Colliton is not, the team won't fall apart with Toews back on the bench.