The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the most successful hockey teams of the 2010s, as well as one of the NHL betting favorites to win the 2016-17 Stanley Cup:
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Which is precisely why the fact that they were eliminated in the Western Conference First Round by the St. Louis Blues in 2015-16 came both as a shock and a disappointment for the team and fans – who bet on hockey and otherwise – alike. It was Chicago’s earliest postseason exit since 2011-12. In order to prevent a similar fate this upcoming season, the Hawks have rekindled their relationship with veteran defenseman Brian Campbell, signing the unrestricted free agent to a one-year, $2.25 million contract. Campbell is the David Lee Roth to the Blackhawks’ Van Halen. While the team has been pretty successful since parting ways with the Canadian skater – winning the Stanley Cup in 2012-13 and 2014-15 – Campbell has not lifted the trophy since helping Chicago win it in 2009-10 and leaving for the Florida Panthers.
But, as the Bard said, journeys end in lovers’ meeting. Campbell has been brought back to fill the void left by Johnny Oduya – whom the Hawks lost to the Dallas Stars in free agency last summer. Campbell had 6 goals and 31 points in 82 regular season games with the Panthers last season. Just to be on the NHL betting safe side, though, Chicago has added another defenseman in Michal Kempny. The Check 25 year old was discovered by general manager Stan Bowman and signed in May from the Russian team Avangard Omsk. Kempny recorded 5 goals and 21 points in 59 regular games and 2 goals and 4 points in 11 playoffs games of the Kontinental Hockey League in 2015-16.
With defense having been taken care of, the Hawks’ offense still needs more depth as far back as the 4th line. After all, Patrick Kane can’t do everything. To make matters worse, forwards Andrew Ladd, Teuvo Teravainen, Andrew Shaw, and Dale Weise are all gone; to the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, respectively. NHL betting fans can expect Chicago to try and add depth with prospects Nick Schmaltz, Tyler Motte, and Ryan Hartman. The three of them have shown promise, and could very well be called up to the main roster, being talented as well as inexpensive. Once again it comes down to whether Bowman’s vision comes to fruition. The GM persuaded Schamltz to leave the University of North Dakota after two years and sign a three-year entry-level deal.
As for Hartman, he finished his second professional season with the Rockford IceHogs with 15 goals and 20 assists in 61 games. Coincidentally, Motte is a teammate of his in the American Hockey League. And while he has played only five games in the AHL so far, Motte shined in the Big Ten Conference with the University of Michigan in 2015-16, recording 38 goals, 24 assists, and 56 points in 38 games. All three hope to make it in the NHL and not do a Bryan Bickell.