The Chicago Blackhawks have been below average over the past three seasons and one major event lines up with them falling off a cliff.
The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013, and 2015. From 2009-2015, they played in the Western Conference Finals a remarkable five times. They had a group that was a legit championship contender year in and year out. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2015, they have not won a single playoff series. They are also a team that hasn’t made the playoff since the 2016-17 season and they were swept by the Nashville Predators.
There are a lot of reasons why they have fallen off but there is one major reason people forget about a lot. That is the fact that Marian Hossa was forced to retire. He was one of the very best players in the NHL during his run with Chicago and was overshadowed by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Well, Hossa might be the most important player in all of this because he was the final piece to being a championship-caliber player. You can make the argument that he is the greatest free agency signing in this history of Chicago sports.
Hossa was a rare type of player. He was a winger that played a center’s game. He was as good offensively as Patrick Kane and as good defensively as Jonathan Toews. That type of production from the left-wing position was extremely valuable to Chicago’s success. He made it where they had three superstar forwards instead of two. Ever since he left, Toews and Kane weren’t enough to get this team over the hump, despite them both having the same if not better production.
In his NHL career, Hossa scored 525 goals and added 609 assists for 1134 points in 1309 games. He is a remarkable +245 and a 54.6 CorsiFor. He was just a remarkably underrated player throughout his whole career. The Blackhawks definitely miss his remarkable play during his time. He is going to walk into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot and likely lead his class.
Hossa, in addition to the Hall of Fame, should have his number retired and should be recognized as one of the greatest players in the history of the franchise. It fell apart when he left but the memories he helped create will never be forgotten. It won’t be long until we are celebrating his Hall of Fame induction.