CHICAGO – If someone were to rank the most difficult seasons in the franchise’s history, it would be hard not to include the 2021-2022 campaign for a host of reasons.

So much went on for the Blackhawks on the ice and off the ice that made the last six months one of the hardest, with the negatives far outweighing the positives for a franchise now on the rebuild.

It came to an end on Friday in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Sabres that locks them in with a 28-42-11 record, with 67 points, which in itself is enough to make it a bad season.

The wins and points are the lowest for the team in a full season since 2005-2006, which was just before they began to build the team that would win three Stanley Cups in six years in the 2010s. The team also missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons, having only qualified in 2020 due to the pandemic shortening the season and a play-in series win in the Edmonton bubble.

It was a year that included nine-straight defeats to open, the firing of head coach Jeremy Colliton after 11 games, and the official declaration of a rebuild before a selloff at the trade deadline. Playoffs were never even in the conversation for the team that was led by Derek King after the firing of Colliton in November.

Of course, this year was more than just what happened on the ice, beginning with the Jenner and Block Report released in October that led to a reckoning in the franchise. It showed the team did not take the proper actions when learning of sexual assault allegations made by Kyle Beach against video coach Brad Aldrich in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It led to the resignation of general manager Stan Bowman and senior vice president of hockey operations Al MacIssac in October. Joel Quenneville, who was the Blackhawks coach in 2010, resigned as the head coach of the Florida Panthers shortly after.

Because of it, there has been restructuring in the front office and the procedures which the team can use to prevent what happened in 2010 from occurring again. Still, it was a major hit to the team along with the legacy of their greatest on-ice stretch in franchise history.

It’s left a lot ahead for new general manager Kyle Davidson, who got the full-time job on March 1st and immediately declared the team was in a rebuild. First and foremost, a decision has to be made on the head coaching position since King was there in the interim for Colliton this season.

Eventually, other decisions will be made, too, including the future of established stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, each of whom enter the final years of their contract in 2022-2023.

It’s a lot of change in six months for the franchise with more challenging days ahead as the start of rebuilding, both inside and outside, will be the legacy of the 2021-2022 Chicago Blackhawks.