CHICAGO – It’s one of the most obvious announcements which the team has made in a long time, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t special.
The team’s announcement of their captain came on Tuesday ahead of their Wednesday opener, and the choice for the top player is the same as it’s been for over a decade. But unlike the 2021 season, Jonathan Toews will be able to take the ice for the Blackhawks after an illness kept him out of the shortened campaign a year ago.
He’ll be joined by Patrick Kane, who’ll be the permanent alternate captain, with Alex DeBrincat serving as the other at home and Connor Murphy will wear the “A” on the road.
“They’ve been here, too, and they’re part of what we’re trying to build. They’ve been building it here,” said head coach Jeremy Colliton of naming DeBrincat and Murphy as alternate captains. “Take a lot of responsibility both with leadership in what they say but in more what they do. We feel like they were really important to the group last year and they still are.”
Those are the familiar faces on a roster that still features a number of new and younger faces on the final roster that will take the ice against the Avalanche in Denver on Wednesday.
It includes 14 forwards, ten defensemen, and two goaltenders with three players on injured reserve: Defensemen Caleb Jones (long-term), Wyatt Kalynuk (long-term), and Alec Regula.
There are familiar names like Kane, Toews, Murphy, and DeBrincat along with players that have established themselves recently like Dominik Kubalik, Kirby Dach and Brandon Hagel. Defenseman Seth Jones and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury are the two biggest additions in the offseason while the team also got veteran center Tyler Johnson from the Stanley Cup champion Lightning.
“We like our team a lot. We like our depth. We’re bigger, we’re faster, we’re able to play a more winning style, in my opinion,” said Colliton of the roster. “But we’ll be tested here right out of the gates, and that’s fun, that’s exciting.”
Perhaps it will be enough to continue that into the spring and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which the team hasn’t qualified for in a traditional year since 2017.