|ESPN.com: NHL Preview 2005||[Print without images]|
Offense: There's a core of young players -- Eric Daze, Tuomo Ruutu, Mark Bell, Kyle Calder, Tyler Arnason and perhaps rookie Rene Bourque -- who appear poised to finally take control. That group is being supplemented by a veteran checker in Curtis Brown, a physical winger with some scoring ability in Martin Lapointe and a certified pest who can also pass and score a bit in Matthew Barnaby. The trio knows how to win. Ruutu, Bell, Calder and Arnason have all had 20-goal seasons and Daze, who should he regain his health (bad back) and scoring touch, has netted 30.
Defense: Major changes to a previously weak unit include Adrian Aucoin (New York Islanders), Jassen Cullimore (Tampa) and Jaroslav Spacek (Columbus). Spacek is a good puckhandler, Cullimore is physical and Aucoin immediately becomes their best two-way defenseman. Those are serious upgrades.
Goaltending: Talon lured 2004 Stanley Cup winner Nikolai Khabibulin away from Tampa, a major upgrade over the departed Jocelyn Thibault. The Bulin Wall will stand for 60 or more games, and should do wonders for the fragile confidence of the younger players.
Search: Chicago Blackhawks
|Comings & Goings|
RW Michael Holmqvist; D Adrian Aucoin; D Jaroslav Spacek; RW Martin Lapointe; G Nikolai Khabibulin; C Jim Dowd; D Todd Simpson.
G Jocelyn Thibault; D Bryan Berard; D Steve McCarthy; LW Travis Moen; RW Eric Nickulas; D Stephane Robidas; G Steve Passmore; D Steve Poapst.
|When we last saw them|
Arnason led the team with 22 goals and 33 assists in 82 games during the 2003-04 season.
Leighton started in 35 games, posting a 6-18-8 record, 2.99 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.
“The Blackhawks had the best offer. They have some young talent. I've won the Stanley Cup and I want to do it again.”
— Nikolai Khabibulin