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posted: 9/27/2017 7:00 AM

Lots of new faces for Chicago Blackhawks heading into season

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  • Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy reaches for a loose puck behind Boston Bruins' Matt Beleskey during the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game in Boston, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017.

    Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy reaches for a loose puck behind Boston Bruins' Matt Beleskey during the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game in Boston, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017.
    Associated Press

  • Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period of a preseason NHL hockey game Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Chicago.

    Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period of a preseason NHL hockey game Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Chicago.
    Associated Press

 
 

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

LAST SEASON: 50-23-9, 109 points. Won Central Division. Swept by Nashville Predators in first round of playoffs.

COACH: Joel Quenneville (10th season, 21st NHL season).

ADDED: F Brandon Saad, F Patrick Sharp, F Tommy Wingels, D Connor Murphy, G Anton Forsberg.

LOST: F Artemi Panarin, D Niklas Hjalmarsson, D Johnny Oduya, D Brian Campbell, G Scott Darling, F Andrew Desjardins, F Marcus Kruger, D Trevor van Riemsdyk.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Connor Murphy. The Blackhawks have several questions on their blue line after trading Hjalmarsson to Arizona and losing van Riemsdyk in the expansion draft this summer. Enter Murphy, a physical defenseman who was acquired in the Hjalmarsson deal. The 24-year-old Murphy had two goals and a career-high 15 assists last season, but also had a minus-13 rating.

OUTLOOK: The Blackhawks looked like, well, the Blackhawks right until they got to the playoffs last season. Now, after a second straight exit in the first round, the pressure is on. The good news for the Blackhawks is a deep group of forwards, boosted by the return of Saad and Sharp, and Duncan Keith remains one of the NHL's best defensemen.

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