With 10 players who didn't participate in a game for the Blackhawks in 2016-17, it stands to reason that this could be quite the roller-coaster season.
That's been the case early on as the Hawks zoomed out of the gates with convincing wins over Pittsburgh and Columbus, but then looked like they needed a guide map in division games against Minnesota, Nashville and St. Louis.
But does it simply boil down to chemistry? Or have veterans like Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews lost a step? Or does it have something to do with the Hawks playing four games in six nights to start the season after a fairly intense training camp?
Or is it just difficult to get jacked up for all 82 games?
It's difficult to say, but Ryan Hartman wasn't buying that last excuse.
"That's our job. We're supposed to be giving it our all every minute we're out there and every shift," Hartman told reporters in St. Louis after the Hawks' 5-2 loss. "We have four lines that can roll, so there's no excuse for not going out there and putting all your energy out there for a shift and getting ready for the next one."
So maybe it is a chemistry thing.
"Every time we've come off of a winning year, we have a lot of new players," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I think that helps in getting everybody's attention. It's not like everybody's complacent and everybody's in the same mode.
"We've been in situations where it's almost like a fresh team and it's a fresh start. We've got to cultivate this team right off the bat to play the right way, knowing how (good) starts to the season can set you up at the end."
That message needs to be received soon because the Hawks will play 12 of their next 19 games on the road against some of the toughest teams in the league.
"We've got to be better," Quenneville said.
Defenseman Jordan Oesterle made his Blackhawks debut after sitting the first seven games of the regular season. He was paired with Connor Murphy. … The Hawks held an optional morning skate before Thursday's game against Edmonton, a rarity after a road game the night before. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Brandon Saad, Richard Panik and Corey Crawford were the seven players who did not take part.