1. Offensive engine
Patrick Kane led the Blackhawks with 76 points (27 goals, 49 assists) in 82 games last season. Chicago's second-leading scorer, Alex DeBrincat, had 52 points (28 goals, 24 assists), also in 82 games. The 24-point gap was the fifth largest in the NHL between the first- and second-leading scorers on a team. It was the third consecutive season Kane led the Blackhawks in scoring, and his 68-point combined gap over those three seasons ranks first in the NHL.
With 271 points (107 goals, 164 assists) in 246 games over the past three seasons, Kane has scored or assisted on 38.6 percent of Chicago's 702 goals, tops in the NHL. Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, who is second in the NHL in that span (38.2 percent), is the only other player above 34.0 percent.
2. Getting help
The Blackhawks signed free agent goalie Cam Ward on July 1 to address a potential weakness behind No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford.
The Blackhawks were 17-13-5 through Dec. 23, when Crawford played his final game of the season because of an undisclosed upper-body injury. Chicago used five goalies and went 16-26-5 the rest of the season, missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Crawford had a .929 save percentage in 28 games, and the other five goalies combined for a .902. That difference of .027 ranked third among those to play at least 20 games, behind Antti Raanta of the Arizona Coyotes (.041) and Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights (.031).
But can Ward help? His combined .907 save percentage over the past three seasons ranks 50th among the 58 goalies to play at least 50 games in that span.
3. Getting physical
The Blackhawks had 1,376 hits last season, which ranked 30th in the NHL, ahead of only the Minnesota Wild (1,367). It was the second time in the past seven seasons the Blackhawks didn't rank last; they also edged the Wild 1,357-1,323 in 2014-15. Over the seven seasons combined, Chicago had 9,015 hits, the fewest in the NHL.
Tommy Wingels led the Blackhawks with 150 hits in 57 games last season, the eighth player in the past nine seasons to lead them. With Wingels traded to the Boston Bruins on Feb. 26, Chicago's leader this season could be Chris Kunitz, who signed as a free agent July 1. Kunitz had 131 hits in 82 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2017-18, and his 264 hits in 80 games in 2015-16 led the Pittsburgh Penguins by 104.