It's not the offense, it's the defense. Kane, Toews, Hossa, Sharp... they'll get tier points. Can Bolland stay healthy and continue to play against other teams top lines? Can Keith become something resembling the defenseman that won the Norris- can he avoid shooting the puck into people's shins PLEASE? Who will emerge as the second paring? Lepisto? Montador? Can Leddy step up? How much will we miss Campbell? I think the question of Toews and Kane and the core group of forwards producing what they're capable of, almost answers itself. The 2011-2012 season will be defined by the boys on the blue line.
Thanks for the comment, Skags. These are definitely legit questions/concerns which all need to be addressed. The reason I didn't discuss them is because they've already been written about constantly both here, SCH, mainstream media, everywhere. I simply wanted to point out that these guys had their best or close to their best years last season, and any drop off - plus the questions of the new faces coming in combined with the departures - could be very harmful if it were to happen. I didn't want to do any sort of a season preview type thing here, but rather show that there was a lot of good from the top players last season, and if Sharp didn't break out and Crawford didn't emerge, things could have been very bad. The point was to show if that doesn't happen again this season, things may be tough given how much their success contributed to the 97-point season while a majority of the roster either was hurt or struggled or both. And I don't believe Hossa really produced what he's capable of, which is 40+ goals. I made sure to mention he needs to stay healthy, which is another question. Thanks for the insight, Skags. Always like reading what you have to say over at SCH. Looking forward to more discussion with you over the course of the season!