The Chicago Blackhawks open up the 2015 season as the reigning Stanley Cup Champions. They are in the midst of a potential dynasty with three championships in the last five years. Questions surrounding rape allegations of Patrick Kane make the beginning of the season potentially murky. They will not have much time to enjoy their latest Stanley Cup as the Chicago Blackhawks schedule opens up with a matchup with the New York Rangers. New York was one game away from being their finals competition and will be stiff opening day competition for the defending champions. Just three weeks later comes the Blackhawks first rematch of the Stanley Cup Finals with Tampa Bay. The one major factor Chicago has going for themselves against the Lightning is their experience. They have been around the block for years now, but Tampa Bay did obviously gain some good experience even in defeat last season. Chicago will have an early season chance to put doubt in the minds of the Lightning. As the defending champions, the Chicago Blackhawks schedule opens up with relative ease. It seems they got the added benefit of starting the season playing many of the bottom dwellers in the NHL. They should be well on their way to possibly earning a higher seed than last year.
Graphic via roosevelttorch
It is not until 2016 when the Chicago Blackhawks schedule becomes more difficult. In January, they face the two and three seeds in the west from a year ago in the Blues and the Predators. The Blackhawks won the title despite being the number four seed last year and took down the three seeded Predators in the first round of the playoffs 4-2. In February they also face the Wild and Ducks, who they defeated in the second and third round in order to reach the finals. The Anaheim Ducks gave Chicago the most trouble in the playoffs last year. They were the only team to take the Blackhawks to a game 7 and came up just short of reaching the Stanley Cup themselves. They were the one seed in the west last year and figure to be the stiffest completion for Chicago once again in 2015-2016. In the second to last game of the season, Chicago plays the Blues once again and a game that could have playoff seeding meaning. The defending champion Blackhawks have a schedule that open up easy and gets tougher as the season progresses. Overall, their schedule is pretty manageable and they should be in good position to make another run at the Stanley Cup. They are on the cusp of being labeled a dynasty team and one more Stanley Cup title may be enough to push them over the edge.
Graphic via brichards19