The Blackhawks have given head coach Jeremy Colliton a two-year extension with the deal running through the end of the 2022-23 NHL season.
“Jeremy has shown an innate ability to develop young talent throughout his two seasons as head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks,” said GM Stan Bowman. “This, coupled with his vast knowledge of the game, exceptional communication skills and determination to win, makes us extremely confident Jeremy has what it takes to lead our team back to an elite level as we continue to build a roster that can compete year in and year out.”
Colliton, 35, was hired 15 games into the 2018-19 season after Joel Quenneville was fired. In two seasons behind the Blackhawks’ bench, the team has gone 62-58-17 and made the playoffs once thanks to last season’s expanded format. Chicago eliminated the Oilers in the Qualifying Round before falling to the Golden Knights in the First Round.
As they play in a new-look Central Division for 2021, the Blackhawks will be without a handful of key names to start the season. Kirby Dach, Alex Nylander, Brent Seabrook, and captain Jonathan Toews will all not be available.
Under Colliton, the Blackhawks have the eighth-worst points percentage (.515), third-worst penalty kill (77.2%), eighth-most goals allowed at 5-on-5 (298), are a sub-50% possession team, and have the third-worst expected goals for percentage (46.4%), per Natural Stat Trick.
This was the final season on his original deal, so was two years not enough off an evaluation period for Bowman? The GM has put the team in rebuild mode, which did not please some of the veterans, like Toews. If that’s the direction the team they’re heading — or if you wanted to phrase it as a “re-tooling” — there’s a gamble that Colliton will be the one to help steer the ship in the right direction after two years of sinking.