It is easy to look at the Chicago Blackhawks and come to the conclusion that their Stanley Cup window has slammed shut.
They have missed the playoffs two years in a row, have not won a playoff game in three years, and have not been out of the first round in four years.
Their championship core is older, some of them are gone, and they still have some flaws on their roster that could hold them back.
But if recent NHL seasons have shown us anything it is that we should take the idea of “a championship window” and throw it in the garbage (and I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to referring to “windows” … it’s time to stop). The Pittsburgh Penguins’ championship window in the Sidney Crosby–Evgeni Malkin–Kris Letang era was thought to be closing … before they won two in a row. The Washington Capitals were thought to have missed their chance in the Alex Ovechkin era … before they finally won it all in 2018. Then this season we had the St. Louis Blues whose window, again, seemed to be perpetually closed … until they won.
The takeaway from all of those teams should probably be this: If you have elite players that are still capable of producing at elite levels, you probably still have a chance to win the big trophy at the end of the season as long as you can put the right players around them.