Stalberg came over from the Leafs still very raw, and with minimal NHL experience. Though he had unbelievable speed, he didn’t appear to have much else. His first season in Chicago resulted in 24 points, and a question of whether or not he’d even be back for this season.
The Hawks signed him to a two-year deal at a low price, and it’s a deal that has come to look like something of a bargain with how well Stalberg has performed in his second season.
He started off slow, but has 42 points on the year, including 21 goals. With the Blackhawks in need of secondary scoring, something that they lacked last season, he’s jumped into a big role for the Hawks.
It’s been great to see the evolution of Stalberg, from Luis Mendoza early on in the season, to a guy that can use his speed effectively to create scoring chances. He has the combination of size, at 6’3″, and speed that make him one of the more dangerous forwards in the league, when he learns to use that speed, as he has.
Stalberg has managed to find success in nearly every line he has joined this season, including recently where he has thrived on the second line with Marcus Kruger and Patrick Sharp. That move helped him turn in a strong month of March, which included four goals and nine points.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Stalberg’s strong year is the fact that not a single one of his 42 points have come on the power play. They’ve all come at full strength.
No one is mistaking him as a part of the Hawks’ core group, but Stalberg has shown that he is a big key to the Blackhawks this season, providing the secondary scoring that they greatly lacked last season. As he continues to improve, and use that speed effectively, his numbers should continue to improve and he’ll easily erase his first season in Chicago from the minds of pretty much everyone.