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5 Most Interesting Chicago Blackhawks Stories to Follow in 2014-15

Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Most Interesting Stories to Follow in 2014-15

Chicago Blackhawks 2014-15 5 Stories
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After falling to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, the Chicago Blackhawks are looking for some payback heading into the 2014-15 season. Here are the five most interesting team-related stories to follow this coming year.

5. Can Kris Versteeg Return to Form?

Kris Versteeg Chicago Blackhawks
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5. Can Kris Versteeg Return to Form?

Kris Versteeg Chicago Blackhawks
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Kris Versteeg was flat-out dreadful last season, clearly showing the aftereffects of a torn ACL from the previous March. Players generally take one full season to recover from that injury, and Versteeg's at that point now. How well (or how badly) he plays in 2014-15 will determine his future as a Blackhawk.

4. Nick Leddy's Future

Nick Leddy Chicago Blackhawks
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4. Nick Leddy's Future

Nick Leddy Chicago Blackhawks
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Nick Leddy has tantalizing potential, but he hasn't improved much at all since the 2011-12 season. The Blackhawks would probably elect to keep Johnny Oduya over him if Leddy's development arc stays stagnant. This season is Leddy's last chance to prove himself; both his and Oduya's contracts expire at the conclusion of 2014-15.

3. How Will Brad Richards Fit on the Second Line?

Brad Richards Chicago Blackhawks
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3. How Will Brad Richards Fit on the Second Line?

Brad Richards Chicago Blackhawks
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Compared to the second-line centers that the Blackhawks have had lately, an aging Brad Richards looks like Mario Lemieux. Richards will be an enormous improvement over Michal Handzus, and there isn't any question about that. It'll be interesting to see just how well he fits with Patrick Kane — another playmaker — since Joel Quenneville appears intent on playing them together.

2. Can Patrick Kane Make the Leap?

Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
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2. Can Patrick Kane Make the Leap?

Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
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Kane has shown flashes of being a top-three scorer for each of the last two seasons (including lockout-shortened 2012-13), but has yet to maintain an elite pace for an entire 82-game season. With a hefty, newly-signed contract in hand, Kane will be one of the most intriguing Blackhawks to watch this year. He has barely scratched his offensive potential.

1. Team Defense

Chicago Blackhawks Team Defense
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1. Team Defense

Chicago Blackhawks Team Defense
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Many point to Chicago's lack of center depth as a reason for its series loss to the Kings, and there is some degree of validity to that. Still, the chief cause of the Blackhawks falling short was their horrible team-wide own-zone play. All year long, it was a sharp contrast to the 2012-13 Chicago team that dominated the entire NHL defensively; if the Blackhawks can rediscover that level of play, they're the clear favorites for the Cup come June.

Sean Sarcu is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.