The Chicago Blackhawks are embarking on a rebuild, and they want their young coach to be a part of it. The team announced Tuesday that Jeremy Colliton has received a two-year extension that runs through the 2022-23 season.
Colliton is starting his third season with the Blackhawks after replacing legend Joel Quenneville. Chicago made the playoffs last season under the expanded format due to the pandemic and upset the Oilers in the preliminary round. They lost to Vegas in the first round.
"Jeremy has shown an innate ability to develop young talent throughout his two seasons as head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks," Blackhawks president of hockey operations Stan Bowman said in a statement. "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."
In what was already going to be a year of change, the Blackhawks have been hit with some bad luck as well. The team initially said it would not re-sign goalie Corey Crawford -- instead giving an opportunity to youngster Collin Delia, Malcolm Subban and Kevin Lankinen. Crawford signed with New Jersey but then abruptly retired.
Just before training camp, longtime captain Jonathan Toews announced that he would be out indefinitely with an illness that caused him to lose energy.
Former No. 3 pick Kirby Dach was going to get a much bigger role, likely as Chicago's second-line center, but he broke his wrist at the world juniors and may miss the season.
He's not the only youngster hurt. Forward Alexander Nylander injured his knee in last season's playoffs and had surgery this fall. He's out for the year.
The Blackhawks then are patching together a lineup of the remaining young players and those trying to make a comeback. Defenseman Brent Seabrook is coming off multiple surgeries but hasn't yet joined camp.
Forward Andrew Shaw is skating after missing most of last season with concussion issues.
So Colliton will be challenged to compete in a Central Division that was revamped due to the pandemic and will likely be very competitive.
The 35-year-old got into coaching early after his career was cut short due to concussions. He coached in Europe and then with the Hawks' AHL team in Rockford before getting the job behind the Chicago bench.