The Butterfly Effect of the Penguins’ Loss to the Blackhawks

the butterfly effect of the penguins’ loss to the blackhawks

The Florida Panthers will appear in their first Stanley Cup Final since 1996, and in a roundabout way, they have the Pittsburgh Penguins to thank for that opportunity.

Looking even deeper, there are a few teams that have the Penguins to thank for possible franchise-altering summers.

Thanks to one single game in April, the Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Chicago Blackhawks all had their futures changed, but they didn’t know it at the time.

The story starts when the Blackhawks took on the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena; it was the Penguins’ final home game of the season and they needed a win to al but solidify their spot in the 2023 Playoffs.

The Penguins entered the game as heavy favorites, but failed to defeat one of the worst teams in the NHL.

That loss didn’t knock the Penguins completely out of the running for the postseason, but it made it much less likely, and guaranteed the Panthers their spot.

The New York Islanders won the final game of their regular season, solidifying their spot in the postseason, knocking the Penguins out for the first time since 2006.

How did this single loss to the Blackhawks cause massive changes to multiple teams? Let’s run through what’s happened to each team since that loss.


On the very first day of the offseason, the Penguins fired general manager Ron Hextall, president of hockey operations Brian Burke, and assistant general manager Chris Pryor.

The Penguins are still to name replacements in the front office, but the loss may have done them a favor in the long run.


If the Blackhawks lost to the Penguins, they would have been dealt a different position in the NHL Draft Lottery.

Instead, thanks to that win, they fell into the perfect position to net them the first overall pick at the 2023 NHL Draft.

The Blackhawks are likely to take Connor Bedard, a prospect many are considering to be a franchise talent and restore the glory that used to surround Chicago hockey.

Maple Leafs

For the first time since 2004, the Maple Leafs won a playoff series; that’s a great start to the postseason for a team severely lacking in playoff success.

That was all she wrote for the Maple Leafs, however, as they ran into a buzz saw of a Panthers team, who took the series in five games.

Remember, the Panthers wouldn’t have even made the playoffs if the Penguins defeated the Blackhawks.

With the sour taste of a second round exit, the Maple Leafs decided it was time for a change in the front office.

Toronto announced they would part ways with general manager Kyle Dubas, one of the top GMs in the NHL.

While nothing is yet official, but the Penguins seem to be on the verge of hiring Dubas for their front office, so in this sense, they did themselves a favor by losing to Chicago.

The Maple Leafs, however, now have to quickly find a new general manager that could come in and force major changes to the organization.


The darling of the postseason, the Panthers have defeated the first, second, and third seeds in the Eastern Conference on route to the Stanley Cup Final.

It may sound strange to say now since they’ve gone on an unreal tear, but they shouldn’t have even made the playoffs.

The Penguins were such heavy favorites against the Blackhawks, that it should have been Pittsburgh taking that final spot in the East.

It’s highly unlikely the Penguins would have gone on this storybook run, but it at least wouldn’t have forced this ripple effect that has hit more teams than expected.

The Panthers have a legitimate chance at winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history; while they deserve all of the credit for their unexpected run, it wouldn’t hurt them to send the Penguins a holiday card with a thank you note.

Make sure you bookmark Inside the Penguins for the latest news, exclusive interviews, breakdowns and so much more!

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