2013-14 Chicago Blackhawks Preview

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Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 19, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) celebrates with defenseman Duncan Keith (2) after scoring the game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins during the overtime period in game four of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

The Defense

The Good:  For starters, the Hawks have the same D-Corps as last year.  You may not remember this, but they were really good.  In fact, they helped Crow and Emery win the Jennings trophy (fewest goals allowed), which isn’t too shabby.  Keith had a great year and seems to be slowly coming back to Norris form.  With his minutes down and a steady D partner, I can only think he will continue to improve.  Seabrook had a rough regular season, no one is going to argue that, but we got to see his leadership shine during the playoffs.  Add on a few HUGE goals (game 7 OT Detroit), and you got yourself a confident Seabs.  I expect to see him in top form quickly.  The Hjalmarsson/Oduya line is projected to continue to be the 2nd pairing.  This line was a fairly solid line all year with the exception of Oduya.  Oduya seemed to make a horrendous play once every three games, and yet our record has been spectacular since he joined.

The Bad:  Brookbank remains as our seventh defenseman.  While I’ll admit he’s not as bad as Nick Boyton, he just seems to bring very little other than the ability to take punches to the face very well.  Though, realistically, he is exactly what you would expect for a seventh defenseman on any other team.

And the Questionable:  Right now Q is deciding on an eighth defenseman for the squad.  It’s down to Ryan Stanton and Mike Kostka.  As of this writing, Kostka seems to be favored to make the squad.  It’s not that I have any problem with getting some of our young defensemen up for experience per say, but it usually takes a defenseman longer to adjust to the NHL level.  I know he won’t be thrown to the wolves, and his ice time will be limited. Hopefully Roszival can stay healthy so we won’t need to rely on anyone outside of our top six defensemen.  Leddy lands in the questionable category for his disappearing act last year.  He has a lot of talent, and you have to believe he will be giving his all and staying focused.  If Leddy can just find some consistency, he will be a great puck moving defenseman.

The blueline looks prime to repeat the success of last year.  We may not have that star puck-mover yet, but we do have a very well balanced group of defensemen.

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Tags: Andrew Shaw Antti Raanta Chicago Blackhawks Corey Crawford Duncan Keith Jonathan Toews Marian Hossa NHL Training Camp Niklas Hjalmarsson Patrick Kane Patrick Sharp Preview

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