Chicago Blackhawks Progress Report- Defenseman Grades

By Keith Schultz
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Nov 2, 2013; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) celebrates with teammate Johnny Oduya (right) after scoring a goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Oduya– 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 2 Points +1

Johnny Oduya is the perfect compliment to Hjalmarsson and even though there seems to be some slip in his play he’s still a very good top 4 defenseman and a solid choice by Stan Bowman to keep on the roster in this groups last dance to win another Stanley Cup.  This is probably Oduya’s last season so a good run the rest of the way is expected by Blackhawks fans.

Grade– B

Michal Rozsival–  12 Games, 0 Goals, 1 Assists, +3

Rozsival has been in a platoon role with David Rundblad and his play has been very vanilla at best.  He was pretty bad at the start of the season while being better after missing some games due to an injury.  Rozsival for some reason is pretty trusted by Joel Quenneville so expect this rotation like last year until the games really mean something at the end of the year.

Grade– C-

Trevor van Riemsdyk– 18 games 0 Goals 1 Assist

TVR was playing some pretty solid defense as a rookie and it’s a real shame that he’s out for 3-4 months after surgery.  TVR could get beat in the corners by physical forwards but he was always well positioned on a nightly basis and could play with anyone in the defensive corps including Keith.  TVR has had injury issues early in his career so here’s to a successful recovery.

Grade– B+

David Rundblad– 9 games 0 Goals, 2 Assists, +2

Rundblad has the tools it is obvious but he has a bad case of the bad turnovers and doesn’t have the trust of Coach Quenneville. He was bad the first few outings, but like Rozsival his play has improved with more games under his belt.  Actually would like to see him get more ice time than he does get right now.

Adam Clendening-3 Games, 1 Goal, 1 Assist +2

Clendening is obviously more of an offensive threat than the other guys in the bottom pairing which was noticed when he landed on the #2 powerplay unit from day one.  He’s made a couple bad turnovers but wasn’t  punished by a bad goal going in the Blackhawks net.  It is good to see he’s in the TVR role though and not rotating in and out.

Grade– C+

What are thoughts on the defenseman 21 games into the season?

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