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Chicago Blackhawks: Opening Night Defensive Pairs

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Another day has passed this summer, and that means we are one day closer to NHL hockey once again. With most players enjoying their final weeks at home before heading out to their respective cities to prepare for training camp, there’s no denying it: excitement is building.

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It’s caught us here, too, at Blackhawk Up. The Blackhawks’ championship offseason full of moves has me dreaming up all the possibilities, and on Monday, I presented my predictions for the Blackhawks’ forward lines when they raise their banner against the New York Rangers on Oct. 7.

Today, it’s the blue line that’s captured my focus. The Blackhawks made just as many changes on the back end this offseason, and with several new faces, it certainly won’t be status quo the Blackhawks’ defensive corps. After making my predictions, I present them to you: my 2015 Opening night defensive pairs.

Third Pairing

David Rundblad-Trevor Van Riemsdyk

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The Blackhawks’ top four fields a ton of experience, and I believe that Joel Quenneville will tip his hand in that direction as the season gets underway. Van Riemsdyk had an injury-marred first season with the Blackhawks, but from what he did accomplish, he certainly has the potential to go up from here. Rundblad caught the ire of many Blackhawks’ fans last season, but with more balance on the blue line, Quenneville should be free to put him in a more suitable third-pairing role, instead of pairing him with the Blackhawks’ best to minimize the miscues.

This pairing should be adept in its own end, and with the group of forwards in front of it, the most important thing will be moving the puck up the ice. If they don’t chip in directly, that shouldn’t bother Blackhawks’ fans, as long as the puck isn’t in the net behind them too often, either.

Next: A look at the second pairing

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