Mar 30, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars defensemanTrevor Daley
(6) skates against the Calgary Flames during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Flames defeated the Stars 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
No. 4: New Blood On The Blue Line
The Blackhawks’ defensive group has never been the area of focus when looked at by opposing teams, fans or analysts. It is true that the Blackhawks’ offense is among the best in the league, and that isn’t set to change this season. However, the ‘Hawks’ defensive core was set to lose a few key cogs this summer, so Stan Bowman did what he could to beef up the team’s blue line.
The biggest acquisition is that of Trevor Daley. Daley was the main part of the return from the Patrick Sharp trade, and as it turns out he will likely be slotted in to replace Johnny Oduya, who defected to Daley’s former team, the Dallas Stars, via free agency.
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Daley has never been considered a top-tier defenseman in the NHL, and he won’t have to be on the Blackhawks with a core that includes the likes of Niklas Hjalmarsson and Duncan Keith. However, playing with good players is almost a sure-fire way to elevate the play of oneself, and Daley will definitely benefit from the ice-time alongside Nos. 2, 4 and 7.
Trevor van Reimsdyk is by no means a newcomer to the Blackhawks. He has his name on the 2015 panel of the Stanley Cup. However, his time with the Blackhawks was limited last season due to injury, and with a full year ahead, with championship experience under his belt, TVR looks as promising as they come.
The Blackhawks’ sixth and seventh defensemen look to be nearly set in stone, with David Rundblad returning on a one-year contract and Ville Pokka likely to make the jump from the AHL ranks, where he spent last season. Neither will be a pushover, and with plenty of upside, both should be more than ready to pick up the slack come playoff time.
The Blackhawks’ defense core is by no means bulletproof, but at the top end they are among the best in the league. With solid play by the third pairing this season, any worries about the Blackhawks’ defense will be a thing of the past.
Next: Reason No. 3
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