Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Reasons For Optimism In 2016-17

By Gail Kauchak
Apr 15, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates with Patrick Kane (88) and Artem Anisimov (15) after scoring the game-winning goal during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks won the game 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 15, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) celebrates with Patrick Kane (88) and Artem Anisimov (15) after scoring the game-winning goal during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks won the game 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 9, 2016; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell (51) skates before a game against the Carolina Hurricanes at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports /

2.  Bolstered blue line

It’s no secret the Chicago Blackhawks’ brass decided to go “all in” on defense this year. Because of salary cap issues, they couldn’t concentrate on both offense and defense; so they chose to strengthen the latter.

With the signings of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, they have significantly reinforced a blue line that struggled all last season due to lack of depth.

Veterans Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook all had to pull a lot of weight last year. Now they are reinforced with these newcomers who should help take off some of the pressure.

There is also Trevor van Riemsdyk, who had a fairly solid year last year. He should be able to sustain more success this season. And then there is the veteran presence of Michal Rozsival, and the youngsters Erik Gustafsson and Viktor Svedberg. Wait; I just morphed into the negative post. Sorry, more to follow.

Next: Reason No. 3: On Goaltending

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