Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks: Redrafting Core Players Since 2002

By Colin Likas
Nov 5, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and goalie Corey Crawford (50) celebrate the win over the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Blackhawks defeat the Stars 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and goalie Corey Crawford (50) celebrate the win over the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Blackhawks defeat the Stars 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 23, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) controls the puck in the second period of the game against San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks with a score of 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

Duncan Keith

Selected: 54th overall in 2002 draft

Instead, Blackhawks select: D Johnny Boychuk (61st overall, Colorado Avalanche)

Boychuk was the second defenseman taken after the Blackhawks selected Keith, the first being unknown Denis Grot (Vancouver, 55th overall). While Chicago could’ve selected forwards Matt Stajan or Jiri Hudler, we’ll stick with improving the blue line.

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Boychuk is best known for his work with the Boston Bruins, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 2011. The blueliner now plays alongside former Blackhawk Nick Leddy and others with the New York Islanders.

While Boychuk is a solid defender, posting a career Corsi-for of 53.6 percent and tallying 23 or more points each of the last three seasons, he’d be no replacement for iron man Keith. A two-time Norris Trophy winner and one-time Conn Smythe winner, Keith jumped in with the Blackhawks in 2005-06 and quickly became the de facto No. 1 defenseman.

His connection with Seabrook was also critical to much of the Blackhawks’ early success in this current era. It’s unlikely Boychuk and Seabrook would’ve had the same chemistry. Thus, the Blackhawks definitely would’ve suffered drafting Boychuk instead of Keith.

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