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Chicago Blackhawks’ Defensive Analysis After Early Postseason Exit

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Mar 19, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4), defenseman Duncan Keith (2) and teammates celebrate a goal during the third period of the game against the Colorado Avalanche at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4), defenseman Duncan Keith (2) and teammates celebrate a goal during the third period of the game against the Colorado Avalanche at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 19, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4), defenseman Duncan Keith (2) and teammates celebrate a goal during the third period of the game against the Colorado Avalanche at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4), defenseman Duncan Keith (2) and teammates celebrate a goal during the third period of the game against the Colorado Avalanche at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Blackhawks are out of this year’s playoffs, but it’s never too early to start looking toward next season

We all know by now that the Chicago Blackhawks were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Nashville Predators in four short games.  During this series, the ’Hawks’ defense as a group looked old and slow.

A few days ago, I discussed all forwards, and how they may or may not be able to contribute to the team next season.  Today, I’d like to do the same with the defensive group.

As discussed in the last post, this team is built around its core players, most of whom have hoisted three Stanley Cups.  But that success doesn’t come without a price.  These core players need to be compensated with fat salaries, and most of them have no-movement clauses, or limited-movement clauses.

With salary cap limitations, this makes it very difficult to continually build a competitive team around them.  So once again, let’s start with the members of the core on defense.

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