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Chicago Blackhawks Roundtable: Old Defensemen And Exciting Prospects

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Mar 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya (27) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya (27) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /
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Colin Likas

Question 1: The answer would have to be Brian Campbell. Johnny Oduya looked really rough, especially against good competition, in his return to Chicago. He was constantly beaten for pucks along the boards and couldn’t respond quickly enough to get into appropriate position in key situations. Plus, he’ll cost the most of the trio.

Michal Rozsival just can’t come back to this team again. He offers nothing and is blocking shots for younger guys to try and play. It’s not as though the Blackhawks’ system is overflowing with successful young defensive talents, but I’d rather give them a look for the first or second time than seeing Rozsival struggle around for the ice for the umpteenth time.

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Campbell served well as a third-pairing defenseman last season. When he was put in appropriate depth, he didn’t look nearly as washed-up as he did earlier in the season. Campbell has a little more boost from his legs than either Oduya or Rozsival, and he can move the puck better than both of those guys as well. He’ll take another low-cost deal or retire, so it should suit the Blackhawks well enough.

Question 2: I get the benefit of seeing everyone else’s answers before posting mine, so I’ll mix things up. John Hayden should still be at the prospect camp, as he played just a handful of games with the big club coming right out of Yale. And it’ll be interesting to see how he fares against similar competition after playing well up in competition during his first brief NHL stint.

Hayden is going to be one of the more physical, powerful forwards the Blackhawks can deploy in any sort of camp this offseason, and his youth means he’s also a guy who can still be molded into a more complete NHL player.

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Hayden showed tons of promise in his quick stint, but he has holes in his games as well — as any player right out of college would at the NHL level. I’m interested to see how he develops, starting this offseason.

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