Chicago Blackhawks Defensive Pairings Battle: BU Vs. Joel Quenneville

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 08: Ryan Ellis /
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At Blackhawk Up, we love to speculate about what lineup the Chicago Blackhawks will throw on the ice. Today, it’s time to take a look at our suggested defensive pairings and compare them to what coach Joel Quenneville will likely deploy to start 2017-18.

Last week, Blackhawk Up’s Keith Schultz had some fun predicting the Chicago Blackhawks’ forward combinations for the 2017-18 season while comparing them to the likely threesomes coach Joel Quenneville will actually use.

Today, we’re going to do the same thing with the Blackhawks’ defensive unit. There aren’t quite as many guys to pick from, obviously, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be some variation and consternation.

Now, there’s always the possibility the Blackhawks will re-sign Brian Campbell when Marian Hossa is put on long-term injured reserve toward the start of the season.

I think, while Campbell wasn’t super impressive last season, the Blackhawks would have no qualms about signing a veteran defenseman who knows their system to a small contract, especially amid this offseason of upheaval.

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However, for these pairings, I’m going to stick with guys who are currently on the roster. General manager Stan Bowman has talked about the team trending toward trusting its youth, and adding Campbell would go against that. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Campbell back with the team next season, but I’m just going to stick with the guys who are already on the roster.

I’ve got the following guys to choose from, according to the Blackhawks’ website:

Gustav Forsling

Duncan Keith

Michal Kempny

Connor Murphy

Jordan Oesterle

Michal Rozsival

— Jan Rutta

Brent Seabrook

I’ll start by saying I don’t think Oesterle will be with the NHL club out of training camp. You may recall the Blackhawks signed him when free agency opened last month. He’s a former Edmonton Oiler who has spent most of his professional hockey career below the NHL level, and I think he can be one of the first call-ups if the Blackhawks need one on defense.

So I’ve got seven other guys to pair off. Let’s get to it.