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Chicago Blackhawks’ Potential Roster Heading Into 2020 Offseason

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CHICAGO, IL - MAY 27: Goalie Corey Crawford
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 27: Goalie Corey Crawford /
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Defense

In the forwards section, we had a little extra money free up with trading off Anisimov.  I believe the other aspect of this trade is extra room will need to be free for Bowman to fix up the blue line.

Three players — Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Connor Murphy — have contracts extending past the 2020-21 season, and you can expect all three to still be on the team. That is unless Bowman finds a suitor for an aging Seabrook, who is on the most expensive contract among the ‘Hawks defensemen. I highly doubt this will happen and expect Seabrook to still be with the team heading into 2020-21.

You could raise concern over Keith being 37 when the 2020-21 season comes along, but Keith has done nothing to show he will be slowing down and has continued to prove he is the best-conditioned player on the ice. I’m banking on the fact that a 37-year-old Keith can still play.

I do think the Blackhawks are going to find the 2017-18 season difficult on the blue line and they will likely be looking for help on defense in the coming years. Based off Anisimov getting traded in the summer of 2019, according to my prediction, I’ll make that the offseason they bring on another piece.

And before you get all excited and see the names Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson as free agents in two years, the ‘Hawks will not be in the running to add any of these players, if any of them even see free agency (which they likely won’t).

The name I would love to see the ‘Hawks make a run at is Anton Stralman. Stralman is a very good defenseman who I discussed a few weeks back in my article about Seabrook’s contract. He will be a free agent in the summer of 2019 and will be turning 33 that summer. While Tampa Bay will certainly want to re-sign the defenseman, they have a much bigger fish to fry in Nikita Kucherov.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Lightning are already getting near the top of the current cap with only about $3 million in space. Kucherov will be turning 26 in the summer of 2019 and will be due a raise from the $4.77 million AAV on his current contract.

Kucherov is one of the premiere offensive players in the league, and you can expect his contract could easily be in the $9 million range. 

With that big of a hit to re-sign Kucherov, the Lightning may not be able to get Stralman under contract. Enter the ‘Hawks, who love his possession numbers and reliability. They give him a five-year deal and a no-trade clause (because why wouldn’t Bowman) and bring him on to shore up their defense.

That is, unless the Anisimov trade I am predicting is all to make room to bring Niklas Hjalmarsson back to Chicago. After all, Bowman loves bringing back his former players. Maybe playing two years on a subpar hockey team in the desert will have the Swedish defenseman longing for Chicago winters and willing to take a discount.

After this, I think the ‘Hawks fill out the rest of the starting defense with a couple prospects they are developing. First, Henri Jokiharju, the team’s first-round pick at this past July’s draft, will be cracking the lineup and trying to make an impact by the time the 2020-21 season rolls around.

After Jokiharju, Chad Krys is the other youngster who I can see playing a major role on the 2020-21 ‘Hawks team. He isn’t quite ready for the NHL yet, but will definitely have his shot by 2020-21. Luc Snuggerud is the last possible defenseman you could see suiting up come 2020-21, depending on how Jokiharju and Krys develop and play. 

Michael Kempny could certainly still be around if he ends up having a big year this coming season, but I am not sure he is in the future mix with this team, especially with the limited amount of play he saw a season ago. The 2017-18 season will be a make-or-break year for him.

And of course, somewhere on this squad will be Michal Rozsival. Just give in. He’s never leaving.

Here’s the defensive pairings the ‘Hawks put out going into 2020-21:

Keith – Stralman

Murphy – Seabrook

Krys – Jokiharju

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