Chicago Blackhawks’ 6 Most Useful Departures To Have In 2017-18

WINNIPEG, MB - FEBRUARY 10: Niklas Hjalmarsson
WINNIPEG, MB - FEBRUARY 10: Niklas Hjalmarsson /
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It’s a belabored point on this blog and others that write about the Chicago Blackhawks: There are many former team members the franchise could use right about now. Today, I’ve decided to beat a dead horse.

I could spend this space talking about the Chicago Blackhawks’ training camp roster. I could use it to speak on promising prospect Alex DeBrincat, or questionable returning forward Patrick Sharp. Those are all worthwhile ventures, and I think some blog out there has written about those items of late.

But I’ve been on a pretty serious nostalgia kick this summer when it comes to the Blackhawks. If you read even half of my stuff, you know what I mean. I’m not about to break out of that just yet (the actual start of training camp should help).

The current-era Blackhawks have become known for constantly losing players to the salary cap crunch and trying to bring them back down the road. The former more so than the latter, but Kris Versteeg, Johnny Oduya, Brandon Saad and Sharp have created a pattern for the second point.

But not everyone can come back after they’ve departed the Blackhawks, and we wish that weren’t the case at times. I’m going to look at five former Blackhawks from the championship era (2009-10 season through 2016-17 season) who would be really helpful to this 2017-18 squad that is really seeking an identity.

Honorable mentions

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Dustin Byfuglien

This is only on the list if the Blackhawks could have him back as a forward. He’s pretty immobile at this stage of his career, which is exactly what Chicago doesn’t need on defense. But I still think he could be moderately useful for these current Blackhawks in his old role as a net-front presence forward. (Think the days of harassing Roberto Luongo.)

Michael Frolik

He’d make for a solid addition to the a bottom six that has about 10 underwhelming options vying for spots. The Blackhawks wouldn’t want to be paying him what Calgary currently is ($4.3 million cap hit per season), but for a reduced salary, he’d be a nice under-the-radar returnee.

Andrew Shaw

I don’t pine for Shaw quite as much as some Blackhawks fans, but there’s no denying he too would make a better bottom-six guy than several of Chicago’s current options. Shaw actually showed decent passing ability, a talent for threading needles with his shots and a nose for the net when he wasn’t trying to be the tough guy. Again, take him at a reduced salary from what he currently gets ($3.9 million per season from Montreal).

Scott Darling

Even as a backup, it’d be great to have Darling in a Blackhawks uniform today. Darling was a guy who stepped into the Stanley Cup Playoffs seemingly out of the blue and began turning himself into a starting goaltender. You’d take that experience to back up Corey Crawford over the limited options Chicago currently carries.