The Chicago Blackhawks have been blessed with a lot of great defenseman, and one of the best offensive defenseman to play for the Hawks was Pat Stapleton.
Pat Stapleton arrived in Chicago during the 1965-66 season, and he quickly became one of the better offensive puck moving defensmen on the team.
Stapleton was very aggressive moving the puck and had a fantastic shot from the point which made him very valuable on the powerplay. Stapleton would pick up 30 or more assists in the first 7 seasons of his Blackhawks career. His best offensive season was in the 1968-69 season when he scored 6 goals and picked up 50 assists.
Just because Stapleton was good on the offensive end doesn’t mean he was a total slouch on the defensive end. Stapleton was a very nifty skater that mastered the poke check. He had the ability to get back on defense and not give up the middle of the ice.
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Of course, Stapleton’s best seasons were when he was paired with Bill White who was the stay at home defenseman to Stapleton’s offensive mind defenseman.
With Stapleton and White on the blue line the Chicago Blackhawks never missed the playoffs, and they made it to the Stanley Cup Final twice in 1971 and 1973 but both times as we all know the Chicago Blackhawks came up short with the 1971 loss being the biggest heartbreaker of all with a 2-0 lead on Chicago Stadium ice.
Stapleton like Bobby Hull would leave the Chicago Blackhawks for the Greener pastures of the WHA where he would end his career with the Cincinnati Stingers.
The Chicago Blackhawks wouldn’t make another Stanley Cup Final until 1992, and as we all know they wouldn’t win another Stanley Cup until 2010.
Stapleton was a fixture for those very good but not great 1970’s teams, and he ranks 17th all-time on my all-time list.
Only 17 days left until the Chicago Blackhawks kick off the 2017-2018 season with a matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center!