Chicago Blackhawks: Analyzing Connor Murphy’s Preseason, What To Expect

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 25: Connor Murphy
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 25: Connor Murphy /

In replacement of Niklas Hjalmarsson, defenseman Connor Murphy is going to need to contribute a lot this season for the Chicago Blackhawks. With a lot of pressure and a big hole in the Blackhawks’ roster, there’s a lot more than shot blocking that he’ll need to bring.

With the 2017-18 preseason in the books and the regular season coming this week, fans were able to watch, learn and make judgements about the roster that will make up the 2017-18 Chicago Blackhawks.

One player who stood out on the blue line was Connor Murphy, also known as Niklas Hjalmarsson’s replacement. Here’s why.

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Shot-blocking extravaganza

Murphy wasn’t the best defenseman this preseason, but he was an important one. In his four games, Murphy blocked seven shots and stood out as the team’s third-best defensive player — right behind Brent Seabrook and John Hayden, the latter of whom played a great two-way game.

Murphy’s sacrifice of the body is exactly what the Blackhawks needed in someone who is replacing Hammer.

Although Hjalmarsson was as tough as nails and was able to almost shrug off a 90 mph slapshot to the body, he had a vital position in protecting Corey Crawford from danger. If Murphy is to take this position with high demeanor, he’s going to have to get gritty and get tough.

Active on the blue line

With a pretty good offensive lineup, the ’Hawks will be at a heavy advantage if they can get someone to step up on the blue line and contribute offensively while being able to defend properly. This can be achieved by not only stepping up with shots from the point, but by also being active in pinching on the boards at the right time to keep possession.

Although Murphy had a minus-2 rating this preseason, he was pretty effective in many areas on the ice. When he was given the task to keep the puck in the offensive zone or chip the puck in, he managed to do so collectively and confidently.

Throughout his four games, it was obvious that he was fitting into the role with some ease. However, he’ll most likely have to adjust when the games count.

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It’s going to be great to see what Murphy can contribute as one of the ‘Hawks’ most reliable defensemen. It’s up to him how he manages this incredible role on such a great team.