The Chicago Blackhawks didn’t win much in the 2017-18 campaign when it came to defense, so maybe this offseason will offer a glimmer of hope
It has been an uncharacteristically long offseason for the Chicago Blackhawks. The lack of news and swarm of rumors can only be temporarily mended by an exciting end to the Stanley Cup Final and the approaching 2018 Entry Level Draft.
The Blackhawks have the eighth overall pick this year, and the fans can only hope for an upgrade to the defensive efforts before the 2018-19 season begins.
The 2018 NHL Draft has plenty of defensive prospects for the Blackhawks to select. However, the ‘Hawks need defensive help now and with a handful of acquisition possibilities, the ‘Hawks should focus on adding a little experience to the defense and lock down that blue line once the market opens up. So, let’s consider this a quick wish list.
The list is topped with a name all too familiar with Blackhawks fans as of late: Carolina Hurricanes defender Justin Faulk. In 76 games last year, Faulk netted eight goals and 23 assists before sustaining an upper-body injury on March 31, keeping him from skating in the final three games.
However, Faulk could bring in the talent of that top-four defensive role the Blackhawks desperately need. Faulk’s contract is $4.8 million through the 2019-20 season. A potential deal for Faulk could include an active player as well as a prospect. The Blackhawks should be looking to move a few contracts before the 2018-19 season.
Da Windy City
The second possibility is about to find his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. John Carlson, having recently won with the Washington Capitals, is Washington’s best defender, totaling 15 goals and 53 assists during the regular season, and 5 goals and 15 assists in the postseason.
Carlson also will become a UFA this year. Carlson will undoubtedly be looking for a pay raise, and rightfully so. His play contributed largely to the Capitals’ success in both the regular season, through the playoffs and into Vegas to hoist the Stanley Cup.
The idea of Carlson and Duncan Keith on the same line is hard to pass up. If Washington doesn’t buy out Brooks Orpik and Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman can work his magic, Carlson will find success in Chicago helping rejuvenate the defensive efforts.
Calvin de Haan
Finally, with the New York Islanders organization beginning to clean house, there are six UFAs on their roster heading into this offseason. On that list is defenseman Calvin de Haan.
Despite having surgery back in January, and only registering 12 points total in 33 games, de Haan believes he will be ready for the 2018-19 season. With which organization remains undetermined.
De Haan is a UFA, and the ‘Hawks may be able to lock down the unproven yet determined blue liner for under $3 million a year. De Haan has shown that he has the potential to be a top defender. If Bowman does bring de Haan to Chicago, the opportunity to showcase his talent while helping anchor down a shaky blue line is a perfect opportunity.
There is no hiding the fact the Blackhawks really struggled last year on all fronts. Top offensive lines were struggling to generate scoring. Six different goaltenders were seen throughout the season, one being an accountant called in on emergency.
And the defense took a lot of the heat, resulting in 254 goals against on the season. The blue line needs more experience, and not shooting to fill a top-four role might be costly for the Blackhawks. If the organization and the fans want to find themselves in the playoffs, the defensive zone needs help. The defensive zone needs a new face with experience.