Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks Coach Jeremy Colliton Trying Drastically New Lineup

By Samuel Boland
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 08: Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton during a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Chicago Blackhawks on November 8, 2018, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 08: Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton during a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Chicago Blackhawks on November 8, 2018, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks
ST. PAUL, MN – OCTOBER 11: Henri Jokiharju #28 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates with the puck in front of Cam Ward #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks as Charlie Coyle #3 of the Minnesota Wild defends during a game between the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Black Hawks at Xcel Energy Center on October 11, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Wild defeated the Black Hawks 4-3 in overtime.(Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Defensive Pairings

Incase you’ve forgotten, they are as follows:

  1. Keith-Seabrook
  2. Gustafsson-Jokiharju
  3. Davidson-Rutta

This season is the first time Duncan Keith has had a consistently good first pairing partner with him since Brent Seabrook was last a legitimate top pairing defensemen.

Unfortunately, Seabs is no longer capable of playing that many minutes effectively. Henri Jokiharju, on the other hand, can handle those minutes and do so while playing very solid on both sides of the ice. The fact that Jokiharju and Seabrook are switched is ridiculous to me.

While this is primarily because of Seabrook’s current ability, we must remember that Jokiharju is still a rookie who makes mistakes.

Likewise, Erik Gustafsson has proven lately that, although he’s able to be a solid no. 3 defensemen for this team, he’s still going to commit his fair share of bad turnovers in his own end.

So, if someone can explain to me how two inexperienced, occasionally turnover prone defensemen playing together in a second pairing role is a good idea, I’d be very appreciative.

I like Brandon Davidson over Brandon Manning, but the third pairing still gives me shivers. As always, if this team wants to be successful they are going to need to have a better defensive group than this.

Keith and Jokiharju are a somewhat passable one and two, but the bottom-four need help and quickly.

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These new lines and pairings are some of the biggest changes to date in the very young Jeremy Colliton era. Monday against the Carolina Hurricanes is their first chance, and his, to prove that these aren’t all as crazy as they appear to be.

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