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Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ Retooling Now Points to Defense

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CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 10: Stan Bowman, Chicago Blackhawks senior vice president and general manager, speaks to the media in between periods of the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Minnesota Wild at the United Center on January 10, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 10: Stan Bowman, Chicago Blackhawks senior vice president and general manager, speaks to the media in between periods of the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Minnesota Wild at the United Center on January 10, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – NOVEMBER 27: Alex DeBrincat #12 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks to pass against the Vegas Golden Knights at the United Center on November 27, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

No time like the present

In my recent article, I highlighted the fact that the Chicago Blackhawks will need their young talent to grow up quickly. To repeat, this is the result of having to rely upon cheaper young talent to support the core due to salary cap restraints.

But that core is on the wrong side of age 30, and just can’t “flip the switch” to take over games as they’ve done in the past.

Scott Powers from The Athletic did a mini rundown of how many high draft pick players have not made it past their entry level contracts to remain with the Blackhawks. Take a look:

"“Dylan Olsen (first round, 2009), Stephen Johns (second round, 2010), Phillip Danault (first round, 2011), Adam Clendening (second round, 2011), Brandon Saad (second round, 2011), Teuvo Teravainen (first round, 2012), Hartman (first round, 2013) and Schmaltz (first round, 2014) were all traded by the Blackhawks while in their first contracts.”"

To maximize the peak years of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the roster for the past two seasons and the next three should be loaded up with great support players to contend for more Stanley Cup championships.

More from Blackhawk Up

Bowman needs to understand that the clock is ticking with these two elite cornerstone players.  Once they’re in decline, he can throw in the towel.

Henri Jokiharju has surprised us with his quick transition to the NHL and Duncan Keith has played better with him than with Gustav Forsling.

However, Jokiharju is young and still prone to making occasional rookie mistakes. What Keith needs is a legitimate number 1 or solid number 2 defenseman to play with.

Furthermore, the team needs shot blockers to suppress the absolute onslaught of shots that Corey Crawford and Cam Ward have faced.

Unfortunately, Stan Bowman never pulled off the right deal this past summer to accomplish this. Free agent signing Brendan Manning could not beat out Radko Gudas for a spot on the Flyers defense, and that says a lot.

The elite draft picks Adam Boqvist, Nicolas Beaudin, and Ian Mitchell aren’t going to show up here this season to help out the defense either. Connor Murphy is nearing a return to the line up, but how he will fit in is anyone’s guess.

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