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How the Chicago Blackhawks Are Affected By Seattle Expansion

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CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 27: William Carrier #28 of the Vegas Golden Knights and Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks skate around the boards in the third period at the United Center on November 27, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 27: William Carrier #28 of the Vegas Golden Knights and Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks skate around the boards in the third period at the United Center on November 27, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 17: Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) celebrates his goal with center Jonathan Toews (19) during a game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Minnesota Wild on December 17, 2017, at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

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Now that we understand the rules of the expansion draft — and the unfortunate circumstances it puts the Blackhawks in — I’ll give you what I would do if I were in charge of the team at the time.

The task is a tough one and, credit where credit is due, Bowman did an excellent job when making these decisions ahead of the Golden Knight’s draft.

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The Chicago Blackhawks will have another set of difficult decisions in regards to who to protect, so I’ll do my best at making them here:

Forwards

  1. Kane
  2. Toews
  3. Alex DeBrincat
  4. Dylan Strome 
  5. Artemi Panarin
  6. Brandon Saad
  7. Dylan Sikura

Defensemen

  1. Keith
  2. Seabrook
  3. Henri Jokiharju

Goaltenders

  1. Collin Delia

Fortunately, most of the supposed top-four of the future are protected by the two-year rule, meaning Boqvist, Beaudin and Mitchell are all artificially protected. I don’t imagine anyone taking Keith or Seabrook off Bowman’s hands, meaning they’re forced into being protected by the Blackhawks.

No one knows if Connor Murphy or Gustav Forsling will still be in a red sweater come that summer, but I’d certainly protect Jokiharju over either of them regardless.

As for the offense, the team has no choice when it comes to bringing back Kane and Toews. Additionally, DeBrincat and Strome look to be no brainers at this point as well. I may have jumped on the gun on Panarin, but I truly believe he will be back in Chicago after this summer.

The last two forwards are perhaps the toughest decision in all of this. What the Blackhawks roster looks like come the summer of 2021 is one giant question mark, but I am going to roll the dice and say that Sikura will turn into legitimate forwards by then.

Brendan Perlini was a candidate to be chosen over Saad, however Saad’s style of play is very unique (and more valuable, in my opinion) by comparison. If Seattle wanted a forward they’d choose between Dominik Kahun or Perlini and if they wanted a defensemen they’d have to choose between Forsling or Murphy. Losing one of these four is a price I’m okay paying.

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Finally, Crawford will be working his way into his late 30s by the time this draft comes around, so I’m going to make the prediction that Collin Delia will be the Blackhawks goaltender who steps up by that time as I imagine the Hawks could find themselves in a similar situation as the Pittsburgh Penguins were with Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray.

Regardless of how it all pans out, this expansion greatly impacts how the Chicago Blackhawks make their decisions moving forward and it will be very fun to see how it all shakes out.

Who are your picks for who the Blackhawks will protect? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

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