5. Connor Murphy
Nothing showcased how much the Chicago Blackhawks need Connor Murphy quite like when he was hurt. When Murphy was out of the lineup, the Blackhawks defense struggled that much more. We went from being a team with one decent pairing to a team that just couldn’t play defensively.
Murphy has not always been the most liked Blackhawks’ defenseman. He was given almost an impossible job; replace a fan favorite defenseman in Niklas Hjalmarsson. No one can fill Hjalmarsson’s shoes (or maybe skates) and because of this, Murphy was criticized for not being as good as Hjalmarsson.
Now, however, he has grown and he continues to show that the Blackhawks need Connor Murphy. Murphy has the best Corsi and Fenwick percentage on the team for the blue line. He is doing so despite starting most of his shifts (57.1%) in the defensive zone.
If the Chicago Blackhawks are going to succeed the rest of the season, and I simply mean winning games and not making the playoffs, they are going to need Connor Murphy to bring his A game.