Chicago Blackhawks fans haven’t been pleased with the play of Erik Gustafsson. It’s shown all of social media.
That isn’t too bad for a defenseman. He is an offensive defenseman. The problem is, he hasn’t played much defense. He was on the ice for the losing goal two nights ago in Minnesota. Due to all of the injuries on defense, he’s seen more ice time than expected.
For those who aren’t too keen on Gustafsson playing a lot of minutes, I’ve got bad news for you. Adam Boqvist left Wednesday’s game against the Bruins with an upper-body injury. Since Boqvist was injured, Gustafsson started to “quarterback” his power-play unit.
At the beginning of the season, there were talks of him being a forward. That still hasn’t happened, but the defensive mistakes are piling up. In all fairness, Gustafsson is fairly cheap. His contract is only $1,200,000 AAV. He will be a free agent in the summer.
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If there wasn’t such a lack of depth on defense, they could have shipped him out of Chicago months ago. A team at the deadline could be looking for his services. He is a cheap defenseman, who could be a serviceable rental for a team.
He also could be apart of a trade package the Blackhawks make as buyers at the deadline. That’s assuming they will add to their roster for a playoff push.
The pieces just aren’t there right now for him not to be a starter. The Blackhawks do have players that could take his spot, it’s just unlikely. The big reason why it’s unlikely is because of the team’s faith in him.
It might not be as easy as it seems to replace him. The team claiming Nick Seeler from the Wild is a good sign. He will probably get playing time due to Boqvist’s injury. If he impresses, he could be a continued starter for the team.