Projecting the Chicago Blackhawks lineup for next season
By Jimmy Lynch
Duncan Keith – Adam Boqvist
This pairing is good, and with Adam Boqvist a year older with a little more meat on his frame I think the Blackhawks have an excellent pairing here. Chicago could move Boqvist down and bring up Ian Mitchell in his place, but I believe the Blackhawks would be getting a rather similar player.
Calvin de Haan – Connor Murphy
This defensive pairing would be lights out. Murphy has quickly become the Blackhawks top shut down guy. While Calvin de Haan was an instrumental piece with the Carolina Hurricanes blue line last season. The Hurricanes defense has struggled without de Haan more than they will admit. Hopefully, de Haan can stay healthy next year and play alongside Murphy in the Blackhawks’ end.
Olli Maatta – Ian Mitchell
This line has some upside. They would play well with the puck in the offensive zone and would be able to make plays up and down the ice. While Maatta might not be the fastest player in the NHL, he does have a good stick.
The defense is missing a few players on my list. Brent Seabrook and Erik Gustafsson do not make appearances, and I do not have Slater Koekkoek either. I believe Koekkeok would fit well as a seventh defenseman slotting in for someone every once in a while. Seabrook on the other hand, just has too much going on to come back strong next season.
I hope we get to see the number seven back in the UC, but with two hip surgeries and a shoulder surgery that seems unlikely. If the Blackhawks re-sign Erik Gustafsson and he plays with the Blackhawks again I will be the first one to admit I am wrong, but then again Stan Bowman would be in the wrong for bringing him back because Gustafsson can not play in his end.
The defense is only as good as who is in the net. Let’s take a look at my predictions for next season’s starting goalie!