Lucas Carlsson is a bright spot for the Chicago Blackhawks

Lucas Carlsson #46, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Lucas Carlsson #46, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

There’s been a lot of doom and gloom around the Blackhawks this year, but they do have a success story.

Over the last few seasons, the Blackhawks have been struggling to draft and develop players in their own system, especially defensemen. This makes Lucas Carlsson a much-needed success story for Chicago.

First of all, he makes the team better. From watching his play, he seems to make simple, effective choices of how to move the puck out of the defensive zone. Chicago has lacked this, and at times have really been trapped in their own d-zone. Even though he has only played a handful of games in the NHL, his impact has been meaningful.

Carlsson won’t put up impressive offensive numbers. He hasn’t in Rockford where he’s been playing the last two seasons, but so far that doesn’t really seem to make a difference. His point production isn’t why he’s valuable to the organization.

Second, and maybe even the most important part of Carlsson’s rise is that he was actually drafted by the Blackhawks. They picked him in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, and he then proceeded to play his way up through the system.

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Aside from Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Henri Jokiharju for the last several years, the Blackhawks haven’t iced a defenseman from their own system. Jokiharju is now playing for Buffalo-so I’m not really counting him here.

In 2017-2018 the opening night roster was:

Forwards: Artem Anisimov, Lance Bouma, Ryan Hartman, John Hayden, Patrick Kane,  Tanner Kero,  Richard Panik, Brandon Saad, Nick Schmaltz, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Tommy Wingels.

Defenseman: Keith, Michal Kempny, Connor Murphy, Jordan Oesterle, Jan Rutta, Seabrook.

Goaltenders: Corey Crawford, Anton Forsberg

Injured: Marian Hossa, Nathan Noel, Michal Rozsival, Luc Snuggerud, Jordin Tootoo.

*Luc Snuggerrud was also a Blackhawks draft pick, but since he was injured I’m not counting him here.

In 2018-2019 the opening night roster was:

Forwards: Artem Anisimov, Alex DeBrincat, John Hayden, Luke Johnson, Dominik Kahun, David Kampf, Patrick Kane, Marcus Kruger, Chris Kunitz, Andreas Martinsen, Brandon Saad, Nick Schmaltz and Jonathan Toews.

Defensemen: Brandon Davidson, Erik Gustafsson, Henri Jokiharju, Duncan Keith, Brandon Manning, Jan Rutta and Brent Seabrook.

Goaltenders: Anton Forsberg and Cam Ward.

Defensemen Connor Murphy and Gustav Forsling will begin the season with an injured non-roster designation. Additionally, goaltender Corey Crawford will remain on injured reserve.

The current season’s opening night roster was:

Forwards: Drake Caggiula, Ryan Carpenter, Alex DeBrincat, David Kampf, Patrick Kane, Dominik Kubalik, Alex Nylander, Brendan Perlini, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Zack Smith, Dylan Strome, and Jonathan Toews.

Defensemen: Calvin de Haan, Erik Gustafsson, Duncan Keith, Slater Koekkoek, Olli Maatta and Brent Seabrook.

Goaltenders: Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner.

You’d have to go back to 2016-2017 when Niklas Hjalmarsson was still playing for Chicago to find a d-man the Blackhawks drafted that wasn’t Keith or Seabrook. Developing players they’ve drafted has clearly been an issue for the Blackhawks.

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Here’s hoping Carlsson sticks, and that he’s the first of many more players that the Blackhawks can bring up through their own system.