What the Chicago Blackhawks defense should look like next season

Duncan Keith #2, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Duncan Keith #2, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Blackhawks defense used to be their biggest strength. With Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, and Oduya the Blackhawks were unstoppable. Now it is time to figure out what the next group of Blackhawks defensemen will look like in a few years.

The Chicago Blackhawks have done a good job trying to draft high-end defensive prospects the past few seasons. Players like Ian Mitchell, Adam Boqvist, and Nicolas Beaudin all have a chance at being NHL stars within the next few years. However, what is our group going to look like next season?

Calvin de Haan, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Olli Maatta, and Connor Murphy are all under contract next season. That is five players the Blackhawks are going to have to incorporate on their blueline unless they plan to trade away someone. Now, I know there have been some conversations of Seabrook potentially being done at the end of this season, but I do not know if that is something we can really bank on.

We mentioned Boqvist, Mitchell, and Beaudin as the Blackhawks top three defensive prospects moving forward, but players like Lucas Carlsson and Dennis Gilbert also could play as a seventh defenseman if the team needs them next season. So with all of that in mind, I think there will be change.

No one is safe on the blue line heading into next year. I would like to see the Blackhawks make some room for their new young guns wherever and however they can. I think that Connor Murphy and Duncan Keith are the only two defensemen from that current group I would try and protect. Maatta, de Haan, and Seabrook should all be made available should a trade come about. The Blackhawks blue line is just too crowded.

Stan Bowman brought in too many defensemen to try and fix their problems defensively, and most have been mediocre at best. The Blackhawks are never going to be able to find a trade that involves Brent Seabrook, so it is more likely he would just be on injury reserved should he decide to hang up his skates early.

Finding a trade for Olli Maatta might not be as difficult. Maatta has won two Stanley Cups, and I could see him working on a team like Toronto. He is skilled offensively but is just too slow to help the Blackhawks. de Haan has shown in the past he is a great defenseman, but he has had some injury problems the last few seasons which make it seem like he can not continue to play at such a high level throughout the entire season.

With all of that in mind, here is how I would like to see the Blackhawks blue line look next season.

Duncan Keith – Adam Boqvist

Ian Mitchell – Connor Murphy

Lucas Carlsson – Dennis Gilbert

Seventh Defensemen: Brent Seabrook

Things are going to change a lot before next season, but I think if this blue line is ever going to get better we are going to need to see some change. Duncan Keith can not continue to be the top guy. He is getting older, and honestly, I think he would be a lot better if he was a top-four guy instead of the number one guy still.

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The Blackhawks are never going to make the playoffs unless they can fix their issues in their own end, so let’s get the ball rolling next season with some change on the blue line!