Blackhawks: Did we judge Erik Gustafsson too hard?

Erik Gustafsson #56, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Erik Gustafsson #56, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

When looking at the salary cap for next season and how little space the Chicago Blackhawks have, it makes sense that the Blackhawks had no space to keep Erik Gustafsson, however, we really let him go too easily.

Erik Gustafsson put up 60 points in 79 games last season, and 18 of those points were on the power play. Gustafsson also managed to put up 26 points in 59 games this season before being traded away. Those 26 points might not have been a career-high, but he did help the team.

I think a lot of Blackhawks fans were upset when we only traded Gustafsson for a third-round pick. If we traded Gustafsson last season or last offseason it might have been a first-round pick for the defenseman. We all knew Gustafsson was not as great as last season put on, but he could have been a weapon on our offense.

I know you all remember how good our power play was last season throughout the second half of the season. That was in large part thanks to Gustafsson who was the quarterback on the Blackhawks power play. No matter how good you are offensively you need to show up in the defensive zone too. Gustafsson was slow and gave up a lot of goals, but he also factored into a lot of goals on the offense. When we talk about Erik Gustafsson I hope we talk about the good things Gustafsson has done, before the bad.

One of the biggest reasons the Blackhawks traded Gustafsson is all of the other offensive defensemen the Blackhawks have on their roster. We have Adam Boqvist, Olli Maatta, Ian Mitchell, and now Wyatt Kalynuk all getting ready to take an offensive role on the defense. While I wish we had Gustafsson on our roster for the play-in round, one of our other defensemen will step up!

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Gustafsson might not be the best defenseman in Blackhawks’ history, but he did serve a role in the last few seasons. He made the Blackhawks power play great last season, and he has worked time and time again to improve his play. Thank you for your time in Chicago Erik, and good luck in Calgary or wherever you end up next season!