Key 2: Keep up last year’s effort
One of Chicago’s biggest problems in 2019-2020 was consistency from one game to the next. Even the team’s best players seemed to have nights that made you scratch your head, and then other nights where they were worldbeaters. Calvin de Haan was certainly no exception. At the beginning of the year, he seemed out of sorts. The talent was there, but the on-ice play looked to be a bit off.
As the season wore on, de Haan established himself as one of the team’s top defenseman, at least as far as the eye test is concerned. If you look at the metrics posted earlier in this article, he’s not exactly setting records. Again, his numbers this year aren’t a complete season, and Chicago isn’t a great team. Those factors certainly impacted his final stats.
Despite all that though, de Haan looked like the defenseman the team wanted him to be when they brought him on board. He played a steady defensive game and made play after play in his own end. This is the type of player Chicago hasn’t had in recent years, a competent defense-first defenseman. Most of the time, it feels like people are talking about the need to have a “puck-moving defenseman”, and especially one that can make a mark on the score sheet. The way de Haan plays is completely opposite to what people expect from Adam Boqvist, and that’s a good thing. No matter how talented they are, you can’t only have defensemen joining the rush.
After seeing him play for Chicago this year, de Haan has a significant role to play for the team. He’s a decent passer, but he seems to better at stifling opposing teams as they make their way into Chicago’s end. If he can stay healthy, then Chicago will need him to keep this strong defensive play going.