Here is what the defense and goaltending could look like next season. There are a lot of ifs involved here.
The only defenseman that does not have a contract right now on the blue line is Nikita Zadorov. I think he is a player that fans have a lot of mixed reviews on. Personally, I believe the team will re-sign him this off-season as long as he takes a pay cut from what he is making now.
Similar to David Kampf, I am not including him on the roster right now until he has a contract. Not only because who knows if he will sign, but also because this defense has a TON of potential players.
Riley Stillman – Connor Murphy
Stillman I think is an ideal candidate to play with Connor Murphy. The two spent some time together in the last two games of the season, and Stillman played okay. Stillman had 37 hits over the course of 13 games this season. Compared to some of the other young guys he really plays physical which is why he is with Murphy and not further down in the lineup.
Duncan Keith – Adam Boqvist
This pairing has potential. If Keith can stop being relied upon every minute of every game, and Boqvist can take his play to the next level this could be a really solid pairing. I do not think the Hawks have an actual top four like they used to. Instead, all three of these pairings could be used at any time in my opinion. Obviously, they would not be splitting ice time down the middle, but all three of these pairings can play in any situation.
Wyatt Kalynuk – Calvin de Haan
This is another interesting pairing. Kalynuk had a great end of the season but his overall sample size was not that big. After getting in the lineup it just seemed like he played well enough to force the coaching staff to keep him in the mix. That is a good thing. de Haan on the other hand missed some time with an injury, and if he is not taken by Seattle would be a reliable defenseman to play next season. However, it would take a spot away from another young player.
The combination of youth and veterans on the blue line looks like a team trying to compete for the playoffs. If the Blackhawks want to retool their team they might want to focus their attention to players like Nicolas Beaudin and Ian Mitchell. Both might benefit from more time in Rockford but it would be kind of hard to go back after just spending a season with NHL time.
Kevin Lankinen and Malcolm Subban
Collin Delia showed up to play during his final few games of the season, but honestly, that seems like too little too late with this team. Maybe the Hawks now have a little bit more to market in a trade involving Delia, or they just want him to boost his confidence before going back to Rockford.
"Blackhawks Reportedly Sign Henrik Borgstrom To Two Year Contract"
The goaltending problem in Chicago is back to square one because of the way the season ended, but I still would guess that Lankinen starts the year as the top guy with Subban backing him up.