The Future of The Chicago Blackhawks’ Blue Line in 2021 and Beyond

By Joseph Felicelli
Duncan Keith #2, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Duncan Keith #2, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Louis Crevier
Louis Crevier (Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images) /

Others In The System

There are others in the pipeline that we either don’t know much about, or are not projected to be in the ‘Hawks plans over the next 3 years. These include:

Michael Krutil, RD: played 21 games in Rockford this past season, as the WHL season was in doubt. Bigger body, still young and developing. Potential Role Player in the future. Not currently on an ELC.

Stanislav (Slava) Demin, LD: Teammate of Ian Mitchell at the University of Denver, acquired in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights. Long term developmental prospect. Not currently on an ELC.

Louis Crevier, RD: 7th round Draft Pick in 2020, great size at 6’8″ 210 lbs. Showed surprising offensive contribution the last two seasons, and needs to improve his movement skills, and not rely on his reach and size too much. Long term developmental prospect. Not currently on an ELC

Final Analysis

The Blackhawks have multiple solid players on the Right Side in the NHL right now in Murphy and the still-developing Boqvist, and some solid young depth behind Duncan Keith on the left side in Kalynuk and Stillman. Their prospect pool is deep on the left, and not so much on the right. There is potential for several of their prospects to develop into regular NHL contributors (Vlasic, Kaiser, Mitchell, Beaudin).

If they are looking for the next Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, or Niklas Hjalmarsson, that list gets considerably shorter.  Because what you are looking for there is an elite D-man who could be in the Norris Trophy conversation in their prime. In my opinion, Kaiser and Vlasic are the only ones who have the potential to garner that level of confidence for the future.

"Chicago Blackhawks Grades: Duncan Keith 2021 Report Card"

So will the Hawks have the 2-4 very-good-to-elite defensemen on their team necessary to compete for the Stanley Cup? I believe they will in 2023-2024, and if they can add a piece in the short term, maybe sooner. The future is is bright on the Blue Line, but patience is necessary to see it come to fruition.