Analysis

What the Blackhawks defense could look like moving forward

By Jimmy Lynch
Connor Murphy #5, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Murphy #5, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks blue line is going to look different next season. There is no denying the roster is going to be different after trading a player like Duncan Keith away. Now only two champions remain from the Blackhawks dynasty, Toews and Kane.

The Blackhawks’ blue line is not going to be the same we have seen in previous seasons.

Hopefully, the defense will be better than ever. Now with Keith off the roster, the team has an opportunity to reinvent their blue line with someone else taking up the majority of minutes most nights. Keith has been in the lineup for a long time and since before the 2010 championship he has been controlling ice time on the defense, now it is someone else’s turn to run the blue line.

So who will be the team’s top defenseman in 2021?

There are a lot of options for the Blackhawks opening night roster, and unless we see a blockbuster trade or signing in the coming weeks I do not think the team will have that top guy next season. Here are all the players that could make the roster for opening night.

  1. Connor Murphy
  2. Calvin de Haan
  3. Riley Stillman
  4. Ian Mitchell
  5. Adam Boqvist
  6. Wyatt Kalynuk
  7. Caleb Jones
  8. Nikita Zadorov
  9. Nicolas Beaudin

REMINDER: An NHL team usually only plays six defensemen a night, of course, Chicago made it a habit of playing seven last season.

So who makes the roster? Obviously, there are some locks in this group right here. Assuming Murphy, and de Haan are still on the team by the time the season starts one would assume they are in the lineup.

Who would have thought Calvin de Haan would be the highest-paid defenseman on the Hawks at any point. As of now, de Haan has the highest contract of 4.5 million this coming season, now that does not include Brent Seabrook who is going to be on LTIR.

Without Keith, any type of lineup prediction is going to look weird, but let’s give it a go anyway.

Connor Murphy – Adam Boqvist

Riley Stillman – Calvin de Haan

Caleb Jones – Ian Mitchell/Nikita Zadorov

There are definitely a lot more changes that need to be made. If the team does decide to pursue a Seth Jones, I think there is a chance the team will be saying goodbye to a defenseman or two on this list. Chicago has a lot of top prospects like Boqvist, Mitchell, Kalynuk, and Beaudin but they do not have spots for everybody.

"Injuries weakened the 2020-21 Chicago Blackhawks"

Any way you look at it one thing is certain, this Blackhawks roster is changing drastically, and I think trading Duncan Keith will only be one of the moves we see in the coming month.

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