The Chicago Blackhawks are most likely going to be without Wyatt Kalynuk to begin the season as he got hurt during practice yesterday and is going to miss a couple of weeks. The team has been working on getting their roster down to the players they want to start the season, and Kalynuk definitely is going to be a part of that group.
Now with an ankle injury, Kalynuk will miss the beginning of the season. He had been looking really good throughout the preseason thus far, and even during his stint last year with the team he looked like a great defenseman for the team.
Kalynuk is one of the biggest reasons in my mind that the Hawks felt like they could give up Adam Boqvist. Outside of trading for an elite defenseman like Seth Jones, having other young players like Kalynuk around showed the Blackhawks that they had depth and young players that they could build around outside of Boqvist. With Kalynuk being out with an injury it means some other defenseman will have to step up in his absence.
Here are the locks to make the lineup:
Seth Jones, Jake McCabe, Connor Murphy, and Calvin de Haan. Outside of that group really anything could happen. Most likely Riley Stillman and Caleb Jones would be good picks for the bottom group of defensemen, but that is a lot of left-side defensemen filling up the lineup.
While the Blackhawks wait for Kalnuk to come back from his injury what the team could do is shuffle around their lineup a little more. Maybe they could go this route:
McCabe – Seth Jones
Stillman – Murphy
Caleb Jones – de Haan
Obviously, de Haan is not a bottom pairing defenseman, but in order to make sure everyone is playing on a side that is natural to them, they could go this way with the lineup. I would find it cool to see the Jones brothers together on a line, but that probably wouldn’t be very successful as Colliton is emphasizing playing Seth Jones with a defensive first type of guy like McCabe.
Losing Kalynuk for the time being definitely makes things more difficult when it comes to the power-play units. Seth was the clear pick to be the guy on the top power-play unit, but Kalynuk was the other big offensive defenseman that did pretty good with the power play last season during his limited time in that position.
The Blackhawks are going to miss Wyatt Kalynuk while he is out with an injury, but it also is going to give some other defensemen an opportunity to show what they can do. Caleb Jones and maybe even Ian Mitchell or Nicolas Beaudin can gain a lot with the ice time and exposure they could get during the next week before the season begins.
Best of luck to Wyatt Kalynuk on his recovery from an ankle injury.