3 dream defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks to target in free agency

While the core philosophy of Kyle Davidson has remained unchanged, and his commitment to the development of younger players remains paramount, it is clear that roster changes next season are needed. This offseason the Blackhawks need to add a high-quality veteran defenseman to help usher the young players into more prominent roles within the organization.
Edmonton Oilers v Dallas Stars - Game Two
Edmonton Oilers v Dallas Stars - Game Two / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
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Ilya Lybushkin (RD, 30 years old, 6'2 and 205 lbs)

This one is a pipe dream as I'm fairly certain that the Maple Leafs loved what they saw from Lybushkin in his time with the team last season, and that team is desperate for a right handed defenseman.

However, my thinking here is that the Maple Leafs will need to resign so many players this offseason (Max Domi, Tyler Bertuzzi, Joel Edmundson, Ilya Lybushkin, etc) that they will likely lose some of those players in the process. And again, the Hawks have the depth of wallet needed to pry away a good player like Lybuskin from Toronto.

Lybushkin fits the mold of a "Luke Richardson Defenseman."

Adjectives that describe his play would be, Big, mean, aggressive, and ugly. Those bulldog-like characteristics make Lybushkin a prized depth defenseman in the NHL, and I think that he would bring a certain toughness and nastiness which I felt was missing from the team last season. Sure Tinordi would drop the gloves, but Lybushkin will drop the gloves and play well enough to warrant being in the lineup! (Sorry Jarred, you seem like a great guy and I did love watching you fight!)

Where Lybushkin really fits in my opinion is in a bottom-line role alongside a puck-moving defenseman like Wyatt Kaiser for example. Lybushkin's solid defense and strong situational awareness make him an ideal partner for a young offensively talented defenseman.

Again, to pry him away from Toronto and convince him to sign with a rebuilding team would likely cost some extra money, but the Hawks have that.

Couple that with a coach that I believe is perfect for Lybuskin to thrive and it is a terrific fit. I would expect a contract for Lybushkin with the Hawks to be somewhere in the Neighborhood of 3 years at $3.75 million. That would be a significant raise from his last contract (2 years at $2.75 million) and I think it would be enough to get him on the squad for next season.

Any one of these three players would provide an immediate and desperately needed upgrade to the Hawks' defense for next season. I am hopeful that Davidson's end-of-year press conference, where he spoke of the need to improve the team and to climb in the standings, will translate to him signing a player to improve the defense.

If the Hawks were to get any of these three players under contract, I would feel far better about the Hawks depth for next season and beyond.

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