Top 5 best discount defensemen the Blackhawks can sign in NHL free agency

The Chicago Blackhawks most likely won’t attract any big-name defenseman during NHL free agency, thanks to their current rebuild.

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As a rebuilding organization, the Chicago Blackhawks will have a tough time attracting marquee players during NHL free agency. But, as with the other 31 teams, there is also the strong possibility that they will let some unrestricted free agents go elsewhere and fill some inevitable holes with some stopgaps. 

However, the Blackhawks are in an interesting position, as you can expect them to stick with predominantly younger talent next season while veterans like Petr Mrazek, Nick Foligno, and Jason Dickinson will provide much-needed leadership. And general manager Kyle Davidson may want more of that leadership for 2024-25 as this team continues to build on the foundation it set this season. 

While the Blackhawks have three players on the blue line aged 30 or older, they are all pending unrestricted free agents. Sure, they can re-sign all of them and continue with a defensive rotation identical to what we saw last season. Or, they may see some veteran defenseman they like in the free agent market and instead roll with them on short-term deals that won’t cost much despite their enticing cap space

Blackhawks could look for leaders on the blue line in NHL free agency

Since Chicago is still early in its rebuild, the best criteria for Davidson is to find seasoned veterans who are leaders, but also those who could be in the stage of their respective careers to take lower-paying, short-term deals. 

In the following slides, there are five blueliners who best fit the criteria. No, they aren’t star players, and most won’t give you top-four minutes. But that isn’t the point here: They are not building blocks but would instead act as sound mentors and leaders for the youngsters, and nothing more. 

So, who are the five best defensemen Chicago can sign at a discount for the 2024 offseason? The following players won’t be in the Windy City long, but they will bring a strong presence and voice into the locker room in 2024-25.