Opportunity awaits for the Chicago Blackhawks young defensemen against Vancouver Canucks

The Chicago Blackhawks put Seth Jones on IR. Kevin Korchinski is also out for an unknown period after the passing of his father. Alex Vlasic is dealing with an injury that may cause him to miss time.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks blue line has been ravaged by injuries or deeply personal matters.

The Hawks have been skating without their top defensemen Seth Jones and Kevin Korchinski for the past few games. Jones was hurt during the Washington game. Korchinski recently had to leave the team because of his father's passing.

It is unknown when either will return to the ice.

Korchinski should take all the time he needs to process losing his father. There will be a time during the grieving process for the 19-year-old to return to the team and be around his teammates. The immediate future is not the time.

Head coach Luke Richardson had no timetable for Jones' return and that was before the Blackhawks announced they placed Jones on IR. Wyatt Kaiser has been recalled from Rockford to take Jones' place on the roster.

Alex Vlasic left the Seattle game before the final horn with an injury as well. Vlasic playing against Vancouver will be a game-time decision. Veteran Jared Tirnodi is still out with a concussion.

That means the Chicago Blackhawks might have to face the NHL's best offense with a defensive unit that you would prefer to see in Rockford.

The only veterans set to dress against the Canucks will be Connor Murphy, who is not having the best season, and Nikita Zaitsev. Zaitsev has spent more time being a healthy scratch this season than trying to get the puck out of the defensive zone.

Otherwise, you are looking at Isaak Phillips, Filip Roos, Louis Crevier, and Kaiser getting time on the ice. If Vlasic can go, it still means three of these four youngsters will have to suit up.

Goalie Petr Mrazek will need to do more than stand on his head if there is any hope of the Blackhawks winning. He might need to erect an actual wall in front of the goal.

Okay, okay, too extreme.

The centers can pitch in on defense too, so it is not like Mrazek is facing shots all by himself.

Still, you would feel more comfortable if Jones and Korchinski were on the ice to help defend against a Canucks offensive attack that is averaging 3.83 goals a game. Vancouver is also fifth in the NHL on the power play.

While there is a chance for calamity, there is also an opportunity for these young defenders.

That is what Kaiser, Phillips, Roos, and Crevier are getting here. They have a chance to prove they are worthy of being considered to be part of the next competitive Hawks team.

The Chicago Blackhawks are in the early stages of a massive rebuild. You should feel comfortable with Korchinski and Vlasic being top defensemen when the Blackhawks are ready to compete for the playoffs. Seth Jones will be there too based on his contract.

That means there are three more spots still up for grabs (four if you count the defenseman who has to be the healthy scratch). Kaiser already had an opportunity to make his case when he made the team out of camp. He struggled and was demoted to the Ice Hogs. This is another chance for him to make a case to stay long-term.

Phillips can make his plea not go to back to the AHL. Roos and Creiver might be headed back no matter what, but you never know with an impressive showcase.

The Hawks also have prospects Ethan Del Mastro and Noah Allen still at Rockford. Sam Rinzel is also a highly thought-of prospect playing in college. So this is chance for these four to get a leg up on the internal competition (well, probably just for Kaiser and Phillips).

There are still trades, additional drafts, and future free-agent signings the franchise can make to round out the blue line for the next great Blackhawks team. That is why it would be nice to see these four young defensemen show potential to interest other NHL teams to want them in a trade for any upgrades the Hawks will need.

Instead of seeing doom and gloom, this should be seen as an opportunity for these youngsters to help make a brighter future for the Hawks. Although, in the present, get well soon Seth Jones, we need you.