When the NHL season was suspended on March 12, the Blackhawks were in bad shape. Really bad shape.
Brent Seabrook was out for the year, along with Calvin DeHaan, Andrew Shaw, Drake Caggiula, and Zack Smith. Guys who all played different roles but could still contribute to the Blackhawks success this season.
While Brent Seabrook and Andrew Shaw are not expected to return this year, Calvin DeHaan and Adam Boqvist are expected to come back, and Zack Smith still remains questionable.
By getting Calvin DeHaan back, the Blackhawks now have a partner to play alongside Duncan Keith. Prior to his injury, DeHaan was playing like a #1 defensemen. This is something the Blackhawks haven’t had alongside Duncan Keith since trading Nikolas Hjalmarsson in 2017.
Adam Boqvist, an up-and-coming defensemen, who up until his injury had played 41 NHL games in his first season only a year after being drafted. Additionaly, Boqvist, was showing he is a promising young, offensive defenseman who can score, but still defend. He is projected to become a top-pairing defensemen in the years to come.
Zack Smith, while not a very well-known player, is a devoted veteran. He can still provide depth to a team. He is an excellent penalty killer, and is part of the reason the Blackhawks penalty kill was ranked in the top-10 in the league this year.
Lastly, Drake Caggiula can help fill the role of Andrew Shaw. While it’d be nice to have both, it’s better to have one than none. Caggiula is a grinder who can help battle the puck out and score those dirty goals in front of the net. That secondary scoring is what will help you win games.
While these players are expected to, or have a chance at returning, the other players such as Brent Seabrook and Andrew Shaw will benefit from the season being suspended also. It was predicted that the start of the 2020-2021 season could be pushed back as far as December, which is two months later than usual.
If Brent Seabrook and Andrew Shaw were planning to be on the United Center ice in a Blackhawks sweater for the start of next season in October 2020, they just got themselves an extra 2 months of rest and recovery time.
Photo: Johnathan Daniel