Watching the playoffs this year, and especially last night, it’s hard not to look at Heiskanen, Cale Makar, and Charlie McAvoy and not long for the same thing. Young, dynamic, absolute STUD defensemen tearing it up at the absolute HEIGHT of the game. That’s the way the game is going..or has gone. Scoring is up, mobility is at an all-time premium, and the best way to defend your net is to play 200 ft from it. The Blackhawks were ahead of the curve when they dominated the puck possession game and then in a flash the NHL passed them by.
Now, the Blackhawks appear to have those types of guys. Are they exactly Heiskanen and Makar? No, of course not. This is like that scene in “The Social Network” where Zuckerberg says to the Vinklevoss twins that if they had invented Facebook they would’ve invented Facebook. If Jokiharju/Boqvist were Heiskanen they’d already be playing 24 mins a night in the NHL. That’s a memorable line in the movie, but what the movie doesn’t show you is that the Vinkelvoss twins, though they didn’t invent facebook, still got fucking RICH. Bitcoin among other things. The Blackhawks don’t have Facebook, but maybe they can be billionaires too. However, they can’t do things like this at the NHL level
Unless Stan Bowman removes some of this
It’s an absolute LOG jam on defense right now for the Blackhawks. We’ve said it here in this space 100 times now. Those four guys plus the collection of high end prospects, plus Dahlstrom, Forsling, etc. The Blackhawks need to find a way to clear a contractual and ice time path to the NHL for the players with the high ceiling who can actually drive play for the Blackhawks.
Jay Zawaski wrote a blog pondering if Brent Seabrook would waive his No-Trade clause and accept a trade to Florida Panthers where he could be reunited with Joel Quenneville and Dale Tallon. That is assuming the Panthers want him and can absord his contract after making a serious push for Panarin and Bobrovsky. That’s a lot of hurdles to get Seabrook out of town. I have no doubt that Seabrook absolutely loves playing for Joel. I also have no doubt that he also loves his wife and Chicago and probably wouldn’t be interested in waiving his NTC. And while we are discussing the unlikely event that 7 leaves, you can probably assume 2 won’t either. Which leaves Connor Murphy and Erik Gustafsson.
I think the Blackhawks absolutely MUST trade one of those two and I wouldn’t be opposed to trading both. Gustafsson had a great year. No doubt about it. He’s better than I ever thought he would be and there is certainly a place for guys like him in the NHL(guys who can’t really defend consistently). What he brings is what is coming from Boqvist, Beaudin, Jokiharju, and Mitchell. High end offensive ability. Gustafsson is only under contract for one more season. Knowing the Blackhawks have these kids coming, why not move him this summer because his value is likely NEVER going to be higher. If you’re choosing between a dynamic offensive defenseman who has serious deficiencies defensively, why not go with the guy who is younger and under contract for longer? Murphy quietly had a good year, but if the Blackhawks were able to package him up with picks/prospects for slight upgrade for the 4-5-6 defenseman spot where Murphy likely needs to be then it’s not the worst idea to cut bait with him as well.
It’s time to turn it over, develop, and…just simply see what you have in the kids because the Blackhawks already know what they have with a defense corps that heavily leans on Gustafsson and Murphy…and that is a last place team.