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What Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan mean for the future of Blackhawks defense



After the Blackhawks finished in 30th place last season compared to the average (3.55) to the 30th Place and took the penalty spot (72.7) the 31st place, it is the Blackhawks clearly a concern, their defense in to improve this summer. And that became apparent in the acquisition of defensive defenders Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta.

But it raises some interesting questions about the future of the Blackhawks blue line.

With the addition of de Haan and Maatta, the Blackhawks, at least five defenders are under contract in the 2021-22 season: Brent Seabrook ($ 6.875 million), Duncan Keith ($ 5.538 million), de Haan (4.55 million US dollars), Maatta (4.083 million US dollars) and Connor Murphy (3.85 million US dollars). , That's $ 24.8 million tied to five people.

However, the money is not the main concern. It is the limited number of available duty rosters. The Black Hawks do not have to figure out straight away how it will work in a year and beyond, but you wonder how the cards might eventually get mixed up.

Let's go through the following situations:

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1; Erik Gustafsson had a breakout season and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. He is obviously not one of the five current players under contract after the next season, and puts the Blackhawks in a situation where they have to consider whether they want to trade him or if they want to let him run for free unless he's new is committed. (They could always barter their bargaining rights after the next season and also signal when it came to that.)

And even if Gustafsson were re-signed, the Blackhawks would have banned six players. That's enough to file a lineup.

– Henri Jokiharju, who was drafted 29th overall in 2017, is likely ready to take the next step and become an ordinary player. Where does he fit into the long-term plans?

– Adam Boqvist, who was ranked 8th overall in 2018, will likely need another year in the OHL before he dares to leap to the NHL, which would bring him to a new position Timeline to part in next season to become the Blackhawks. Does he take this sixth place, if there is still no free space?

– Nicolas Beaudin, drafted as No. 27 in 2018, is expected to start the upcoming season in Rockford after four years in the QMJHL, but it could be NHL-enabled by 2020-21.

– And then there's Ian Mitchell returning to Denver for his junior season and captaining the team. He has been saying all along that he intends to sign with the Blackhawks once he graduates, but does the organization value him enough to make room for him when he is ready?

To complicate matters, the Seattle expansion draft The Blackhawks have the ability to protect seven strikers, three defenders and one goalkeeper, or eight skaters and one goalkeeper. All players who had no movement clauses at the time of the expansion draft (and refuse to give up) must be protected. Keith and Seabrook have a NMC. And all pros in the first and second years are exempt. Jokiharju would have to be protected.

From this moment, the Blackhawks will likely use the eight-skater option, but they will also have valuable strikers to protect. You're going to lose a good player in one way or another, and it's likely to come from the defensive group. All of this comes into play when scheduling rulings for the next season and beyond are weighed up.

As mentioned earlier, the Blackhawks do not have to make an immediate decision about the future of their Blue Line Corps. You can play the 2019-20 season with the currently built group. However, the choices the Blackhawks face next season may affect how Stan Bowman performs the rest of the summer and the upcoming campaign.

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