One thing about Stan Bowman is he is always making moves. The Chicago Blackhawks front office knows the window for a championship run in the National Hockey League is almost closed. So their moves have to be aggressive and precise. This organization wants to go back to the postseason after missing the playoffs for two straight years.
Calvin Dehaan trade
The Carolina Hurricanes traded Calvin Dehaan and Aleksi Saarela, defenseman Gustav Forsling and goaltender Anton Forsberg. This deal benefits the Blackhawks because they desperately needs blue line help. Dehaan is not a very offensive defenseman but he can block shots and protect the goalie. Last year DeHaan played in 74 games and scored one goal and 12 assists. The second part of the trade involves Aleksi Saarela. Saarela is a promising young prospect and may make the team next year.
The Chicago Blackhawks
Hopefully this move will shore up the Chicago Blackhawks defensively. They will probably have the top pair be Duncan Kieth and Brent Seabrook to start. Seabrook has been on the decline in my opinion. He seems to be a step slower than everyone on the ice. So they could move to the second pair or maybe he can still be a top defenseman and score more goals. We shall see.
Second pair defense
Eric Gustafsson and Calvin DeHaan would be a good pairing. Gustafsson could be the offensive defenseman the Blackhawks need to keep the second line going. Last year Gustafsson scored 17 goals and 43 assists for 60 points. DeHaan could pinch in the offensive zone and keep the Blackhawks humming offensively. I like Dehaan’s game. He is an elite shot blocker and defender who can really help the blue line.
Alex Saarela is another piece of the trade with the Carolina Hurricanes. According to NHL.com “Saarela is a young winger who has scored 107 points in two season in the NHL“. Eric Leer of Blackhawks TV says “Aleksi Saarela calls himself a goal scorer. He netted 30 goals in the AHL last season and 25 goals the year before that. ”
So Saarela making the Blackhawks this season isn’t completely out of the question. He is a very talented and seems to be able to find the back of the net. Whether or not he can do that on the NHL level remains to be seen.
In conclusion, I feel the Blackhawks are going in the right direction to make a postseason run. They seemed to address their needs at the blue line. Last season the Blackhawks goal differential was one of the worst due to mental breakdowns and loss of structure on the defensive end. With DeHaan they may have corrected some of those issues. We shall see.
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