The Chicago Blackhawks could be gearing up for a 24 team postseason here soon and their defense is the biggest question mark on their chances to win.
The Chicago Blackhawks had a tough time defending in the 2019-20 regular season. Before the coronavirus pause they weren’t in great shape to make the playoffs and the defense was a large reason why. They were able to score and they had good goaltending but they couldn’t use their defense to their advantage much at all. Well, after a long layoff and a chance at the 24 team playoff, how will they lineup, and what are their chances?
Well, they signed Ian Mitchell to a contract once it was announced that the NCAA’s season was over as a result of the pandemic. He is free to come to play for the Blackhawks now that he is signed if this playoff does happen. There are many college players that have come into the NHL for the playoffs and did well like Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins a few years ago. The pairings might look like this:
Olli Maatta-Ian Mitchell
Those pairs are so much better than most lineups they have had all season long at the position. Brent Seabrook won’t be healthy enough to play but de Haan will for sure be back if this thing happens. Maatta is a bit of a risky player to have on the ice at times and we don’t know for sure how long it will take for Mitchell to become an impact player but it could be a nice third pair if used right. They still have Keith there who knows exactly how to handle something like big minutes in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The issue with this group is the opponent. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have a combined 207 points this season. They are lethal together on the power play and can either play together at five on five or be the center of two separate lines, depending on how the game is going. If this Hawks defense plays like it did in the regular-season and they are in fact matched up against the Oilers, they could have a short series.
This isn’t a good defense, in fact, it was awful in the regular season but adding Mitchell from college and getting de Haan back from injury would certainly be a nice boost. You never know with Corey Crawford in the net but this defensive group here could be hit or miss in a five-game series. There is also that Patrick Kane guy with his friend Jonathan Toews for the Oilers to worry about despite what might be a poor defense.