NEW YORK General manager Stan Bowman has made no secret that he would like to acquire a top-four defenseman prior to the trade deadline. Question is, with two Blackhawks defensemen currently injured, should that need be addressed ASAP?
There was some slight good news on the injured defenseman front on Thursday, as coach Joel Quenneville said Niklas Hjalmarsson was progressing on his upper-body injury. Still, it doesnt sound like he wont be back for a few games. The status on Steve Montador, also suffering from an upper-body injury, hasnt changed.
Neither defenseman has played since Feb. 8 (against the Colorado Avalanche), which hasnt helped the Blackhawks situation these last few games. They miss their eight-player depth at that position. They miss Hjalmarssons propensity for blocking shots.
But whether or not this hastens a move to bolster that defensive depth again is uncertain. Bowman told Chris Boden on Monday that getting another defenseman is still his top priority. But since Bowmans not the only general manager looking for one, the competition for acquiring one will be fierce.
Not only that, but how many are really out there and available? About a month ago there were several options: Anaheims Francois Beauchemin, Carolinas Tim Gleason and Edmontons Andy Sutton to name a few. But all three have signed extensions with their respective teams.
The fact remains, however, that the Blackhawks are in a defensive pinch. And theyre getting squeezed even tighter with two of their top six currently out injured. Theres not much happening on the trade front right now. But for the Blackhawks, something may need to happen soon. Later may be too late.