Blackhawks

Learning on the fly, Olsen already impressing Hawks

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Learning on the fly, Olsen already impressing Hawks

LOS ANGELES Dylan Olsen is making the most of his latest stint with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The defenseman is learning on the fly as any rookie would, although pairing with Duncan Keith has helped out in that process. And while hes a left-handed shot, hes also adapting again to the right side.

The Blackhawks have been happy with Olsen, who has soaking up everything in his second stint with the team this season. Coach Joel Quenneville likes what he sees thus far.

I like his size, his presence out there, Quenneville said. He has a nice shot, hes quick and strong in the puck areas and hes growing nicely with Duncs. Its been a nice pair.

Olsen is a plus-1 in his brief time with the Blackhawks this season and has a heavy shot in his repertoire. Hes also made the move to the right side, and Keith said hes done well there.

Hes physical and hes got a good stick. A left-handed shot playing the right side can be difficult with some of the angles and getting blindsided but hes been pretty good at it, Keith said. I find its a tough side to play.

Olsen has played the right some in juniors and in college so its not a complete surprise. Still, its an adjustment.

Its just moving the puck up in your zone together, watch going cross-ice instead of going up the wall. And when youre rimming pucks you have to try and stop it on your backhand, which is tougher. Just little things like that, Olsen said. But you practice on it, work on it and carry it over during the game.

Its all been a learning experience for Olsen, but so far, so good.

Its been getting better every game. I make a few mistakes but theyre going to happen, Olsen said. Ever since I paired with Duncs weve been playing well together. He communicates with me every time, helps me out. We want to keep going from here.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: