When asked how the defense will look next season on the latest episode of the Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Hawks head coach Jeremy Colliton echoed what Stan Bowman recently said for the team across the board, young players are going to get chances.
"Guys get nicked up and you never have a full healthy group, you rarely have a full healthy group. But we're going to give young players opportunity," Colliton said regarding next year's blueline on the podcast. "If we feel they're ready or close enough to ready that playing will help them progress, then we're going to do that. That being said, it's not a blank check, it doesn't mean you're just going to play no matter what. There's going to be times where they don't play, maybe you got to spend time in Rockford."
Those in the mix for the Hawks D-pairings next season include vets Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Connor Murphy and Calvin de Haan, newly-acquired Nikita Zadorov, and youngsters Adam Boqvist, Ian Mitchell, Lucas Karlsson and Nicolas Beaudin. Wyatt Kalynuk has a chance to get a look next year as well.
Among the young D, Boqvist (20) has the most experience. He played in 41 regular season games with the Hawks last year in his rookie season and eight in the postseason, being a healthy scratch once during the playoffs.
Mitchell, 21, signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks in July. He spent the last three seasons at the University of Denver and was drafted by the Hawks in the second round (No. 57 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft.
Karlsson, 23, played in six regular season games with the Hawks last year and one in the bubble. Beaudin, 21, got in one regular season game. Both bluelines impressed Colliton and Bowman with the brief looks they got in 2019-20.
Kalynuk, 23, signed a two-year deal with the Hawks in July after playing at the University of Wisconsin the past three seasons and serving as team captain in his final year. It sounds like a good training camp could have him getting an opportunity to play next year as well.