The Blackhawks offseason got off to a great start this week with the lottery ping pong balls falling in their favor and producing the third overall pick in June’s NHL draft.
Let’s hope the Blackhawks attempts to fix their defensive issues goes as smoothly as the draft lottery.
The common theme from the team’s exit interviews was the need to fix the Blackhawks’ defensive flaws. They gave up the most high-danger chances in the NHL last season (nearly 200 more than league average) and only the Ottawa Senators allowed more goals per game.
Not to mention, the team’s penalty kill was the worst in the NHL since the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1988-89 season.
Jeremy Colliton’s defensive systems took some time to absorb by the veteran defensemen, including Brent Seabrook.
“I played for Joel [Quenneville] for 10 years and a system that he wanted me to play,” said Seabrook. “Definitely took me some time to adjust, for sure.”
Even the Hawks breakthrough blue-liner, Erik Gustafsson, admits he needs to improve his defensive play – despite his 60-point season. So help could come internally from a better understanding of the zone coverage to simply working harder.
“If I want to help this team, I have to work on my defense. I know that too,” said Gustafsson. “Duncan [Keith] helped me a lot the last 40 games we played here. Just like I said, if I want to help the team win and make the playoffs, I have to be better in my own zone.”Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.