Calvin de Haan will make his Blackhawks debut on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. And he feels "150 percent" ready to go.
"I feel like it's time to play, it's time to get in the lineup," de Haan said. "I want to try and help this team win and I'm just going to do my best to play Calvin de Haan hockey and help the Blackhawks get some wins here."
The 28-year-old defenseman had offseason shoulder surgery that put him on a four-to-six-month timeline, but a nagging groin injury kept him out of action for the first two games. He skated on the third pairing with Erik Gustafsson at practice on Friday and will replace Slater Koekkoek's spot in the lineup.
De Haan's return will give the Blackhawks their first look at a healthy blue line group and they're expecting him to provide stability on the back end.
"He plays a very under control game," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "He makes clean plays. He came up as more of an offensive D-man. He still has that in him to make plays, but he’s efficient with it. He doesn’t try to do too much. That’s part of why he’s good. He defends hard, he’s physical when he needs to be, very under control player, and I think that will help with our D group."
De Haan, who the Blackhawks acquired in June — along with prospect Aleksi Saarela — for restricted free-agent defenseman Gustav Forsling and goaltender Anton Forsberg, was brought in to be a defensive-minded presence. He expects to do that, even though it may take him a bit to get acclimated after getting no preseason reps.
"It's not the sexiest thing out there but just try to keep it simple and defend hard and just try to be tough on the skilled guys on their team and try and take time and space away," de Haan said. "Be physical, it's not about crushing guys anymore and fighting, all that kind of stuff, but being tough in the corners and in front of the net, that's still fair game so just try and do that.
"Things are going to be moving quick out there. I might look slow at the beginning but I'll just try and keep it simple and just play my game."