After trading for Calvin de Haan on Monday and Olli Maatta on June 15, the Blackhawks went from not having enough NHL-ready defensemen to too many.
De Haan, signed through the 2021-22 season with an average annual value of $4,550,000, is a solid penalty-killing defensive-minded defenseman the Hawks desperately needed.
The 28-year-old, who came to Chicago from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for goalie Anton Forsberg and defenseman Gustav Forsling, has drawn comparisons to Niklas Hjalmarsson and ranks 11th in blocked shots per game over the past four seasons.
The former Hurricanes defenseman had shoulder surgery five weeks ago, but expects to be ready for training camp.
Maatta, the first defenseman Chicago traded for in June, sending forward Dominik Kahun and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft to the Pittsburgh Penguins, has an AAV of $4,083,333 and is signed through the 2021-22 season.
At 24, the former two-time Stanley Cup champ is also a penalty-killing defensive-minded defenseman. Also similar to de Haan, Maatta had a shoulder injury last season that had him miss six weeks in February and March.
Assuming both new additions to the blue line are good to go, the Hawks certainly have an abundance of defensemen and another move, likely to upgrade the offense, is imminent. Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Erik Gustafsson, Connor Murphy, Henri Jokiharju, Olli Maatta, Calvin de Haan, Carl Dahlstrom and Slater Koekkoek are all NHL-ready defensemen with a wide variety of experience in the show.
Defensive prospects like Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin were also expected to get a long look at this year’s prospect camp.
Forward Aleksi Saarela also came over from Carolina in the de Haan trade. Saarela is 22 and with 30 goals in the AHL last season, seems to have a shot at making the team out of camp.
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