Blackhawks Add Defensive Depth With Signing Of Sheldon Brookbank

By Randy Holt

It’s been a much more uneventful day than expected to this point, but the Chicago Blackhawks have taken at least one step towards upgrading their shaky blue line.

The Hawks added defenseman Sheldon Brookbank to the club on Sunday, signing him to a two-year deal, worth $2.5 million total. Brookbank spent the last four years with the Anaheim Ducks.

It’s not the flashy signing that many were hoping for, but it was a necessary one nonetheless. It remains to be seen how much ice time Brookbank will actually see, or whether he’s going to serve mainly as a depth defenseman.

The Hawks needed to add size to their blue line and did that with Brookbank. The 6’2″ defenseman laid 120 hits last season, while also blocking 110 shots. He’ll hopefully bring some sort of steadiness to the third pairing, adding that size and some minutes on the penalty kill for the Hawks.

It might be a quiet signing, but it certainly does raise some questions as to how the Hawks plan to approach improving their blue line for the remainder of the summer. If you don’t include Dylan Olsen, the Hawks have six defensemen in front of Brookbank. It could mean that someone is on their way out, if not multiple players. The prime candidate to be traded is still Niklas Hjalmarsson.

It will be interesting to see if this is all the Hawks plan to do to upgrade their blue line, which probably wouldn’t come as much of a surprise, especially if they think Olsen is going to be ready to make a permanent jump. Again, it’s not a flashy move and doesn’t improve them greatly, but it’s a nice addition and doesn’t come with a terrible overpayment like some of the free agents out there have received already.

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