The Chicago Blackhawks certainly improved their salary cap situation by trading defenseman Nick Leddy to the New York Islanders and some of the prospects they got might be helpful down the road, but there’s no question that Chicago needs to make some adjustments after parting ways with the 23-year-old defenseman.
Chicago began that process by experimenting with some new defensive combinations during today’s practice. As expected, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are still the team’s top pairing, but Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya might stop playing together, per CSN Chicago.
Oduya skated alongside David Rundblad on Sunday while Hjalmarsson alternated between Kyle Cumiskey and Trevor van Riemsdyk. Of course, whatever pairings are formed could be short-term as Michal Rozsival is still recovering from an upper-body injury. He’s doubtful for the season opener on Thursday, but he might get back on the ice this week.
Chicago is expected to begin the season with eight blueliners.