Chicago Blackhawks: Choice of Hjalmarsson Over Niemi Correct Move

August 3rd, 2010 by TAB BAMFORD Leave a reply »
For at least the next few months there will be parts of the Blackhawks' fanbase that argue about whether or not the Hawks made the right decision when they countered San Jose’s offer sheet for Niklas Hjalmarsson, ultimately costing the team goalie Antti Niemi.

The Sharks made a calculated attack at their already-handicapped rival, and appear to have successfully forced Chicago’s hand. However, a more in-depth review of the situation reveals that the Blackhawks made the appropriate decision when selecting the 23-year-old defenseman over their netminder.

First, consider the strengths of this Blackhawks' roster. They led the NHL last year, allowing the fewest shots on goal per game (25.1) in the league. A big part of this statistic was the aggressive willingness of the Hawks' defensemen to blocks shots before they reached the goalie. However, the Blackhawks ranked just 17th in the NHL in team blocked shots last year, a surprisingly low number.

By keeping Hjalmarsson on the roster, the Blackhawks return their top three shot blockers (Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook were the top two; Brian Campbell was fifth).

Also consider t ...

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