After practice on Tuesday, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville indicated that defenseman Brian Campbell could return to action on this weekend’s roadtrip.
This is welcome news for a Chicago team that’s been allowing nearly ten shots per game more than they did a year ago in Campbell’s absence. It also brings another puck-handling defenseman into the lineup that should not only improve the team’s puck possession game, but provide another weapon on the league’s third-ranked power play (26.5 percent).
The team undoubtedly hopes the return of Campbell also settles the roster down (finally). Nick Boynton has been skating with Niklas Hjalmarsson and has been very good, including an NHL-best 34 blocked shots. Hjalmarsson has struggled, though, skating in eight games and still searching for his first point on the new season. He’s also a mediocre minus-six with 17 penalty minutes. Getting Campbell back should not only help relax Hjalmarsson, who has clearly been pressing, but also bumps Boyton to the third pair and moves either John Scott or Jassen Cullimore to the suite with Jordan Hendry.
Campbell’s return could mean the Hawks entertain offers for one of their veteran defenseman as well. Hendry’s cheap and has playoff experience, and might receive the same early-season exit strategy that Aaron Johnson did a year ago.