Michal Kempny signing a one-year extension with the Blackhawks marks the first step of strengthening the blue line

The Blackhawks signed defenseman Michal Kempny to a one-year extension for the 2017-18 season valued at $900,000.

Why is this good for the Hawks?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s very obvious the NHL is moving in a direction that is younger and faster. We saw it with Nashville. That style has landed the Predators  a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals.

It’s refreshing to see that one of the initial moves by the Hawks has to do with a defenseman. The Hawks have struggled on the blue line and they need to gain more depth. At only 26 years old, Kempny is a great start in creating that depth. He had two goals and six assists in 50 games last season and was one of the best with possession numbers. The Hawks had 56.7 percent of the shots during 5-on-5 play while he was on the ice.

It’s hard having these fresh-faced defensemen with talent, while also having more experienced names like Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell, because players like Kempny get lost in the mix. Which is what happened last season as Kempny’s playing time went down when Oduya returned to the Hawks. But with Oduya and Campbell set to be unrestricted free agents, there is a big chance that Kempny will have his time to shine in the 2017-18 season.

When it comes to the Hawks defensive line, there are three different categories: You have players like Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook: older guys with a ton of skill, whose positions are solidified. Then you have players like Oduya and Campbell who are the middlemen: The players with enough skill to hold their own on the roster and are a step above the rookies. Then you have players like Kempny and Trevor van Riemsdyk, who need to start making the move up in rank to strengthen the defensive core and lead the Hawks in the younger, quicker direction.

I think the Hawks agreeing to a one-year extension with Kempny was the right move, and it shows that the team is at least semi-aware of where the roster needs improvement.

I’m interested to see what other moves the Hawks make and if any big changes are coming in the future, because as of now, none of the moves made have been very drastic.

Featured photo via CSN Chicago
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