We are now 56 days away from September 28th, the Blackhawks first game back on ice against the Detroit Red Wings. Fans will get to see a first look at the future of the Blackhawks rebuild with multiple young stars slotting into the lineup such as Lukas Reichel
, Alex Vlasic
, Alec Regula
and possibly even younger players like Colton Dach
make a showing just for the pre-season games.
56, number fifty-six Erik Gustafsson
. Fans sure did not feel too happy when he hogged up the second most minute from any Blackhawks defenseman last season, wasting time that our youth could be using to grow, and to excel the Blackhawks rebuild. Aside from the negative side of things, Gustafsson was drafted in the fourth round of the 2022 draft by the Edmonton Oilers where his rights were then traded to the Chicago Blackhawks.
He played a whopping 41 games as a late-blooming prospect in Chicago throughout his first year, and the next he spent in the Hawks affiliate team the Rockford Ice Hogs. In the 2018-19 season he caught the Hawks fan base by shock, exploding and putting up a career high 60 points in 79 games played, as a defenseman he was top 10 in points throughout the entire NHL!
Sadly it went downhill from there, he started declining quite quickly as the Blackhawks roster started falling apart, departures from Panarin and others did not help anybodies abilities on the Hawks throughout those times. Gustafsson provided a locker-room leadership role to the Blackhawks team, and played as a classy defenseman on the ice, and ended his time in Chicago mentoring prospect Alex Vlasic
, taking him underneath his wing in hopes to give him some knowledge on the aspect of the NHL.
Gustafsson was not re-signed by the Blackhawks, and hit the free agent market- quickly signing a one year contract with the Washington Capitals, also where former Hawk Dylan Strome
went too, for just shy of a million dollars.
NBC Sports Chicago ranks him at the best #56 in Hawks history, and provided this summary towards his game:
''No. 56: Erik Gustafsson
An offensive-minded blue-liner, Gustafsson broke out during the 2018-19 campaign when he was one of six NHL defensemen to record at least 60 points that season. He was traded to Calgary for a third-round draft pick at the February 2020 trade deadline.''
DO YOU WISH THE HAWKS KEPT ERIK GUSTAFSSON?
AUGUST 3 69 ANSWERS
|NO, HIS TIME WAS DUE!||47||68.1 %|
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