Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Wyatt Kalynuk left practice early today with an ankle injury. Head coach Jeremy Colliton fears it could keep him out a few weeks. Kalynuk will miss the beginning of the regular season.
MEDICAL UPDATE: Defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk will be out approximately 2-4 weeks (right ankle sprain). pic.twitter.com/c8uX2T4bUK
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 6, 2021
Wyatt Kalynuk Out With Ankle Injury
The former Wisconsin Badger defenceman played a surprising amount of games for the Blackhawks last season and was relatively successful. In 21 games, he put up nine points in the form of four goals and five assists. He averaged just over 16 minutes of ice time per game. His Corsi For was 48.4%, with a relative Corsi of 2.6. Solid numbers for his first season in the big leagues. He lined up for a majority of his faceoffs in the offensive zone (56.0% of the time). In addition to his scoring numbers, he delivered 25 hits and blocked 21 shots (that’s a shot blocked per game for those keeping score at home).
How the Blackhawks Adjust
While Wyatt Kalynuk isn’t the best defenceman on the Hawks, he’s still an important part of their third pairing. With Duncan Keith traded to the Edmonton Oilers over the summer, there is a need for younger defencemen to step up. Competing with other names such as Ian Mitchell, Alec Regula, and Riley Stillman for a spot on the roster, Kalynuk was looking to secure a consistent position on the blue line. However, now that his injury set him back a few weeks, it will give opportunities for these other young guys to prove themselves.
The entire Blackhawks defensive lineup looks a lot different this season. Bringing in both Caleb Jones and Seth Jones, as well as Jake McCabe completely reworked the middle pairing. Calvin de Haan and Connor Murphy will be mainstays on the back end, but that third pairing will likely see some shifts. This is where the newer players can really shine.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images