When the Blackhawks traded away Brian Campbell this summer and brought in Steve Montador, Sean O'Donnell and Sami Lepisto, the initial assumption was that Chicago would feel a drop-off on the offensive end of the ice.
That couldn't be further from the truth. Indeed, the Blackhawks blue line is among the best offensive groups in the NHL to date.
Last year, eight Blackhawks defensemen combined to post 153 points in 447 total games.
So far this year, six Blackhawks have impacted the score sheet (nothing yet from Lepisto or John Scott).
If we conservatively multiply the Hawks' totals so far by four, they would have 36 goals and 140 assists, both well ahead of their production from last year.
But comparing this group to an admittedly-uninspired Hawks group from the 2010-11 season isn't the best way to gauge how well Chicago's blue line has been producing this year. Let's look at how they stack up against their peers this year.
Here are the top point-producing groups of defensemen in the NHL through Wednesday night:
As you can see, while the Hawks changes might still leave fans wanting a more aesthetically pleasing performance some nights on the back end, they are starting to establish their place among the best offensive groups in the game.
Since the start of November, the Hawks have really put the hammer down by activating their defensemen into the rush. Only five defensemen have marked on the scoresheet, but the impact has been undeniable: seven goals and 16 assists (23 points) in eight games. Montador has led the way with four goals and three assists in November, while Leddy has six assists this month.
In November, the Hawks' record has clearly reflected the impact their defensemen have made. Chicago is 5-2-1 in the month, including wins in their last four. If the Blackhawks can continue to get production from their back like like they have to begin the year, they'll continue to be hard to beat on a nightly basis.