There’s no question the Blackhawks did lots of good things in Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss in Vancouver.
Ultimately, puck management and play without the puck determined the outcome.
That’s been a theme for the Blackhawks throughout the season and underscored during a 5-5-3 January.
While the issue doesn’t rest solely with the group on the back-end, the Blackhawks have an undeniable need for a top-4 defenseman.
The Canucks game is a perfect example. Duncan Keith (30:22), Brent Seabrook (27:42) and Nick Leddy (24:53) logged an excessive amount of ice time, in part, because John Scott played only seven shifts and none after the middle of the second period.
Seabrook registered a team-high six hits. The other five Blackhawks defenseman combined for only one hit.
The Blackhawks must add a defenseman who can take the body; play with an edge; absorb some minutes for the top pair and lighten the load for a promising 20-year-old prospect.
The catch? General Manager Stan Bowman wants a guy who can also make plays with his hands or his feet.
It’s certainly not their only need, but it’s a need they may have to overpay to acquire.