Usually, the Chicago Blackhawks bottom defensive pairings are a collection of defenseman whose best years are behind them and players that have no business playing in the NHL (Defenseman like David Rundblad, Rob Scuderi, Kyle Cumiskey and Michal Rozsival come to mind).
This year is a different story.
The days of the 3rd defensive pairing circus are numbered with the advent of smooth skating, puck moving, offensively minded defensemen like rookie Gustav Forsling and NHL newcomer Jan Rutta.
In the first few games, Gustav Forsling and Jan Rutta have been bright spots thus far for the Blackhawks defense. The pair has combined for a total of 2 goals, 8 points and a plus- 10 rating, quietly becoming one the best defensive tandems on the Blackhawks.
Seabrook and Keith need to have some of the weight lifted off their shoulders, Forsling and Rutta are now an option.
Jan Rutta 27, signed with the Blackhawks this past off-season after playing 144 games and scoring 20 goals, 40 points in the Czech league. Rutta is by no means a rookie, he’s only had to adjust to the smaller NHL ice rink. Rutta has quickly earned trust from Q in high-pressure situations and is defensively responsible. Rutta also played with Kempny in the World Cup of Hockey.
— Eric Lear (@BHTVeric) October 14, 2017
Gustav Forsling 21, came to Chicago in 2015 from a trade with Vancouver that sent Adam Clendening the other way. Forsling played a few games with the Blackhawks last year and showed some promise, however, it became clear that he needed time in Rockford to learn more about the Blackhawks style of play and gain more ice time.
This year Forsling looks to have benefitted from his time in the AHL, he never looks overwhelmed, has great positioning in the offensive zone and is always looking to create scoring opportunities.