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Chicago Blackhawks defensemen contributing more on offense

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Chicago Blackhawks defensemen contributing more on offense

Something had to change for Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones.

It’s hard to consider yourself an “offensive defenseman” when you have one goal through the first half of the season.

“One goal wasn’t enough, right?” he said. “It’s embarrassing.”

For Jones, the push to change came after missing 15 games with a left shoulder injury. When he returned to the lineup in January, his approach to offense was going to be different.

“I wanted to at least give myself a chance to score instead of passing and try to look for the open man every time,” he said.

Still, it would take a while to see results.

Something clicked in March, not just for Jones, but for all the Hawks defensemen. They started shooting. No, like, really shooting.

Jones averaged 2.2 shots before the injury and 3.1 after the injury, but in March alone it’s 3.3 per game.

He scored the opening goal in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames – a game after scoring two against the San Jose Sharks, including the overtime game-winner.

Meanwhile, defensemen Kevin Korchinski and Wyatt Kaiser tied Jason Dickinson for the team’s second-most shots (3) on goal, trailing only Connor Bedard’s five. Jones is leading the way for his group.

Hawks defensemen have produced eight goals, 107 shots on goals and 237 total shot attempts so far this month, according to the NHL Stats and Information — all represent season highs, with two games remaining in March.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • March (through Tuesday): 8 goals, 14 assists, 22 points, 107 shots on goal
  • February: 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, 77 shots on goal
  • January: 3 goals, 11 assists, 14 points, 83 shots on goal
  • December: 2 goals, 23 assists, 25 points, 83 shots on goal
  • November: 3 goals, 14 assists, 17 points, 94 shots on goal
  • October: 0 goals, 12 assists, 12 points, 83 shots on goal

It’s quite an uptick for a team that’s still in the bottom of the league in points from defensemen (96) and tied for second-to-last in goals (18).

“We’ve just been focused on shooting the puck a lot more when it comes low to high to us, where in the offensive zone we’re not trying to go D-to-D (defenseman to defenseman) all the time and make the perfect play,” Jones said before Tuesday’s game.

“The more we shoot, the more it creates, based on playing a little higher on us, and then our forwards have a little more time (for chances) down low.”





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