Trevor Daley, Ryan Garbutt eager to fit in with Blackhawks

SHARE Trevor Daley, Ryan Garbutt eager to fit in with Blackhawks

Trevor Daley, one of the most offensively aggressive defensemen in the NHL, likely is replacing Johnny Oduya, one of the Blackhawks’ steadiest stay-at-home blue-liners. Ryan Garbutt, a bottom-six agitator with an edge to his game, is joining a roster that already has Andrew Shaw and Andrew Desjardins, with Ryan Hartman and Philip Danault waiting in the wings.

Neither seems terribly concerned.

“I’m coming into a team that just won a Stanley Cup,” Daley said. “I’m coming in looking to fit in and follow their lead and listen and learn — because I want to win one with them.”

As with all the new Hawks — and there suddenly are a whole lot of them — there’ll be an adjustment period for both Daley, a 31-year-old defenseman, and Garbutt, a 29-year-old forward. The veteran duo was acquired in the trade that sent Patrick Sharp and Stephen Johns to Dallas on Friday night. Garbutt will have to find a way to be useful on a team that has already has a few players in his mold. And Daley, one of the most dynamic offensive-minded defensemen in the league, will have to learn to play for Joel Quenneville, who has little tolerance for careless defensive play.

Daley is coming off a polarizing season. From a strictly offensive standpoint, he had a career year, with 16 goals and 22 assists, both career highs. But advanced metrics pegged him as one of the worst possession-driving defensemen in the entire league, a major liability in his own end. That might fly in the go-for-broke offense of Lindy Ruff’s Stars, but Daley will have to shore up the defensive side of his game to earn Quenneville’s trust. One ill-timed pinch or premature zone exit can land a defenseman in Quenneville’s doghouse in a hurry.

Of course, Daley can play defense. He just wasn’t asked to do a whole lot of it in Dallas lately.

Daley’s first four of 10 full seasons with the Stars came under coach Dave Tippett, the current Arizona Coyotes coach and old friend of Quenneville’s, who preaches the same kind of defensive-begets-offense mentality.

“I came into the league as an offensive guy, and we had a hardcore defensive system when I first came into the league in Dallas,” Daley said. “Lindy had a lot to do with [the offensive explosion]. I always knew that somewhere I had it. It was just a matter of bringing it out. The style of play we had had a lot to do with it.”

Garbutt, meanwhile, saw his production drop significantly this past season. After a breakout campaign in 2013-14, in which he had 17 goals and 15 assists, Garbutt had just eight goals and 17 assists this past season, despite playing on the second highest-scoring team in the league. But he thinks his style of play will fit in well in Chicago.

“They play a high-speed game with a lot of offense, but they take care of their own zone,” he said. “I think of myself as someone who can play both ends of the rink. I’ll definitely work hard every night. I see guys who play hard, 100 percent, every night when they play for Chicago. That’s something I’m definitely looking forward to learning from the group, and I can’t wait to get started.”

As players such as Brad Richards, Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen can attest, it’s not always easy to adapt to Quenneville’s demanding system. There usually are some growing pains.

But what Daley and Garbutt have going for them is enthusiasm. And why wouldn’t they be excited?The Stars have played just one playoff round in the last seven seasons. The Hawks have won 16 rounds in that same time span.

“I get to go play for the best team in hockey, and go watch future Hall of Famers play hockey, and play with them on the same team,” Daley said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge. I’m just going to try to take advantage of it and run with it.”


Twitter: @marklazerus

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