Declan Chisholm has the second-highest points per game among Minnesota Wild defensemen behind rookie phenom Brock Faber. However, Chisholm has only played in two NHL games so far this season for the Winnipeg Jets, where he recorded a single assist. And now the 24-year-old left-shot defender is the newest member of the Minnesota blueline.
Who is Chisholm, and what does he bring to the Wild?
Chisholm improved his point totals in the four years he played with the Peterborough Petes. He topped out with 69 points in 59 games during his double-overage season or two years after he was drafted. He translated his offensive success to the AHL with Manitoba Moose almost immediately.
The Bowmanville, Ont. born Chisholm has played in 146 AHL games in four seasons with Manitoba. Winnipeg’s fifth-round pick in 2018 has recorded a respectable 0.69 points per game.
Chisholm has only played in four NHL games, but his underlying metrics from his AHL days are positive.
The 6-foot-1, 190 lbs. defender had spent a lot of time sitting in Winnipeg’s press box as the extra defenseman. The Jets had a logjam with their depth defenseman and put Chisholm on waivers on Monday.
Chisholm has a unique opportunity in Minnesota. He’s a restricted free agent at the end of this season, so he’ll be motivated to prove he deserves another contract.
The Wild are missing Jared Spurgeon but have eight defensemen on the roster, meaning John Hynes has a decision to make. He’s not going to remove Jonas Brodin, Jacob Middleton, and Faber from the lineup anytime soon. Veteran Zach Bogosian has been playing well lately and deserves a spot in the lineup.
Therefore, Hynes will be choosing between Jon Merrill, Dakota Mermis, Alex Goligoski, and Chisholm. None of the three incumbent defensemen have been playing well. Goligoski has produced points, but that doesn’t make up for the gaffes in his own end. Merrill doesn’t provide much besides nostalgia for Hynes, who coached him in New Jersey. Mermis’s inconsistent plays have caused him to spend more time in the press box than on the ice lately.
So, where does Chisholm fit in?
The Wild can use the All-Star break to evaluate what they want to do with their defensive core. Chisholm could fit into a variety of roles. The young defenseman has experience on the power play and could fit into the PP2 roles that Goligoski had occupied. Hynes could also pair Chisholm with Goligoski for a puck-moving third pair.
Minnesota’s decision to acquire Chisholm off of waivers is interesting because the Wild also just picked up Will Butcher in a trade. They now have a good amount of capable NHL defensemen. Chisholm could debut as soon as Minnesota’s next game on February 7th versus the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Wild picked him up for a reason. Chisholm will get his chance.
All stats and data via HockeyDb, Elite Prospects, and Daily Faceoff unless otherwise noted.
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