Daley sample size may not have been enough

By Adam Hess
Contributor

The Blackhawks acquired defender Rob Scuderi from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night in exchange for Trevor Daley.

Daley, the “prize” of the trade that sent Patrick Sharp to Dallas this past summer, never seemed to fit with the Blackhawks.Scuderi on the other hand is seen as the solution to the Blackhawks percieved lack of toughness during the early part of the campaign.

Scuderi on the other hand is seen as the solution to the Blackhawks perceived lack of toughness during the early part of the campaign.“Rob’s that type of defenseman – safe reliable dependable in the back end, simple, can kill penalties for us, got good experience for us,” coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday. “We’ll see where he fits in, but I think he can help us.”

“Rob’s that type of defenseman – safe reliable dependable in the back end, simple, can kill penalties for us, got good experience for us,” coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday. “We’ll see where he fits in, but I think he can help us.”

Since the trade was announced Monday night, it has come out that not only did Joel Quenneville not care for Daley’s inability to fit in the Blackhawks’ heavily defender-reliant system, but Daley felt slighted by his usage and wanted out of Chicago as well. He told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday, “I don’t know that I ever got the opportunity to even know that couldn’t fit into the system, and that’s what’s obviously most disappointing.”

I’m somewhat inclined to side with Daley on this point. After all, Daley played just 29 games in a Blackhawks’ sweater, and before he had even reached the 20 game mark there were rumors swirling about the team trying to trade him due to lack of fit. And when you look at usage numbers, the idea that Daley never got a fair shake is even easier to get behind.

In Chicago, Daley was playing less than 15 minutes a night, with just a minute and a half of that coming on the power play, and only two seconds on the penalty kill. He has just six points in 29 games, all assists.

Last year in Dallas, he averaged close to 23 minutes a night, with 2:44 a night on the power play and 2:54 per contest on the penalty kill. He had 38 points – 16 goals and 22 assists – in 68 games.

These numbers lead me to believe that Daley was being misused in a lot of ways in Chicago. Daley was being heavily sheltered with offensive zone starts, and in turn posted very good possession numbers. However, maybe that isn’t the style of game Daley needed to play to be successful.

It’s sort of a cliché idea, but some players just need that extra challenge in order to really step their game up. Perhaps Daley never felt that the team showed much confidence in him, and that affected his confidence and, by association, his play. All of this is speculative, but it’s not entirely out of the question.

Daley isn’t a great defender, and the idea that he didn’t fit in Quenneville’s system is still probably not wrong. I just have a hard time fully buying into the notion that he ever got a chance to fit at all.

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