Maybe Niklas Hjalmarsson shouldn’t get a midseason grade like this. Hjalmarsson barely played this season after he suffered a lower-body injury just four games into the season. One of the interesting things about him is how the team played in his absence.
Without Niklas Hjalmarsson the Arizona coyotes had to step up, they did this all throughout the lineup, with everyone helping out in their own end blocking shots to make up for the loss of Hammer. Honestly, I thought if the team was at least 500 when Hjalmarsson returned they would have a chance in the playoffs, they did just that!
Now the team finds themselves in the midst of a tough playoff race with their best defenseman back in the lineup. I will say the Coyotes played better without Hjalmarsson than with him this season, but the defense is now adapting to having him back. These things take time.
Adding Hjalmarsson back into the lineup will only make the Coyotes more effective, I was shocked they rushed to get him back before the all-star break, but I am happy to see him! Plus in his first game, we got to see him getting a big assist! Not only is he always trying to do his best in the offensive zone but he really shines in his own end. In fact, he is setting some records blocking shots.
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It’s not fair to give Hjalmarsson a ranking when he missed so much time, so instead, I am going to give a team a ranking of their play in Hjalmarsson’s absences, A everybody good job! Hopefully, we can add to Niklas Hjalmarsson’s legacy in the next few years and try and give him another Stanley Cup, he does already have 3 remember!
One thing you really need to consider when you look at Niklas Hjalmarsson is whether or not he can keep this going over the next set of seasons. The truth seems to lead towards Hjalmarsson being towards the end of his playing days. He had a big injury a few years ago and had one again this season. I know he is a gladiator and can come back from anything but you would imagine some wear and tear should appear sometime.