State of the Chicago Blackhawks: NHL Trade Deadline Edition


Today is the 1st installment of our expanded NHL Trade Deadline coverage. We’ll be posting team outlooks leading up to trade deadline over the next couple weeks from a variety of contributing writers.

Written by Tab Bamford of TheFourthPeriod.com and can be found on twitter at @The1Tab

The Chicago Blackhawks are in the mix for the best record in the Western Conference, but are equally close to fourth place in the Central Division. With a good, young core locked up and over $5 million in cap space, the Blackhawks will be buyers at the deadline.

What will be the Blackhawks wants/needs?

1. Top-four defenseman

The Hawks have one of the best top pairs in the league with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, but have been searching for the right formula all season in the wake of Brian Campbell being traded to Florida during the draft.

Nick Leddy’s developing nicely, but has been better when held under 20 minutes per game over the last month. Meanwhile, Niklas Hjalmarsson appears to have peaked as a number 4-5 defenseman who excels at blocking shots and killing penalties, but has not taken the next step in his development yet.

Some players the Hawks might target include Tim Gleason in Carolina, Hal Gill and/or Chris Campoli in Montreal, and, if Brian Burke puts him on the market, Cody Franson.

2. Top-six forward (second line center)

Chicago has been impressed with the play of rookie Marcus Kruger, but he hasn’t been an impact on the offensive side of the ice. If GM Stan Bowman can get his hands on a legitimate top-six forward, or, more specifically, a second line center.

Buffalo’s Derek Roy is a name that has been prominently linked to Chicago lately. The Hawks have also been rumored to have interest in Columbus center Derick Brassard, Montreal forwards Travis Moen and Andrei Kostitsyn and former-Chicago wing Tuomo Ruutu of the Canes. Chicago could look into a number of other options up front if injuries hit between now and the deadline.

There are a couple factors to consider when assessing the Blackhawks approach to the trade deadline.

First, they’ll be getting a better left wing/center back from injury than they would be able to acquire via trade when Patrick Sharp returns after the All-Star Break. Also, they’re getting a really nice season from affordable Viktor Stalberg (14 G, 15 A, +7) as their top line left wing.

Secondly, the Blackhawks’ front office has worked hard to stockpile a good group of NHL prospects that are all over the map, from the AHL affiliate (Rockford IceHogs) to juniors and college ranks.

A couple players on the NHL roster that have disappointed this year have been Bryan Bickell and, to a much lesser extent, Michael Frolik. Bickell has lost his spot on the depth chart to rookie Jimmy Hayes, and has been a healthy scratch for most of January. He did, however, score 17 goals last year and has one more year left on a contract for just above the league minimum. Frolik, meanwhile, has two more seasons on his contract with a modest cap number of just over $2.3M per.

If the Blackhawks put prospects in play, a couple names to watch are defensemen Brian Connelly and Shawn Lalonde. Connelly was named to his second consecutive AHL All-Star Game on Tuesday, but hasn’t been able to crack the NHL in Chicago. Lalonde, a younger prospect with a higher ceiling, may be the asset Bowman uses to attract a better veteran player. With other talented defensemen like Dylan Olsen, Adam Clendening and Stephen Johns in the organization, the Hawks may choose to deal from a position of strength, and Lalonde and Connelly might be the players on their way out.

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  1. #1 by Jeff at January 25th, 2012

    I think Franson’s stock has really improved, and would require at least a 1st Round Pick in Trade. However, i also think the Leafs want NHL players this season, in any trades they make.

  2. #2 by Tom at January 25th, 2012

    Tab, is Toews/Kane/Stalberg still playing on the top line, with Hossa & Sharp on the second line? How does their PP1 look?

  3. #3 by Frankie T's at January 25th, 2012

    I know they wont trade him, but Hossa is exactly what Toronto has needed. All round top 6 guy that plays on the PK and can do everything well.

  4. #4 by StanTheMan at January 25th, 2012

    How is Bolland playing?

  5. #5 by Mark Easson at January 25th, 2012

    I think there are 29 other teams what would like a guy like Hossa.

    I think he’s in a good situation there … quietly produces while Toews, Kane and Sharp seem to get more focus.

  6. #6 by Tab at January 25th, 2012

    A couple quick responses:

    1) Franson’s stock is rising, and Beauchemin’s extension helps the value of any defenseman on the market. Would it have to include a 1st round pick to get him out of Toronto? I’m not sure… You’re right that they’d like to have NHL-ready players.

    2) Chicago’s top line is still Kane-Toews-Stalberg, and they’ve been playing well together. Kane hasn’t scored as many goals as many would like, but he’s piling up assists this year and Stalberg is already setting career highs across the board. That has been an effective line for the Hawks. The first unit PP in Chicago has been tweaked a few times this year, and their biggest problem is needing someone to shoot the puck.

    3) Hossa is exactly what 29 other teams in the NHL need. He’s going nowhere. Finally healthy, he’s showing that he’s one of the 10 best players in the game.

    4) Bolland started the season well, but then slumped from early November through Christmas. But since Patrick Sharp went down he’s recaptured his scoring touch, which has been good to see from Chicago’s perspective. He needs to be better than 46-48% at the dot, but he’s been better once Quenneville mixed up his lines and removed Bickell from the third line w/ Bolland.

    5) You’re right, Mark. But I think Hossa’s getting his fair share of the attention this year, and is making life easier on the ice for Sharp and Kane. He’s a beast, and might be a Hart candidate by the end of the season.

  7. #7 by Wunschkind89 at January 25th, 2012

    I really like Hossa, and if they randomly made him available, I’d pray that Burke stayed away from him. He’s 33 years old now and badly has durability issues. He also has a cap hit of over $5MM until 2020-2021.

    Ugh.

  8. #8 by TeamCropDusters at January 25th, 2012

    I think the Hawks #1 need is a second line Center….

  9. #9 by JohnDoe at January 25th, 2012

    What about Kulemin, Grabovski and Franson for Pat Kane?

  10. #10 by Mark Easson at January 25th, 2012

    Kane isn’t going anywhere.

    I think Hal Gill may be a nice fit on the blueline. He’d come cheaper than Tim Gleason (the Hurricanes were looking for a 1st round for him earlier).

  11. #11 by Jeff at January 25th, 2012

    Why has Seabrook’s point production diminished so much from last season?

  12. #12 by eddy at January 25th, 2012

    Johndoe, I dont think that would be that bad of a trade. In the ballkpark.

    Don’t be so sure that pk is untouchable. He doesn’t play very well defensively and hasnt scored too many goals.

  13. #13 by Timmy at January 25th, 2012

    Any he doesnt like Taxi Drivers.

  14. #14 by Tab at January 26th, 2012

    There appears to be some confusion regarding how desperately some folks want Kane traded out of Chicago. He’s 23, a point-per-game player in his brief career (that, btw, includes a Cup-winning goal and a silver medal), and is under contract for a few more years. Also, the Hawks aren’t looking up at the 8th spot in the playoffs like teams that might consider making a star available (cough… Jeff Carter…); Chicago is still very much in the mix for the top spot in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks are looking to tweak, not overhaul.

  15. #15 by nav at January 27th, 2012

    how about Pavel Kubina..any chance he could be headed to the hawks? there might be a bit of a history with him and bolland after that elbow last year..but a big dman with decent offensive touch and can clear the front of the net..wouldnt mind him and hammer on the second pairing…thoughts?

  16. #16 by nav at January 27th, 2012

    or how about zidlicky..wild r falling fast if there out of contention by the time the deadline rolls around..havent heard any rumors bout kubina is a ufa after this year and zidlicky was a healthy scratch recently..2 guys that should be able to help..

  17. #17 by Scott at February 10th, 2012

    Ok, Hossa HAS had durability issues, but nothing wrong when he is healthy…your telling me that he doesn’t still produce at a point per game pace even when he has been injured? That trade for Kane scenario is ridiclous. Kane is slumping but still has the most assists on the team and as has been said, a point per game player in his career. As far as the Hawks aquiring a D-man, NO Hal Gill. He is too old and too slow to fit in the Hawks system. We do need a stay at home guy, but one that can skate when needed to.

  18. #18 by JoeBomb at February 17th, 2012

    Ifit wasme, i trade Duncan Kith.He’s on the ice almost ever time a goal is scored.Some defeneman

  19. #19 by JIM MCGUIRE at October 13th, 2012

    Every one knows Carter Hutton is the real deal, give the kid a chance and he will prove he is is winner as he his from hockey town Thunder Bay Ont, Canada, which produces many NHL players .

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