NHL Trade Deadline: Quiet Chicago or Busy Blackhawks?

The 2017 NHL Trade Deadline is 3 PM EST on March 1 and Blackhawks fans are wondering what the team will do to bolster the lineup for another run at the Stanley Cup. But what can/will they do? There are a number of factors impacting any moves the Blackhawks might consider.

On Tuesday, James Mirtle wrote a terrific piece for The Athletic – Toronto detailing how the upcoming expansion draft is already impacting the NHL trade deadline. In it, he says:

What executives around the league are saying, however, is that the expansion draft adds another wrinkle on top of an already complicated process. Essentially any deal for a player under contract next season is hard to pull off, which leaves only rentals and young players that are exempt from the expansion draft in play.

He also points out that there’s a very good chance the NHL’s salary cap stays flat next year, which further complicates any trade deadline activity for teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, who already have a significant amount of money committed for 2017-18.

In his “30 Thoughts” column on Tuesday, Elliotte Freidman wrote about Bowman. He quoted Bowman saying, “[Ryan] Hartman, Nick Schmaltz, Vinnie Hinostroza, Tanner Kero…maybe they have to go the AHL here and there, but we see them as part of our team now… We’re going to see what happens over the next couple of weeks before the trade deadline, but we are much more comfortable with our younger players.”

This echoes what Bowman told the Chicago Sun-Times at the end of January, when he told Mark Lazerus, “I’m not expecting to make a deal this year, unlike previous years.”

Bowman has been consistent throughout the year in saying the Blackhawks hosting the 2017 NHL Draft makes them less likely to deal away any of their ten pick in this summer’s draft (Chicago has six of their seven original selection and also own fifth round picks from St. Louis and Carolina and a sixth round pick from the Islanders). Certainly Bowman won’t trade away his first round pick this summer after not having a first round pick since selecting Schmaltz in 2014.

Entering Tuesday, the Blackhawks had the second-best record in the Western Conference, two points ahead of Pacific Division-leading San Jose and five points behind Minnesota in the Central (the Wild still have two games in-hand). Chicago was 7-3-0 in their ten games before their week off as well, highlighted by wins in Minnesota and Edmonton, both of whom are currently playoff teams.

So what should fans expect in the coming weeks?

Probably very little, if anything.

Chicago isn’t in much of a position to “buy.” The Hawks don’t have much cap space to play with, and have even more committed next season when Artemi Panarin’s new deal begins to hit the books. With that limited cap space, the Blackhawks still need to make decisions on the futures of restricted free agents Kero, Richard Panik and Michal Kempny and unrestricted free agent Scott Darling.

If the Blackhawks “sell,” it would likely be to move players who have NHL experience but have a limited role and future with the organization. Andrew Desjardins, Jordin Tootoo and Brandon Mashinter are unrestricted free agents after this season while Viktor Svedberg has one year remaining on his contract at a $750k cap hit. But those players won’t bring back an NHL roster player of any consequence.

42 thoughts on “NHL Trade Deadline: Quiet Chicago or Busy Blackhawks?

  1. I don’t know that there is a real opportunity out there to get any forward help, with what the Blackhawks would be willing to give. Sounds like Stan wants to keep the young guys around, which I think is good. I also think Desjardins might be a veteran presence that could be used come playoff time as a fourth liner.
    Go Blackhawks!!!

  2. Thanks Tab-a lot of roadblocks to make this pretty good team team any better. Hopefully they stay healthy and the experience of the core and energy of the younger players brings a run in the playoffs.
    Regardless, to me it would just be gravy on the roast beef. Grateful to be a Hawk fan.

  3. Pretty well spells it out for us good article. I believe this team can get it done, as I said before I dont go for gloom and doom just enjoy the ride and see where it goes.

  4. One thing that may factor into things that was also outline in Friedman’s 30 thoughts was that it’s a “terrible draft”. According to Friedman teams will be more willing to move their first, even if the Hawks aren’t willing to do so. Which would mean any deadline deal would have to include a higher end prospect if a pick isn’t involved. Something theyre also unwilling to do. So that may mean even if the Hawks don’t trade their first at the deadline, a move up the draft board probably isn’t out of the question.

    Had a thought regarding expansion. Do you think a team would acquire or re-sign a player at league minimum just to expose. Then, when the player isn’t taken in the draft either buy him out or waive him altogether as his cap would be exempt from the cap. So maybe a Tootoo type is re-signed just to be exposed then waived prior to the start of next year.

  5. I don’t think the Hawks are good enough to win the Cup this season as currently constructed, and that’s if the young players can even maintain the higher level of consistency they’ve shown the last little while, which is not guaranteed with rookies and playoff hockey. Teams like Washington, Pittsburgh and probably Minnesota are simply better and/or deeper. If there’s no deal that makes sense to Stan, then fine we’ll take our chances with what we’ve got, but to think standing pat is the best option is not something I can agree with.

    One thing we’ve learned about Stan over the past years is pay little heed to what he says. He often states the do nothing but then makes a trade or two. If he doesn’t make a trade then he was being honest with the do nothing statement. If he makes a trade then something came up that he couldn’t pass up. So essentially his pre-TDL proclamations mean nothing.

    In my opinion there are two positions that, if upgraded, could move the Hawks from a second tier contender into the top tier with Was/Pit/Min and those are top-6 LW and top-4 d-man. Acquiring a player able to fill one of those roles is probably too difficult for it to be a reasonable thing to hope for. Hopefully Stan doesn’t spend any significant assets for anything less.

    One thing that might happen which would be similar to a TDL pickup is signing Shalunov after his KHL season completes. As far as I know he doesn’t play LW so he would probably be a bottom-6 RW so probably not a game changer.

  6. Ernie, I heard the same regarding the 2017 draft – that there are no “no-doubters”. But that really only affects teams drafting in the top-10 because even in good draft years it’s a crap shoot after the top 5 or 10 players are taken. So teams drafting mid to late 1st round and even into the 2nd round all are about equal in probability to strike gold.

  7. I understand alot don’t believe in this team being strong enough for a deep playoff run but I can’t help think of the similarities with last years penguins.
    Toews struggling early like Crosby and people writing them off, especially about now when the Blackhawks got the big rentals and everyone thought the freight train was gonna roll through. Sure we can use our 20/20 hindsight and point all sorts of differences too but the fact is nobody really gave them a chance.

  8. The 2016-17 Blackhawks aren’t good enough to “stand pat” at the trade deadline and still legitimately compete for another Stanley Cup Championship. But I understand fully if Stan Bowman takes a passive approach and this team simply rolls the dice with what they have and see what happens.

  9. I think we have discussed this in a previous post but,.,.,the expansion draft will have huge bearing on potential trades and dealing @ T.D.L ………..Who do we have to keep because of no trade clause ? I assume we will protect Crow ? Perhaps it would be easier to say ,.,..,Who,s ass is swinging in the breeze in regards to expansion ?

    Tis a complex time of year in many ways

  10. Any team with Toews, Kane and Keith should never be taken lightly come playoff time. The Hawks are as good as any team in the West. Minnesota has a group of good players and decent depth but they do not have any elite players IMHO. Once the playoffs roll around they will choke as usual. The Hawks have at least as good a chance as anybody to make it out of the West. They would have a tough time against Washington in the finals. I think Washington finally wins the Cup this year.

  11. Hartman , kruger, tvr and carruth make us compliant with draft rules right now and would allow our 3 rfas kero, panik and moose to be protected if they go 7 forwards 3 dmen and a goalie. 88,19,81,15,2,4,7 & 50 all have no move clauses and must be protected. But sonebody could be signed or picked up to fit the compliance rules before then allowing say a hartman to be protected instead.

  12. Also 72, 48,8,64 ,42,7 are all exempt as 1st or 2 d yr players. All players under an nhl contract in minors the same rules apply

  13. Plus there’s a 48 hr. Window prior to draft allowing las vegas the opportunity to negotiate with ufa’s and rfa’s available to them on draft day. Any exempt or protected or exempt free agents will not be available in this window.

  14. Ian – Hate to be the bearer of publicly accessibly information, but… check up on both fact & context when throwing around who will be put out there and who won’t be. Hartman isn’t going anywhere. And Carruth – like Panik, Kero – is RFA, so he would need to received a qualifying offer to make the Blackhawks compliant for the expansion draft.

    I fully expect the Blackhawks to protect Toews, Kane, Anisimov, Hossa, Hartman, Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, Crawford. Kruger, TvR, Svedberg are the only guarantees to be exposed right now in my opinion. The Blackhawks need to deal with the issue of having a goaltender and another forward who meets the games played requirements to expose to the draft. As I said above, a qualifying offer to Kero or Panik fixes that issue up front.

  15. I think the qualifying offer only applies to goaltenders,skaters are required to be under contract. I don’t understand your point on hartman I didn’t say he was going anywhere only made the point if nothing changes he would have to be exposed to the draft to meet compliancy rules, ateast the last time I checked that was the case. Carruth yes needs a qualifying as I pointed different times this was brought up.

  16. Isn’t Kero exempt? Offer to Rasmussen as well would help. Actually I might leave Panik unsigned and sign and expose Rasmussen.

    This could all be moot as maybe Vegas let’s the Hawks know they’ll take one of their UFA’S in Darling or Campbell

  17. Every yr, they say, the cap wont go up/flat it ends up going up about the original estimated amount. Which was around 2m right, so most likely 75m.

    Have 22 and 11 in Rockford add that to the 2m in deadline space we have and theres 3.5m deadline space to use. Those guys arnt traded and we keep everyone for playoffs. Use a little as possible at deadline and then we a decent amount for player bonuses.

    We have a really good team and were going to get better for the coming yrs. Even if PIT and WAS are better/or deeper then every other team in league and are untouchable. We have a better core and those teams might not be in Finals.

    The guy who mentioned the roster reminds him of 2009 was right. We have the top core in hockey and have another wave of good young guys that are going to get better/make us faster and deeper. The Calvary is coming. Were going to get better each yr, starting this yr, going forward for the few coming yrs.

    Whatever we do at deadline, draft and summer fa we are going to get better each yr. Would be sweet to see another Stanley Cup with Hoss.

  18. …..Don’t think the expansion draft is going to effect the Blackhawks thinking in the next two weeks….The question is can we win this thing again ?………..If a few tweaks can better our chances than that is what needs to be done to help our aging championship team…..We ain’t getting any younger you know……lol….Do it now!

  19. re: Ian not understanding my point on Hartman – it’s simple. If the Blackhawks leave him unprotected, Vegas takes him. He has the highest ceiling of any player in the Blackhawks organization that could be available to Vegas AND he’s affordable. The Blackhawks won’t leave him unprotected if they want to retain him.

  20. I agree with that if hartman exposed he goes no question. I looked at kero s age not when he signed his 1st spc. Nhl.com says skaters must be under contract and only mentions qualifying offers in regards to goalies. Yes Ernie only 1 player lost from players left unprotected and not exempt, either drafted or an a available free agent signed early.

  21. Trade 11 and 22 for Andrew Hammond at 400k retained. Still able to bury Hammond with no cap ramifications.

    Lots of teams have to sign a goalie to be compliant.

  22. Tab,

    Doesn’t seem like Carruth would need to receive a QO to be our exposed goalie:

    iii) One goaltender who is under contract in 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2017-18. If the club elects to make a restricted free agent goaltender available in order to meet this requirement, that goaltender must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the club’s protected list.

    From the NHL website.
    https://www.nhl.com/news/nhl-expansion-draft-rules/c-281010592

  23. theWalrus – Carruth is a RFA after this season, which means (obviously) he is not under contract for 2017-18. You cited the line in the rules where it says that, for Carruth to fulfill the exposure requirement for the Hawks, the club must to extend him a qualifying offer before the deadline for protected list submission (5:00 PM ET on Saturday, June 17, 2017). If the Blackhawks choose not to at least extend a QO to Carruth, they need to sign someone else to expose.

  24. The jury is pretty much out on Carruth. Gonna give a guy a contract just to meet the expansion requirements?

    Now, say you trade the remaining contracts of 11 and 22 for Hammond at 400k retained. Ottawa gets rid of some dead money for next year. Pretty much a wash for this year. They are a budget team so that would help them by not having to pay 950k. By retaining the 400k Hammond could still be buried this year as well as next. Zero cap hit if he’s buried. He has actual value as a backup or 3rd string and he would get you expansion compliant. Ottawa appears to like Condon, so they have 3 goalies on the books.

    Giving Carruth a deal simply gets you compliant. Which if you have to do is fine, I guess. But I like my idea better. Even if you have to sweeten the pot a little.

  25. Great link walrus. Comprehension skills lack a bit as you’re a bit contradictory.

    “Doesn’t seem like Carruth would need to receive a QO..”

    Per link

    “…goaltender must have received his qualifying offer…”

  26. Expansion wasn’t done to fill a market void or to even out the conferences.

    Vegas sold 75% of tickets as season tickets to locals. I was skeptical, but that’s impressive. 22 teams in the league are within 2.5 million of the ceiling. Despite what you think it’s not watered down.

  27. I don’t think expansion is going to water down the league much. But I think 2 or 3 teams are going to be bankrupt in the next few years. I would have much rather seen Carolina, Arizona, Islanders or Columbus move to LV.

  28. I agree same on teams moving and it still creates a new team/colors/logo/stuff. ARI to LAS and have a team go to HAR (doesn’t matter if a team won once or had done good. you donot make enough your moved. that will get those teams fans at the rink or your team is moved). Donot care if theres a few water down teams. What there shouldnot ever be is water down salary cap because teams lose so much that not even TOR covers it. Those are the teams that should be required to move (maybe after a 5 or 10 yr grace period of not averaging a certain amount). It is bullshit to try to have a new top 5 teams every 3-5 yrs in order to keep 3-5 teams that cant balance themselves. Parity is fine as long as its neutering the top teams.

  29. Vegas is a good sports town so the team will have a fair shot at financial success. The hard work comes after the 2 or 3 year honeymoon. But I fear for teams like the Canes and Yotes. Canes attendance is 65% and dropping. TV ratings in 10 cities is non existent. Even the Blue Jackets have 3000 empty seats on most nights.

  30. I know there are so many factors such as the expansion draft and cap space right now; however, play for today. Bowman, be as aggressive as you can, make a trade to help the Hawks win this year even if it means trading a first round pick when the draft is in Chicago.

  31. Who would you go after? That pick was 22…along with Marko Dano for what 30 games of Ladd?

    Pick 22 in a good draft year. This year is a bad draft all the way through. No Rubtsov, Max Jones, or Sam Steel (more points than Debrincat in 1 more game) type players in the bottom half of the first round. After pick 2 or 3 it’s slim pickings. And every gm knows this. Meaning it won’t get you a Ladd type player.

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