At the end of October, there were rumors that the Blackhawks had been exchanging interest with the Toronto Maple Leafs, which led to a flurry of speculation around the players either side would have interest in if a trade was imminent.
Both teams’ General Managers, the Blackhawks’ Stan Bowman and Toronto’s Brian Burke, didn’t say much at that point. However, the evolution of November has hit both teams, and circumstances are becoming more immediate for a potential deal to go down.
The Blackhawks are negotiating new contracts with three of their best players right now, but keeping Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith likely means someone else on the current Hawks roster has to leave. If the “tagging rule” means as much as it appears it does, that move might have to happen before the three new deals are signed.
The Hawks have said they would like to have everything ready for a press conference when the team returns from the Circus Trip at the beginning of December.
Meanwhile, Burke was quoted by The Fourth Period (TFP) on November 19 as saying “”I have been exploring the trade front since I got here, but it is hard to do, and if this group can’t get it done then the next step is to send somebody down and bring up one of the kids.”
This was really the first time Burke had not only called his team out in the media this year, but also publicly spoke at any length about potential player movement. From the tone of his conversation, it appears Burke intends to get younger in Toronto.
TFPalso mentioned that veterans Tomas Kaberle and Jason Blake could be on the move this year, while Alexei Ponikarovsky, Matt Stajan and Vesa Toskala are all on the block as well. Earlier this year, when Cristobal Huet was struggling, a deal for Toskala and Kaberle had been rumored; it appears now that Huet has settled in as the Hawks top goalie.
If you have read any of the rumorson CommittedIndians, you’ll know that there were conversations between Dale Tallon and Toronto before Tallon was relieved of his duties as Hawks’ GM this summer. The continued struggles of the Leafs, and Burke’s now-public stance that there may be a fire sale, make Toronto a popular trade rumor.
Then came Saturday night.
TFP reported that Blackhawks assistant GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and a Hawks scout were among the 12 scouts/personnel people that attended the Leafs game in Toronto.
The fact that the Blackhawks have apparently set a timetable of December 1 to get the contracts done with Kane, Keith and Toews done, and someone must go, having Cheveldayoff in Toronto might be an indication that something might go down between the Hawks and Leafs soon.