Blackhawks Trade Speculation: Should Chicago Deal Viktor Stalberg?

As the NHL trade deadline continues to come closer, the bi-polar Blackhawks aren’t making the decision(s) of GM Stan Bowman any easier. What do they need? How will they get it? And, perhaps most important, who is available?

One player that might be part of the answer to all three of those questions is Viktor Stalberg.

First, let’s look at Stalberg’s season to date:

Games: 57
Goals: 16
Assists: 16
Points: 32
+/-: +3
ATOI: 13:25
Hits: 65
Takeaways: 16
Giveaways: 12
GWG: 6

Most of these numbers reflect career-highs for Stalberg, who has one season left on his contract carrying a $875k cap hit. Just for perspective, let’s look at a few players that have scored fewer goals than Stalberg this season:

15
TJ Oshie, St. Louis Blues
Kyle Brodziak, Minnesota Wild
Troy Brouwer, Washington Capitals
Michael Grabner, New York Islanders

14
Paul Stastny, Colorado Avalanche
Mike Cammalleri, Calgary Flames
Mike Richards, Los Angeles Kings
Devin Setoguchi, Minnesota Wild

13
Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
Danny Briere, Philadelphia Flyers
Derek Roy, Buffalo Sabres

Some other familiar names that appear further down the list include Dallas’ Mike Ribeiro, San Jose’s Joe Thornton, Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec, Boston’s David Krejci and Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler.

What do all of the players I’ve just named have in common? They’re all making millions of dollars more than Stalberg per season, including Brodiak’s new extension that carries a cap hit of $2.83M for the next three seasons.

Of course, we’re not saying Stalberg is anywhere close to being as accomplished as some of the players on this list. But when you consider that Grabner signed a five-year, $15M deal after his rookie season, and Oshie is making $2.35M this year and hasn’t scored more than 18 in an NHL season yet, Stalberg is having a career-year in a season that has seen the production slip from a lot of stars around the league.

Also keep in mind that only seven players in the NHL have more game-winning goals than Stalberg’s six so far this season. Indeed, Pavel Datsyuk, Corey Perry and Daniel Sedin are just a few of the players with fewer game-winning strikes than Stalberg.

So should the Hawks explore trading the inexpensive and surprisingly-effective Stalberg?

Yes.

Bowman has been forced to deal away a lot of talented players since taking over, but has effectively received at least decent, if not above-market, value in most (not all) deals.

Considering he landed a first round pick for Brouwer, who was a free agent walking out the door, there’s something to be said for Bowman’s ability to turn nothing into something (the pick acquired from Washington for Brouwer was used to select Phillip Danault).

In a market with a lot of teams looking to make a desperate move to bolster their lineup, the Hawks certainly have some pieces they would like to move.

Brendan Morrison has been nothing to the organization, and might hit waivers before the Hawks host the Leafs on Feb. 29 if he can’t find a new home in a trade. Similarly, Michael Frolik has found himself frozen out of the lineup for the last couple weeks and is available to just about anyone who’s interested.

But the piece that undoubtedly would receive the most interest, and bring back the best value in a trade, could be Stalberg.

The statistic that could hold the most intrigue for another general manager, and is cause for considering Stalberg’s availability, is his average ice time.

Looking at the Hawks’ roster this year, Stalberg’s average ice time ranks behind names like Kruger, Shaw and even Frolik. Despite showing flashes of great ability, he has only skated more than 15 minutes twice in February (at Calgary and at Columbus). What’s more, Stalberg has only skated more than 15 minutes in one of his seven multi-point games this year.

What we have seen, both from Stalberg and coach Joel Quenneville, is that the realistic ceiling for him on the current Blackhawks roster is as a third line player. Much like Kris Versteeg and Andrew Ladd were good players that found their niche among Chicago’s bottom six forwards, Stalberg is best when playing fewer minutes.

Yet only three regular Hawks forwards (Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews) have a lower production time (average ice time per point) than Stalberg (23:55).

At 26, Stalberg is young enough that there could be a lot of great hockey to come from him. And considering his cap number, he could be considered one of the better value forwards in the NHL this season.

Which is why the Hawks should consider moving him now.

Based strictly on contracts coming off the books in July, the Hawks will have nine forwards returning (including Stalberg). Jimmy Hayes, Brandon Saad, Jeremy Morin, Brandon Pirri and Andrew Shaw will compete for a roster spot in Chicago next season, and the Hawks will certainly have cap space to add a veteran or two. 

So, if the market is desperate for a talented young player with a low cap number, and the Hawks could conceivably replace Stalberg in the lineup soon (read: Hayes now, others next year and beyond), why not try to use him to improve the team?

Looking at teams in the hunt for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, there are few that could use a player like Stalberg.

Winnipeg only has three players with more than 16 goals on their roster, and (shockingly) Stalberg has more points than Ladd entering Monday.

Toronto, from whom the Blackhawks acquired Stalberg in the 2010 trade of Versteeg, has four players with more than 16 goals, but only five players on their roster have scored more than 10 this year. They’re a top-heavy team looking for depth, and Burke might have interest in a guy that can fly up and down the ice (see Kessel, Phil for a reference).

Pittsburgh has two players that have already scored 30 goals, but only three that have more than Stalberg’s 16 goals. They’re in a fight with New Jersey, Ottawa and the newly-improved Philadelphia Flyers to end up anywhere between the fourth and seventh seed in the Eastern Conference (only two points separate the four teams now). Adding a good depth forward, especially in light of the defensive moves made by Philly, might make sense to the Pens as well.

If the Predators are willing to move one of their top forward prospects and a second round pick for Gill, could the Hawks expect similar return for Stalberg? Should the opportunity present itself to sell high on Stalberg, Bowman would certainly have to entertain offers.

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51 Responses to Blackhawks Trade Speculation: Should Chicago Deal Viktor Stalberg?

  1. Ross Blumenfeld says:

    Bowman is busy taking in the Bulls game.

    Hey, what would happen if they traded Stalberg to the Blue Jackets? Would he score every game or never score again, because it seems like it would be one or the other.

  2. Logan Reilly says:

    Tab, this is one where I completely agree. His stock is high…time to cash in.

    He still does stupid mistakes and I think Chicago could get a player that is more dependable.

    As for Brendan Morrison. What did I say? Said he was useless. Just another player Chicago will be cutting the cord on this summer.

    Finally, trade talk….its funny that Chicago is looking for a defenseman and a center when they might have those exact pieces in their system right now but will be ready next fall. Dylan Olsen and Brandon Pirri could be those guys.

    As for goaltenders, I hope they don’t get Khabby. He’s always injured nowadays and there could be a real chance he’d be injured come playoff time. Let that one go.

    Then there’s this talk that Doug Wilson fleeced us with signing Niemi. Did he? Did he really? Last time I looked San Jose has no Stanley Cup. Last time I looked he was struggling this spring. San Jose bows out early I hope that will end the talk of how Wilson was soooo smart in getting Niemi with the signing of Hjalmerson.

    One last note…would people stop suggesting that Chicago trade this and that core player to fix the team. They’re the ones that were hoisting the Stanley Cup. We’ve already traded away enough of those players. A player like Stalberg is the right one to bait another team.

  3. Nate says:

    Trade him for who? Secondary scoring has been slim enough this year that I would really hesitate to trade Stalberg unless you could get a player to replace him in the trade. Like you said, someone with similar production is probably going to cost a lot more.

  4. Joe says:

    I hate the idea of trading Stalberg. Stalberg has found a whole new level to his game this season that I feel has been fantastic. And it’s not just scoring. He has good size and great speed and has shown that he can use both effectively. As a third line winger he is constantly giving fits to the opposition by creating space with his speed. As mentioned he is still young and I actually think there is more upside possible. Plus I think we’re starting to see how his game actually makes others around him better (think Bickell recently). Trading him away at this point, with his low cap hit through next year, just seems to make very little sense to me.

  5. Pete says:

    Tab you mentioned a bunch of younger players in the article that would be competing for a roster spot next year including Saad and Morin. Is there any chance Saad and Morin could be added to the roster at the end of this year similar to what Ben Smith did last year. The idea being get faster for a playoff run.

  6. I want to chime in on Logan Reilly’s last point and the absolute chorus of people on many of Tab’s posts who’ve been calling for Kaner to be sent packing…I have a friend in NY who bitched and moaned through much of last year about Gaborik. If one recalls, he had a sub-par year last season and I’m told the talk there was dump him. To me, it sounds like the same chatter this year here with Kane. Admittedly, he’s not finding the net as much as he’s capable but maybe there’s a lesson learned with the Rangers not moving Gaborik last year when he was not producing. Last I looked he’s back to his old self this year…so stop the chatter about Kane and let’s hope he regains the touch over the next 20ish games. I really think he’ll return to form and we’d be kicking ourselves about it down the line. As much as we need depth in several areas, I still think we desperately need a puck-mover from the back end…oh how I wish we had Campbell still. Any of you Campbell bashers of years past still happy that he’s gone? Wouldn’t he look great on our PP these days; not to mention getting the puck out of our end cutting down on giveaways that was another one of Tab’s subjects?

  7. darcy says:

    I am on the fence on this one to be honest.I like what Stalberg brings to the team with his speed and I think his battling down low has improved.I think our depth positions can be filled with the likes of McNeil and Saad as early as next year.If someone wants to overpay us for him then sure,why not.My main concern is that he seems to be coming into his own and is a bargain at this point.We seem to have alot of role players coming from our system in the near future.It’s a tough call!

  8. darcy says:

    I’m with Pete about seeing Saad come playoffs,that is if Saginaw takes an early exit.Seems to me that they are playing better now though and have been moving up in the standings.

  9. Pete says:

    Darcy, can’t we just take him without worrying about what Saginaw is doing?

  10. darcy says:

    I’m sure they have agreements in place so,no.Lol

  11. Dominic says:

    I love that you have so much faith in the young guys, and hope you are correct. But for the purposes of trades made at the deadline, usually they are about playoff runs, and I totally agree that Stalberg’s value is high, and I think we have some work to do to be a playoff contender. If we could FINALLY get a legit second line center for Stalberg, we could put Sharpie back on the wing where he belongs. That would be an instant improvement don’t you think? I don’t know who is out there being shopped around in the legit 2nd line center category, but it would be mighty nice to get someone – hopefully NOT another 5’11, 175 pounder….

    Also, I miss Campbell too! But we wouldn’t have any room to trade if he wasn’t gone I suppose. If we do nothing by the deadline I will really miss Campbell though, cause that will mean that extra cap space went nowhere, and we only got a costly minor leaguer in return. So, for my part, I am hoping they do USE the cap space the Campbell trade allowed them, and they get someone better (and more expensive) than Stalberg from a team who is looking to dump payroll and rebuild for the future….

  12. Tab Bamford says:

    @Pete – no, we can’t. He’s still under a contract w/ Saginaw. I don’t think we’ll see him again until after Rockford’s season ends.

  13. Pete says:

    I don’t have knowledge of how the “minor league” system works in hockey. I know we grabbed Kruger off some Swedish team last year, but that might have been after their season was over.

  14. Tab Bamford says:

    Hypothetical: Stalberg & a d-man gets you Vermette… Opinions then?

  15. darcy says:

    Dominic,I agree a second line centre would be great,but at what price?My faith in the young guys is probably optimistic but that is what we got when we had to dismantle a great team.Rentals work 25% of the time and right now the price is high for deal making.I have no problem spending to get some help.In fact I think Stan will do fine and if nothing much happens ,the price was too much.

  16. Pete says:

    Just throwing one out here-Stahlberg, Danault and a #1 pick for Nash or is that completely unrealistic.

  17. Dominic says:

    Tab, for me, it is intriguing. It depends on the D-man, but he could be the legit second line center we have been looking for…. His stats are not great, but that is hard to read cause it’s been years since he has played on a decent team….

  18. darcy says:

    Pete,Kruger came from elite league at end of playoffs.Major Junior hockey has agreements with nhl.Once player is done the season or playoffs he is available.

  19. Pete says:

    So does that mean that Saad could be completely out of the picture for this season or is Saginaw’s season certain to end prior to the NHL playoffs?

  20. darcy says:

    Which D-man?Lepisto,sure!

  21. darcy says:

    I think the playoffs for Saginaw starts around march 24 so whenever they get eliminated!

  22. Pete says:

    Darcy, that sounds like he won’t be an option for this years team.

  23. Logan Reilly says:

    2nd line center: Derek Roy’s name keeps popping up and he’s a good player but rather smallish. Chicago doesn’t need to be smaller.

    As for Vermette…I’m not big on him. Disappears too much. he played strong for Columbus after intially being traded but I’d rather just keep Stalberg.

  24. Pete says:

    Roy scored twice yesterday and I think he’s in his prime as opposed to being washed up/on his last legs.

  25. darcy says:

    Pete,if Saginaw exits first round he would be available come nhl playoffs.

  26. boom-boom says:

    With all of the Derek Roy rumors going on, what if the Hawks also picked up Robin Regehr in a Buffalo deal as well. Although he’s not a puckmover he is a big guy who hits people and blocks shots. It would add about $8 mil in cap for next year minus whatever you trade back to Buffalo (Stalberg, Frolik??) Could setup these defensive pairs for the next two years:
    Seabrook – Kieth
    Regehr – Leddy
    Hjalmarsson – Olsen

  27. Pete says:

    If the Hawks want Roy, a big issue is that Buffalo isn’t out of it yet. It looks like they are 7 points out of a playoff spot. They play three times before the trade deadline. the Islanders tomorrow and then Boston and the Rangers. So if they lose to the Islanders they could get swept before the trade deadline and be more ready to make a deal. So if anyone really wants to go nuts on this stuff watch the Sabre’s/Islanders game tomorrow night.

  28. Logan Reilly says:

    Pete…I wouldn’t be angry if Chicago got him. I think he’s a good player that has played for a good coach. I just wonder if push comes to shove would he disappear? He’s been to the conference finals twice behind centres Briere and Drury. He also won MVP at the Memorial Cup so the guy is a winner. Its just that damn 5’9″ height that bugs me.

  29. Pete says:

    I know what your saying, but that little Martin St. Louis on Tampa has been a top scorer for years and he is tiny. I can’t stand St. Louis ever since that illegal shootout goal he got against us last year where he stopped and then acted like he just won the Stanley Cup. We lost a bunch of games right after that as I recall.

  30. Logan Reilly says:

    Good rebuttal and good memory. That pissed me off too. lol

  31. Pete says:

    Ever since that play I have been looking for somebody to crush St. Louis with a good clean hit. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to get hit. I have noticed that Kane is starting to get hit. Yesterday, there was one play where two Blues crushed Kane into the boards at the same time. I think someone on the Hawks responded to that, but I can’t recall who it was.

  32. darcy says:

    From Buffalo I would prefer Paul Gaustad to help bolster our bottom 6 and he is a good faceoff man.Put Sharpe back at centre or fill in the top six with Pirri,Morin or Saad and position accordingly.The deeper our bottom 6 the better.Regehr I like, do you think they would take Monty back?

  33. Logan Reilly says:

    I’m Totally on the Sharp at center bandwagon and don’t get why he’s not there. They say he’s better at wing but I don’t see it. afaic he’s just as good at center and thats where he played 2010 playoffs. We had a 1,2,3 punch of Toews, Sharp and Bolland. Now thats strength down the middle!

    And this stuff aboot he scores better at wing is hogwash. Never affected him or Toews and Roenick for that matter.

  34. Pete says:

    Personally, I think Sharp plays better when he is out there with Kane. I don’t have the stats to back it up but Kane puts the pass right there and Sharp is a great finisher.

  35. Dominic says:

    Logan: He is great at center. No argument. He is a great player. But at wing he is one of the biggest shorthanded and breakaway threats in the league. I think he might have even led the league in shorties a few years back, or am I mistaken? If he didn’t, he led it for much of the season. You can’t cherry-pick like that at center. But I would never say he is ‘bad’ at center….

  36. Robin Regehr, yikes…nice name and size but Boom-Boom did you look at his stats? 1G – 2A & -14. I think I’ll be happy to stay with Hammer @ 1 – 11 & +5 and Monty at 5 – 9 & +4. We don’t need a big minus player on the back end.
    And I, for one, are not at all supportive of loading up with youngsters come playoff time.

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  38. NavyLifer3 says:

    OK I’m going to put this out there and step back and let all of you tell me how nuts I am!

    Buffalo are sellers and would likely pay a king’s ransom to have a favorite son come back and be the face of the franchise. Plus, they just so happen to have talent where we’re well…iffy.

    So, here goes… Patrick Kane and Corey Crawford for Ryan Miller and Tyler Meyers! If I can I’d dump Frolik on them too! Sure would be nice to have a franchise net minder and we’d have the best four defenders we’ve had in a while…for a while!

  39. ray says:

    To Logan and Dominic: I would prefer Sharp at center, but he has a piece of bone floating around in his wrist. Having him take faceoffs seems like an unnecessary risk at this point, if it can be avoided. I was shocked when Q tested Kane at center when he just had wrist surgery. He has come out recently saying he still requires massages and isn’t 100% after surgery.

  40. Tab Bamford says:

    to NavyLifer: yes, you’re nuts. You’re overpaying by a Patrick Kane in your proposed trade.

  41. ray says:

    Tab, you crack me up sometimes.

    How much do you think Carle from Philly will command this offseason? He’s a decent sized puckmoving defenseman. Still wouldn’t replace Campbell but might make sense as an offseason pickup. On his expiring contract he has a cap hit of 3.8mil according to capgeek. It seems like he is falling out of favor in Philly so it is likely that they do not extend him before free agency starts.

  42. en4cer21 says:

    Saad can’t come to the Hawks until his junior season ends he also can’t go to Rockford until his junior season end. Kane for Miller and Myers really why would you even let something that stupid come out of your mouth?? Myers is big and thats about it he has had a decline in his play has been on the IR this season , Dylan Olsen is a better option then Myers. And Kane is a star for many years to come I think he still is filling the affects of the wrist surgery. But any one who thinks he should be traded especially for Miller is a damn fool. And would every one stop with the Campbell shit!!! His contract was way two high and he has 3 goals and 30 A this season. Leddy 2 G 24 A wow 1 goal and 6 assist differece that would really make such an impact here. As for Stalberg you keep him his contract is cap friendly for a guy who will hit 20 goals this season and he is clicking with Bolland and even Bickell is playing better since they became a trio.

  43. shamrock says:

    I say keep Stalberg. I dont agree that there are roster spots that are going be taken by guys in Roackford. Out of the guys mentioned Saad, Morin, Shaw, Pirri, and Hayes the only one I see with taking a spot is Hayes. And now you can argue he has a spot. As for Shaw I still think he needs time in Rockford. Yes he is aggresive and has heart but he needs to add size and do a better job of protecting himself. Pirri has been back and forth between teams but as the Hawks need a 2nd line center Pirri couldnt lock into that spot. Or apparently take the third line spot after Bolland was moved up. I dont see that changing this offseason. Maybe after another full year. Morin hasnt been called up this year but was injured. As for Saad he is still really young and may need time in Rockford.

    With all that said Im not sure that these guys (except Hayes)will take a roster spot. At least with Stalberg you have a player with siza and speed who is on the rise. Im not saying he is untouchabel but the trade would have a be pretty special to consider it.

    Also Im really curious to see McNeill and Kevin Hayes in next years camp.

  44. Kurt says:

    No one is mentioning the fact that Stahlberg has the best speed on the team. I can’t deny he disappears from time to time. His ability to score albeit inconsistent is what is needed at the back end of the roster. The big question is what will he cost when he is up for a new contract. If he re-ups at the same cost as Frolik… then keep him! He will only get better. As they say, you can teach a guy to limit turnovers…. but you can’t teach speed. He has the tools to become a solid member of this team.

    The thing you need to start considering is all the talent in the minors. This is unproven talent. The jump from minors to the NHL can prove to be too big for some of these guy’s. There will simply not be enough spots for some of these guy’s. This is a wonderful problem to have. Start taking advantage of this asset and if needed… include it in a trade. Not all of these young gun’s will make it in the NHL. The biggest trick is to figure out which ones will. I love the way the hawks bring guy’s up for a taste/evaluation. Then send back to the minors to hone their craft. This is what Detroit has done, and they have been at the top 5 for 20+ years.

    I think the stable of forwards they currently have is much stronger then the D-men. With the exception of Olsen via draft and Leddy via trade… do the hawks have much beyond them?

    I think in Olsen/Leddy, the hawks have the making of Seabrook/Keith 2.0!

  45. Dominic says:

    So if the majority here do not want to trade anyone, how are we going to go deep into the playoffs? If you look at the standings we are missing something, it is debatable what that something is, but not debatable that we are missing it…

  46. darcy says:

    I’m all for trading to get help but I don’t want to waste prospects on rentals.Get players we can use next year as well with an eye on our young guys that may be ready to come up.

  47. Italian Stallion says:

    Don’t think Stalberg is going anywhere although, the idea of getting Nash for him and a few other prospects sounds good………Naaaaah it won’t happen…….if Corey Crawford doesn’t improve dramatically the Hawks seriously need another goaltender , this has been an ongoing problem this season…..just do the math Goals For and Goals Against…its too late to make major changes with defensemen and offense ranks almost tops in the league!!!

  48. darcy says:

    Back on topic,no I think we should keep Stalberg!

  49. Trueblue1225 says:

    I don’t think the Blackhawks should trade Victor Stalberg. He is the fastest skater that the Blackhawks have and is doing a good job hitting people, which the Blackhaws lack. Stalberg plays on all three lines with a good attitude. If they get rid of Frolick, they give Stalberg his 2.3 million dollar per year.

    Jimmy Hayes is good right now and is big. Jeremy Morin and Brian Saad might be a good players in the future, but then again might need a season or two more in AHL to adjust.

    Andrew Shaw plays hard, but his lack of size is a big negative. Hawks have too many small players like Kruger, Ben Smith and even Kane. Besides Kane , I would be open to dealing the others.

    I would try more to trade Kruger, Frolick, Andrew Shaw,Ben Smith, Rostislav Olesz, Kyle Beach and maybe a 4th or 5th round draft pick for a good defensive player or abled body center.

    People I would trade for: Toni Lydman – very solid defensive player, Minnesota top 3 goalies, Sam Ganger – center, Travis Moen – outstanding defensive wing, Lennart Petrell Wing/center – defensive forward.

    By the way – the person above who said Brandon Pirri is a defense man is wrong – he is a center.

  50. RyanDale says:

    Keeper, I want him on my roster for another 2-3 years at least. He’s gotten alot better, leave him alone. We got plenty of others to move. Vic is gonna be part of ‘the core’ everyone talks about if given the time and work. And keep Crawford , he’s better than the numbers show and I like what Waite had to say recently about turning a corner …actually moving less, staying still, making the play when it is time to, not before.

  51. Glenn says:

    Sorry, late to the party on this post.

    I would not want to trade Stalberg – even to get Vermette. Stalberg is still getting better. His speed and size are rare and he’s just now starting to learn how to use that speed and size/reach to be a very effective forechecker. He’s becoming more consistent at all phases of the game. He’s seeing plays better and making more plays now. He’s using his speed on the backcheck to disrupt opponent plays. And, it seems his hands are getting better in shooting, passing and controling the puck.

    He’ll probably end up about 20g/20a this year getting very little time on the PP. Yeah, he still will make mental mistakes but he shown the ability to learn and make improvements in his game and those mental mistakes should become more infrequent over the next year.

    Stalberg for president :)

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