Chicago Blackhawks Summer Trading: Who Should Go?

There is a wide range of emotion that comes up when the word “trade” is mentioned surrounding a hockey team. In the case of the Chicago Blackhawks, especially in the last 12 months, those emotions are largely negative.

But this summer, there is one player on the roster who shouldn’t feel safe, and statistics indicate fans should feel confident that, if this player is indeed moved, the team will be OK in the long-term.

As we have done in the past, let’s look at two anonymous players. They’re defensemen.

 Player A B
AGE 20 21
GP 46 34
G 4 1
A 3 3
PTS 7 4
 +/- -3 2
H 26 23
BS 46 31
TK 10 7
ATOI 14:18 14:28

In this comparison, we see two nearly identical players. The first player has more games on his resume, and did a better job of hitting, blocking shots and taking the puck away while posting more than twice as many points in ten fewer seconds per game. However, the first player has 12 more NHL games on his resume than the second player.

What might surprise Blackhawks fans is knowing who these two players are:

Player A is Nick Leddy.

Player B is Niklas Hjalmarsson.

Over two seasons, Hjalmarsson made 34 appearances in the NHL before becoming a regular part of the blue line group in Chicago during the 2009-10 season. Of course, Nick Leddy split the 2010-11 season between Chicago and Rockford after he was acquired in the trade that sent Cam Barker to Minnesota.

Leddy showed incredible development over the course of his first professional season, and will be a major factor in the future of the defensive core for the Blackhawks.

On the other hand, Hjalmarsson is now making $3.5M, and put up numbers this past season that aren’t close to earning that salary.

Indeed, one player that put up comparable numbers to those of Hjalmarsson this year was Andy MacDonald of the New York Islanders. Despite playing in 20 fewer games, MacDonald had only six fewer blocked shots and eight fewer hits than Hjalmarsson during the regular season, and posted 17 more points and 17 more takeaways this season.

The trouble with MacDonald, 24, from a Blackhawks’ perspective is that his cap number for the next three seasons is $550k… nearly three million less than Hjalmarsson in Chicago.

When the free agent market dries up quickly this summer, and teams look for a young addition to their blue line, Hjalmarsson might be a name that becomes popular on the trade market.

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10 Responses to Chicago Blackhawks Summer Trading: Who Should Go?

  1. Bill Placzek says:

    Salary has to do with circumstance…everything from where you were drafted or acquired to IF your were tendered a RFA deal outide of your organization.
    Boy, IF MacDonald was even equal to Hjarlmarsson ON the ice the Isles would have been a hwole lot better than their record.
    Leddy and Hjarlmarsson are totally diverse in their roles and upside.
    Will Leddy ever play dee like Hjarlmarsson, eg. engage attackers down low, take the abuse he does, play physical and block shots?
    Will Hjarlmarsson ever have wheel to move laterally like Leddy? Will Hjarlmarsson become a carrier or a guy who can send that long outlet early in a game and actually make it stick? Will Hjarlmarsson start to read and attack instinctively like Leddy?
    If you can successfully evaluate all of those questions, you will come up with the one that have more value.
    Am I talking to the team or trade value?

    It depends upon which YOU have decided have more value.

    Talk and Stats are easily obtainable, but a true read is what separates a pro talent evaluator and a fan site host.

  2. Tre says:

    But will anyone be willing to take him w his salary? Let’s hope young d-men w mediocre stats and big cap hits are in demand this offseason.

    If the hawks can’t move him, it’s possible he could return to the form that earned him that salary in the first place. He is young and still has room for improvement.

    In any case, informative article.

  3. Nathan says:

    There are some teams in the league that aren’t so deep at the blueline. Hammer could be a realistic 3rd option for a few teams. His cap hit is large – but on a team that is trying to build he could be a good fit. For a team looking for a bright future, Hammer + an RFA and/or prospect/pick is a pretty loaded offer – and one the Hawks should be willing to make.

  4. Nick says:

    A little misleading here since you are describing Hjalmarsson from a few years ago. I agree that Leddy has a ton of potential and they should do everything in their power to keep him but I also believe Hjalmarsson has a ton of potential as well. The Blackhawks obviously liked what they saw when they gave him the contract over Niemi.

    What you did is classic ESPN. That would be like Stephen A. Smith comparing Kobe Bryant’s numbers to Michael Jordan and saying Kobe is the better player.

  5. Nathan says:

    Living in the land of make believe trades. For fun, would you trade: (just the principle players)

    To NYR:
    Sharp and Hjalmarrson

    To Chicago:
    Dubinsky, Boyle, Sauer

  6. Brad Stevenson says:

    Who takes Hammer??? San Jose for one…if the Hawks put Hammer up on the market, someone will take him and get a good, young DMan…for us, Hammer isn’t physical enough, doesn’t produce points enough and costs WAY too much…but that won’t be the case for a lot of other teams…

    I really think Hammer is the one who needs to go…

  7. Nathan says:

    Tab, I was doing some reading about RFA’s, qualifying offers and arbitration rights since it is always such a foggy issue for fans. It turns out that Frolik is not arbitration eligible which means he has to accept a one year one way qualifying offer. The amount of that offer is 105% of his BASE salary, not salary plus performance bonuses – which would make a cap number right around 800,000 for next year. I think it’s pretty important to realize this going forward in our collective speculation. I checked out the other Hawk RFA’s and they are all arbitration eligable. But, for next season at least, unless Bowman wants to lock up Frolik now, he should have a VERY managable cap number.

  8. Nathan says:

    EDIT: his base salary, minus performance AND signing bonuses.

    http://capgeek.com/NHL_NHLPA_2005_CBA.pdf
    page 30-31 (section 10.2) qualifying offers
    page 52-53 (section 12.1) arbitration rights

  9. tom says:

    we have several young d-men ready or very close to ready to come up. lalonde, olsen, vishnevsky,carlson,papin. i say we trade campbell to the kings who would love to have him and can afford him for simmonds and either schenn or a pick. then send hammer off to whoever will take him for whatever we can get for him and you clear 11 million off the books to sign crawford, and sharp. then if beach and morin don’t look quite ready yet you still have some dough to pick up a solid free agent

  10. Huh? says:

    Hjammer is 21? Thats a shock. I was under the impression he was born in 1987 which would make him 23.

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