Could The Blackhawks Enter The Trade Market Soon?

The Canucks made a fairly significant trade over the weekend, acquiring David Booth from Florida. Other teams are said to be getting into the market as injuries pile up all over the NHL.

Could the Blackhawks enter the market soon?

There are a number of teams searching for a defenseman right now. Montreal, Tampa, Columbus, Calgary and Pittsburgh are just a few of the teams that have allegedly shown some interest in acquiring a young player to help their blue line.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Sami Lepisto has been on the ice for 9:35 this season. He’s young, cheap, and not playing. Is he a top-four defenseman? Probably not. But could he help a team struggling through injuries? Absolutely. And he might bring a draft pick back to Chicago.

Similarly, Brian Connelly continues to skate in Rockford with little chance of ever calling the United Center home. He was an AHL All-Star last year with the IceHogs, and has been productive in Rockford for a few years.

But at 25 and on a one-year deal, this make-or-break year for Connelly would figure to be more of a trade bait season for him; with eight players ahead of him on the NHL roster, and youngsters Dylan Olsen, Ryan Stanton and Shawn Lalonde likely factoring more in the long-term plans of the organization, he’s a good player watching the ceiling only get higher over his head.

Those are two names that might intrigue a general manager somewhere else in the NHL right now.

Down the road, it could be interesting to see what other names enter the trade winds. As Olsen, Stanton and Lalonde continue to develop in Rockford, could Steve Montador find himself becoming available? He has struggled to establish himself as a fifth defenseman this year (skating five minutes less per game than he did in Buffalo last year), and might become expendable.

Considering the organizational depth Chicago has on the blue line, his four year deal raised a few eyebrows this summer. His cap number is affordable for most teams, too. The Blackhawks only gave up a seventh round pick (acquired from Florida for Tomas Kopecky) to negotiate with Montador, but might bring back better value if they decide to move him before the deadline.

Up front, it’s doubtful that Jamal Mayers will become available. Daniel Carcillo also appears to be establishing himself well with the Hawks group of forwards. Considering both of them are on one-year deals, and bring a physicality to the game the Hawks lacked last year, they should be safe.

If, or should we say when, Viktor Stalberg slumps, could he be a player the Blackhawks make available? With Ben Smith and Jeremy Morin coming back to full health in Rockford, and Brandon Pirri getting better with each game, there could be pressure on Stalberg to “put up or shut up.”

Maybe the longest shot to go on the market, what happens if Andrew Brunette continues to be entirely too slow to be a top-six forward in Chicago? Could he become available as well? On a one-year deal, he could be an affordable rental for a team trying to sneak into the Eastern Conference playoffs.

If anyone wants Rostislav Olesz or John Scott, one would have to assume the Blackhawks would listen to (read: accept, then laugh at) any offer.

Because the Blackhawks have so many prospects getting close to the NHL in Rockford, and they have a handful of experienced players on short-term deals, Chicago is in perfect position to take advantage of a desperate team or two this season.

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9 Responses to Could The Blackhawks Enter The Trade Market Soon?

  1. ray says:

    As someone who is closer to the situation, do you think there would be the possibility of the ‘Hawks trading any combination of the names you’ve listed and maybe a draft pick for player like Dubinsky or Anisimov. NYR are stacked up the middle and desperately need some help on the line. I’d love to see Dubinsky centering the 2nd line, but NYR would require more than Lepisto.

  2. kevin trudeau-ducharme says:

    Brunette, O’Donnell, Lepisto, Olesz, Scott, Stalberg all gone next season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Montador and possibly Hjalmarrson gone with Kruger still floating in and out. Mayers is great, Carcillo has shown WAY more ability than anyone expected but there’s going to be a potential 6-8 spots open next season, not counting Emery out for Salak.

    With all that said, Morin, Pirri, Smith, Connelly/Olsen/Lalonde, Saad…it seems very likely Chicago will go back to being the youngest team in the league- and also among the most dangerous!

  3. Nate says:

    Stalberg has a two year deal, so unless there’s a trade he’ll be back.

    What on earth makes you think Hjalmarrson might be gone? With the way salaries are going right now I doubt the Hawks could acquire a better defensemen for less money, and it’s not as if they’ll need/want/should get rid of him to make room for a prospect. If Olsen or Lalonde come up next year they’ll get put in the slot O’Donnell currently holds. Hammer has been playing fine.

  4. kevin trudeau-ducharme says:

    I guess with the salary cap going up and with Scandinavia tv deals, no NBA, etc it could be on the rise, so Hammers $3.5M doesn’t hurt quite so bad. I guess for what he does as a stay-at-home defensemen, he’s worth keeping around. I thought Stalberg was awful last season and his flashes of greatness this season are just setting me up for disappointment.

  5. Cody says:

    Don’t forget about draft picks. The ‘Hawks could essentially give up every one of their picks in the upcoming draft and their system would still be among the best in the leauge because of the pieces they’ve acquired over the last two drafts and through trades. And considering how low the Blackhawks project to finish this season, their 1st rounder is expendable if it brings a high quality player.

    They’re in a very fortunate position. They have enough talent in the pipeline that losing a few draft picks won’t hurt at all and they don’t need to dump salary to accomodate anyone. Bowman could essentially make up a package deal that consists solely of picks and prospects if he needs to.

    With that in mind, I don’t think they need to start shopping soon. Teams that start trading this early in the season are usually desperate either due to injuries or bad starts ( case in point: Canucks and Canadiens) It’s too early to assess which teams would make ideal trading partners. I think Phoenix and Calgary will be the two big firesales by January once they realize that their teams can’t contend and need to rebuild, and maybe Montreal if they realize that their team actually sucks.

    So the best candidates from Phoenix would be Doan, Hanzal and Langkow. Best candidates from Calgary would be Iginla (I can dream can’t I?) Tanguay, Jokinen or Glencross. Best candidates from Montreal would be Cammalleri, Plekanec and Cole (who was an option in the summer) and is struggling on the Habs.

  6. wall says:

    Nate, I agree…

    Cody, I also like Doan, Iginla, and Cammalleri. Who knows if the Flames really suck they might move Iginla to rebuild, and as a favor to him!

  7. Brad Beatty says:

    I agree with the assessment that Brunette is too slow to be a top 6 forward in Chicago. He looks like a stock car racing a bunch of Indy Cars when paired with Sharp, Toews, Kane, or Hossa. Montador seems to be filling a role but I would think the Hawks would listen to offers for him. I could easily see Stalberg moved as well. The way I see it the Hawks have some great depth at Rockford and its a good spot to be in.

  8. Ronald H. Witt says:

    I hate how the hard cap is always involved.

  9. Chris says:

    Why would they trade Montador, whom they gave a 4yr deal and is the type of defenseman they’ll need in the playoffs?

    I think we’ll see the same defense the whole year, save for when injuries hit.

    I could see Lalonde or Olsen + a pick or a mid-level younger forward for someone like Doan or Grabovski if TOR falls out of contention

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