The Blackhawks have reportedly been interested in adding a scoring forward for some time. And a couple names have consistently been linked to Chicago.
— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) January 13, 2017
James van Riemdsyk, who was the pick immediately following Patrick Kane in the 2007 NHL Draft, has a $4.25M cap hit through the 2017-18 season. He has scored 150 goals in 485 games between Toronto and Philadelphia; the Flyers drafted him and later traded him to the Leafs in 2012 for Luke Schenn. He has 14 goals and 19 assists in 39 games this season, and (obviously) his brother plays for the Hawks.
Gabriel Landeskog was also a second overall pick, his selection coming at the 2012 NHL Draft (following Ryan Nugent-Hopkins). He has posted 259 points in 386 career NHL games, all with Colorado. Landeskog carries a $5,571,429 cap hit through the 2020-21 season, and he is currently the captain of the Avalanche.
JvR will turn 28 on May 4, while Landeskog won’t celebrate his 25th birthday until late November.
It’s been widely reported that the Avs are open for business, with Nathan MacKinnon the only player who has been considered “untouchable” by Colorado’s front office. Chicago has also been linked to Jarome Iginla (a name that surfaces in Chicago almost annually over the past decade), but his $5,333,333 cap hit and the fact that his contract expires after this season make adding him a longer shot.
One if the issues we have discussed previously is the upcoming expansion draft. Ryan Hartman, who is off to a great start this season, will be eligible for the expansion draft. With him being young, affordable and under control, his continued stretch of strong play could make him a popular name for Vegas.
The prospect of potentially losing Hartman – and the Hawks’ upcoming cap considerations – are reasons for Chicago to look for a player under control beyond this season.
Considering the expansion draft, the Blackhawks have tough decisions to make whether they make a trade or not. Up front, Jonathan Toews and Kane will undoubtedly be protected. Artem Anisimov and Marian Hossa both have clauses on their contracts that would protect them as well, unless the organization asks them to waive those protections. Because of his service time, Artemi Panarin is exempt from the expansion draft.
Marcus Kruger would figure to be a player who will likely be linked to both upcoming trade rumors and the expansion draft. With a $3,083,333 cap hit through 2018-19, Kruger is a good enough defensive center to get some attention. But his cap hit – and limited offensive game – aren’t nearly enough for the Hawks to aggressively go after a player the likes of JvR or Landeskog.