I love writing this blog. However, I was hoping this year, I'd be able to write about the Blackhawks "buying" players vs. being in a selling position.
We all know the NHL Trade Deadline is on Monday. We all know the Hawks have completely soiled the bed as of late; CHI has just 2 wins in their last 10 games.
So, they can be mad and Jeremy Colliton can cancel practice (like he did on Thursday) to work on their "off-ice" skills, but the reality is that this team on paper was a bubble playoff team in 2019-20 and they are on the outside of that bubble.
So without further ado, let's look at what could happen from now until Monday with the Hawks selling off some pieces to help them get back on track for the future.
I will break these out by a few scenarios:
Robin Lehner's camp and Chicago agree to a deal (on paper or in principle) to keep him in Chicago. The last I've heard is that the sides are still talking and trying to work something out. If this is the case, the Hawks would then approach Corey Crawford to give his 10-team list that he would accept a trade to – however, I'm sure in this scenario Corey would be open to going anywhere if he can raise his stock by going to a playoff team.
CHI trades Corey Crawford, Erik Gustafsson to CAR for James Reimer (50% retained), Jake Bean, 2020 2nd round pick.
TC's Take: James Reimer at 50% ($1.7M for this year and 2020-21) is reasonable for a guy who has a 2.67 GAA, .914 SV% in 24 games. He would serve as the Hawks backup to Lehner in 2020-21 in this scenario. The Hawks also get former 1st rounder Jake Bean which would be a key acquisition to add to the organization. The 3rd rounder is a nice pick as well. CAR gets a two-time Cup winner to compliment Mrazek, as well as some defensive help which they are rumoured to looking for.
CHI trades Corey Crawford (50% retained) to CAL for Dillon Dube, Cam Talbot, and 2020 3rd round pick.
TC's Take: CAL is in the hunt of the playoff race (currently in WC1 spot as of Thursday night) and could use some experienced goaltending help. Rittich is solid but has really struggled lately. Crawford (@ 50%) would be a heck of a pickup for the Flames with Dube, Talbot and a 3rd rounder coming back the other way. Dube, drafted 56th overall in 2016, would be the key acquisition for CHI; the speedy centre/winger is only 778k for next year so would offer scoring depth at a nice price.
Talks with Robin Lehner go south and Hawks opt to trade him before the deadline to get future assets. In this scenario, I've been told it's highly likely that the Hawks resign Corey Crawford to a short-term term and also look for a cheaper veteran backup vs. going with Delia or Lankinen.
CHI trades Robin Lehner and Slater Koekkoek to CAR for 2020 1st round pick (from TOR) and James Reimer (50% retained), Morgan Geekie
TC's Take: CAR has been rumoured to be very interested in Lehner so here is my one and only trade including the Swedish netminder. CAR is also looking for defensive help so Koekkoek has been added as a depth piece. In return, the Hawks pick up a coveted 1st rounder (from TOR), James Reimer (@ $1.7 AAV) and C/RW prospect Morgan Geekie who currently has 35 points in 48 games in the AHL.
Erik Gustafsson has to be traded. I know he has a family and wants to stay in Chicago, but it's a business and Stan's business is the move him for something. There have been some high returns for defencemen this week and the Hawks need to capitalize.
CHI trades Erik Gustafsson (50% retained) to VGK for 2020 2nd round pick (from PIT) and Nicolas Roy.
TC's Take: Vegas has been rumoured to be interested in Gustafsson. They already gave up 2 x 2nd rounders in the Alec Martinez trade but this would be a fair return for the Swedish defender. I have him at 50% retained too as VGK doesn't have much for cap space. Hawks would also receive Nicolas Roy who is a big body (6'4 / 200 lbs) centre who has some skill. He's an NHL ready 23-year old who is a pending RFA that could fight for a spot next year in CHI or help in Rockford.
CHI trades Erik Gustafsson and Dylan Sikura for Emil Bemstrom and Adam Clendenning
TC's Take: While 2nd round draft picks seem to be the currency for quality NHL defencemen, Emil Bemstrom would be the gem of this move. A trade giving up both Erik Gustafsson and Dylan Sikura would be worth taking a chance on the 20-year old Bemstrom who led the SHL in goals (23) in 2018-19. There's a good chance Columbus says "hell no" to moving Bemstrom, however, they currently have 30M+ on the IR right now, including Seth Jones, so bringing in a guy like Gustafsson and replacing Bemstrom's place with Sikura would be comparable in terms of production as CLB pushes for a playoff spot. Lastly, you'll see Clendenning who would be back in the CHI organization for the 73rd time, he would be brought in merely to help the RFD crew push for the postseason.
Random/Unexpected moves also happen around this time. Here is a wacky one that will definitely create some fun conversations.
CHI trades Dylan Strome and Nicolas Beaudin to NYR for Lias Andersson and Alexandar Georgiev
TC's take: Lias Andersson is a very talented player (drafted 7th overall in 2017) and wants to be moved. The addition of Georgiev is a heck of a goalie and would be a future piece after the Hawks deal Crawford or Lehner. This move would only happen if the Hawks deem that Strome is expendable after Dach's progression this year and/or if they don't want to pay him the money he's asking for on his upcoming contract. This move would unite the Strome brothers which is a benefit for NYR. Plus, adding a former 1st rounder in Nicolas Beaudin would help bolster the defensive depth in the system in a big way.
Now, we look at a couple of trade options from you guys.
To Winnipeg Toews, Saad, Maata
To Chicago Ehlers, Vesalainan, Byfuglien (to flip in the summer for picks/prospects) and 1st & 2nd 2020 picks
TC's Take: This is crazy… crazy creative. A move like this with franchise players and so many key assets rarely/never happen in the NHL anymore and wouldn't happen. However, I applaud the NHL20 imagination on this one.
Tyler in previous blog I propose a fake trade gust for rights to Jesse and a 3rd from Edmonton would that be a good return hawks be looking for? Plus I like to see the hawks to think big as far trading on of our goalies.
TC's Take: Gustafsson would not be near enough for Jesse Puljujarvi. The Hawks would need to sweeten the pot. I do think he's a great player to target and I am 100% down. Unfortunately, I think you're looking more at a deal including Brandon Saad for Puljujarvi with additional players moving on both sides. The only problem is EDM would need cap relief from somewhere. Puljujarvi is currently lighting it up in the Finnish league though and I wouldn't be opposed to trying to make a deal work. In terms of the Hawks goaltending, have a look above.
Lehner strome and 4th for bryham or girad and bowers franchouz and 2nd
TC's Take: Francouz has been amazing this year for COL and Byram isn't going anywhere. Joe Sakic hangs up on Stan.
Crawford to Carolina for 2nd and kukkanon excuse the spelling
TC's Take: This one is fair, Scott. If the Hawks can sign Lehner and move Crawford to CAR for a 2nd and Janne Kuokkanen (43rd overall in 2016) would be a nice return. I do think CAR would be looking to move Reimer though. He's actually been good for them this year.
Ok, that's what I have for now. 99.9% chance none of these moves happen, but I had a lot of fun putting them together.
I will be back if I hear anything or any trades happen. Keep an eye out for instant reaction – even on the weekend – if anything goes down in Blackhawks-land.
Fingers crossed Stan doesn't mess anything up.
See ya out there!