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As many expected would happen this offseason, Marian Hossa (at least his contract) is no longer a Blackhawk. The Chicago Blackhawks have traded Hossa to the Arizona Coyotes today,  along with F Vinnie Hinostroza, D Jordan Oesterle and a 2019 3rd round pick. In return, the Hawks receive F Jordan Maletta, D Andrew Campbell, F MacKenzie Entwistle, former Blackhawks F Marcus Kruger and a 2019 5th round pick.

To get it out of the way, it is likely that Maletta and Campbell will play the whole season in Rockford. Both have spent majority of their careers in the minors. Entwistle has some decent ability. Twitter personality Tom Hunter (@PuckDontLie) mentioned that Entwhistle had late 1st/early 2nd round talent coming out in 2017. However, halfway through that season leading up to the draft, he came down with Mono and missed time. He’s a big body who, in a few years down the road, could provide some real value. Now… to the meat.

Marian Hossa will forever go down as the greatest Blackhawks free agent acquisition ever, and arguably the greatest free agent acquisition in Chicago sports history. Three cups, numerous goals and one hell of a career later, Hossa was truly a legend while donning the Indianhead. Hossa spent more seasons with Chicago (8 in which he suited up) than any other franchise in his career. What I have to say will never outweigh nor emphasize what he meant to so many fans. #81 will forever be beloved in the Windy City. The memories will forever dance in the heads of fans everywhere, and maybe one day, we may see #81 in the rafters of the United Center. A huge thank you to the Demi God for everything he helped the Hawks accomplish in his time on Madison Street!

Hinostroza, the Bartlett, IL native, quickly became a fan favorite in his Hawks tenure. Hinostroza just re-signed with the Hawks for two years at $1.5M AAV. It was beginning to look like he was one of the pieces of the future, however, he seemed to be the focal point of this deal according to Tracey Meyers, among many other sources. Coyotes’ GM John Chayka said he is a big fan of Hinostroza and that he was the centerpiece of the deal. Hossa was the throw in to convince the Hawks to move Vinnie. Nonetheless, he will be missed by Hawks fans and he may really thrive in the desert in a more fast-paced system.

Oesterle began looking like the steal of free agency for the Hawks, inking a two-year league minimum AAV deal with Chicago in summer of 2017. Oesterle took awhile to finally crack the lineup, but once he did, he began playing big minutes in Chicago. There was a point in the season where he led the team in average time on ice (TOI). The once TOI leader moved down the pairings later in the year, still proving to outplay his league minimum contract. It’s not surprising Chicago moved an NHL roster defensemen, considering the log jam currently at the position. Although not a deep position in Chicago, it was still a numbers game and Oesterle proved to be the one Arizona wanted. He will likely compete for the 5th or 6th defenseman job in Arizona come October.

As for Chicago’s side of the deal, Marcus Kruger returns for his second stint with the Hawks. After being dealt by Chicago prior to the 2017-2018 season, Kruger went to Vegas only to be flipped to Carolina not more than a week later. Kruger struggled in Carolina, posting only 6 points in 48 games before being demoted to the AHL to conclude the season. He was then dealt to Arizona after the regular season concluded, only to be a part of this deal sending him back to the 312. Kruger reportedly played last season with a sports hernia, for which he had surgery in April. Kruger himself said he will be ready for training camp.

Kruger likely struggled due to the hernia. I imagine any player would struggle when dealing with such injury and trying to compete at the highest level. If he can return to some of his 2015 form, he could prove to be a welcomed addition to Chicago. He will help Toews by providing the team with another reliable faceoff guy, and also gives Chicago more depth up the middle. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens with Kruger. As a fan, I hope he returns to full strength and continues to contribute to what is hopefully a solid bottom six come October and beyond.

Rumors are swirling now that Chicago freed up as much cap space as they did. Montreal’s Max Pacioretty and Carolina’s Jeff Skinner have both been mentioned, but this doesn’t mean anything serious is in the works. The prices on these players may be too high.

So Hawks fans, what’s next? What does Stan do with all the cap space? Can Stan save his job and possibly Q’s? I guess we’ll have to find out. It’s only July 12th fans, so there could be much more ahead in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

 

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Photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

 

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