In case you hadn’t noticed, this is a very busy week in the NHL – and some hockey games are being played as well.  The looming March 3rd trade deadline has garnered all attention right now within the National Hockey League and every franchise is frantically trying to make last-minute roster moves to either bolster a playoff run or just simply cut salary cap spending and build for the future.

Goodbye Patrick Kane & thank you for your time.

Well, all good things come to an end and the non-surprise of this season finally happened when the Blackhawks traded long-time stalwart Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers.  Let’s be clear, this wasn’t a real shock of a trade-it was a matter of who Kane was traded to, not if he was going to be traded.  The Blackhawks entered this re-tooling season with a plan to move on from Patrick Kane all along and just needed to find the righy buyer.  Kane did control a lot of his own destiny since he had a No Movement Clause in his contract which means he had the final say-so in the trade to the Blueshirts.

The Blackhawks get a conditional second round draft pick this year in exchange for Kane.  If the Rangers make it to the Eastern Conference finals, this conditional second round pick moves up to the first round but not until either 2024 or 2025, which means the Kane trade will do little to help in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes.  The deal for Kane also went through the Arizona Coyotes who end up picking up some of Kane’s big salary expense.

Is this a win-win for everyone?  Well, the Blackhawks got to say goodbye to a future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest players to ever wear their sweater.  GM Kyle Davidson got to cut a bunch of cash off of the Blackhawks’ salary cap and we shall see about the draft picks.  This trade symbolizes the re-build in process for this franchise and nothing more or less.  The Rangers seem to be trying to build a machine to win a Stanley Cup this spring and they seem to be sparing no expense in doing so.  In an ironic twist, Blackhawk fans should be rooting for the Rangers in the playoffs- future draft picks for the Blackhawks depend on the Rangers’ success this season.

Parting ways with McCabe, Lafferty and Johnson.

The Blackhawks have been in a trading mood this week and sent Sam Laffery and Jake McCabe to the Toronto Maple Leafs as the Leafs are trying to make a push for the Stanley Cup (they haven’t won it since 1967 so they may feel just a bit of urgency in their trade dealings.)  The Blackhawks picked up Joey Anderson and Pavel Gogolov in exchange but more importantly they will get a 2025 first and second round draft pick out of this deal.

Veteran blueliner Jack Johnson was traded back to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Andreas Englund.  Johnson was a rental player this season in Chicago and his 1,000 games in the NHL and a Stanley Cup win last season, combined with a gutted Avs’ defense, meant that he was too tempting a target to not send back to Colorado and he will certainly help out anchoring their battered blueline.

Are there any other trades in the making?

GM Kyle Davidson is probably not done making deals before the 3pm ET deadline tomorrow and likely targets are Andreas Athanasiou and Max Domi.  Domi has done a fantastic job in Chicago this season after being brought in from the Carolina Hurricanes this past summer-exactly what you want out of a rental player.  Both Domi and Athanasiou are on one-year contracts and can easily be sent away to make more deals down the road for the Blackhawks.  Both Domi and Athanasiou have played for multiple teams and while hockey is a sport, the NHL is a business and trades for these players carry that business-like attitude.

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