The March 3rd trade deadline has come and gone. The rumors, drama and behind-the-scenes deals are done and the Chicago Blackhawks are now officially on their way to a . . .big-time rebuilding program. There’s no sugar coating this situation; the Blackhawks have traded the past and the present for a hopefully brighter future for this franchise. GM Kyle Davidson went to the roulette wheel and split his money up between red and black and now it’s time to spin that wheel and see where the Blackhawks landed.
Looking at the Blackhawks’ trade deals-who’s here, who’s gone?
- Gained Nikita Zaitsev – Ottawa Senators. The Senators are loaded with young talent and trading one of theirs off for future prospect considerations was an easy deal. The Blackhawks also get a 2023 second round and 2026 fourth round pick out of this deal.
- Gained Josiah Slavin, lost Hunter Drew to the Anaheim Ducks. This was a one-for-one trade between rebuilding teams.
- Gained Andreas Englund, lost Jack Johnson to the Colorado Avalanche. Johnson is a solid, veteran blueliner and helped the Avs last year win the Stanley Cup. With Colorado’s defense hurting right now, bringing back Johnson as a rental makes sense to them. The Blackhawks getting Englund isn’t a bad deal either but Johnson’s presence in Denver will help them in the playoffs.
- Gained Joey Anderson, Pavel Gogolev, lost Sam Lafferty and Jake McCabe to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967 and they’ll do just about anything to help them with a deep playoff push this spring. The Leafs get some solid players in exchange for some other decent players but the jury is still out on this trade.
- Gained a bunch of draft picks for Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers. If you want to see the Blackhawks gain an edge on rebuilding, become a Rangers’ fan for the rest of this season. No, I’m not kidding – the Blackhawks get conditional second round draft picks for Patrick Kane but if the Rangers make the Eastern Conference finals, those conditional draft picks improve to first round picks but not until 2024 and 2025. Still, Chicago traded icon Patrick Kane and the past for a shot at some future Patrick Kanes in the future. The Rangers will have the burden of proof on this trade- if they fail to go far in the playoffs, it’s on them for going after both Tarasenko and Kane to improve their forturnes immediately.
- Gained Anders Bjork from the Buffalo Sabres for future considerations. The Sabres are in rebuild mode right now too and almost in striking distance for a wild card spot so this is a like-minded trade between rebuilding franchises.
- Gained goaltender Anton Khudobin, lost Max Domi and Dylan Wells to the Dallas Stars. On the surface, this trade seems lopsided as Max Domi was the top scorer for the Blackhawks and a solid player. When you realize that Domi was brought in as a rental from the Carolina Hurricanes this season, his role has been to be another trade bargaining chip as much as anything. The Blackhawks get a solid netminder in Anton Khudobin who’s been moved to a backup role behind Jake Oettinger in Dallas and may be able to add some depth in between the pipes immediately. The Blackhawks get another second round draft pick in 2025 for Domi. The Stars need more depth to make a deep playoff run and Domi fits the bill but don’t be surprised if he’s back in Chicago by the end of the summer.
- Gained Austin Wagner from the Los Angeles Kings for future considerations. The Kings are looking to hoise the Stanley Cup this June and trading one of their chess pieces for future considerations is just part of the business in the NHL.
Alright, the trade deadline is over. Players have been traded, new Blackhawks are here. What’s next? The proof is in the pudding as the rebuilding program swings into full force and now it’s time for the Blackhawks to actually do something about putting together a winning franchise again.