Arizona Coyotes Acquire Defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson

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CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 23: Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues shoots the puck past Niklas Hjalmarsson #4 of the Chicago Blackhawks to score a goal in Game Six of the Western Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Arizona Coyotes have acquired defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenceman Connor Murphy and prospect Laurent Dauphin.

Arizona Coyotes Acquire Niklas Hjalmarsson

Niklas Hjalmarsson has been a mainstay on the Blackhawks blueline for the past eight seasons. Drafted in 2005, the 30-year-old joins the Coyotes after another disappointing first round exit in the Windy City.

Hjalmarsson is an excellent defensive defenceman. The Swede can eat minutes and shut down top offensive opponents. A left-handed defender who can play on the right side, the Coyotes may have just acquired Oliver Ekman-Larsson‘s newest partner. Hjalmarsson, who lacks an offensive punch, has had success in the past with offensively minded partners.

Last year, with the Chicago Blackhawks, Hjalmarsson recorded 18 points in 73 games. Although he does not record points, Hjalmarsson has never been a minus player in a full NHL season. His career in Chicago has resulted in three Stanley Cups, a big addition to a lacking Arizona squad.

Hjalmarsson has two years remaining on his contract, at a $4,100,000 cap hit. No salary was retained in the trade.

Going the other way, to the Blackhawks, are defenceman Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin.

A former first round pick, Murphy has played parts of the last four years with the Coyotes. A right-handed defenceman, the 24-year old will step right into the void left by the loss of Hjalmarsson. Murphy is a fantastic skater with size, listed at 6’4″ and 212 pounds. He is entering the second year of a six-year, $23,100,000 contract.

Drafted in the second round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Laurent Dauphin heads to Chicago after an impressive sophomore season in the AHL. In 38 games with the Tucson Roadrunners, Dauphin recorded 28 points. The Chicoutimi Sagueneens product also made his NHL debut in 2016-17, playing 24 games with Arizona in which he scored his first NHL goal.

The Arizona-Chicago trade is just one of many potential deals heading into the 2017 NHL Entry Draft on Friday night. Hjalmarsson’s departure is the first of many moves the Chicago Blackhawks look to make this offseason.

 

CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 23: Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues shoots the puck past Niklas Hjalmarsson #4 of the Chicago Blackhawks to score a goal in Game Six of the Western Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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