Many challenges face the Chicago Blackhawks as the NHL February 26th trade deadline nears. The team and their faithful fans are not used to the Blackhawks selling assets like they are this season. Stan Bowman has his hands full as he switches his team into rebuild mode and prepares for future seasons.
Chicago Blackhawks Are Sellers
As the Chicago Blackhawks approach the NHL February 26th trade deadline, they find themselves in unfamiliar territory. This season did not turn out as planned or expected after their off-season roster moves. The Blackhawks are 27-27-8 on the year, sitting 10 huge points behind the St. Louis Blues who now hold the last wild-card spot. With the trade deadline two days away, this time around the Chicago Blackhawks will be selling assets instead of buying.
The question on everyone’s mind is “Who goes?” General Manager Stan Bowman has a few assets that may be dealt before the Monday deadline. Unfortunately for Bowman, he has a lot more players that he cannot trade or would need the Blackhawks to retain a portion of the player’s salary to make the trade.
Blackhawks Selling Options
Here’s a breakdown of the Blackhawks players that could be traded and their salary cap status courtesy of Cap Friendly:
- Tommy Wingels – $750,000 cap hit and 2018 UFA
- Lance Bouma – $1,000,000 cap hit and 2018 UFA
- Patrick Sharp – $800,000 cap hit and 2018 UFA
- Jan Rutta – $925,000 cap hit and 2018 UFA
- Tomas Jurco – $800,000 cap hit and 2018 RFA
- Vinnie Hinostroza – $717,500 cap hit and 2018 RFA
- Ryan Hartman – $863,333 cap hit and 2018 RFA
- Anthony Duclair – $1,200,000 cap hit and 2018 RFA
Of these players, the most likely to go is Wingels. He’s been featured on the top line for the last few games. This has given him the opportunity to showcase his talent to the other teams with scouts watching those games. Bouma and Sharp are also potentials to leave but have been in and out of the lineup a lot lately. Making it hard for scouts to judge their value.
As for the RFA’s, Hartman’s name has been in the rumor mill for a while now. Duclair is another RFA at season’s end which will present Bowman yet another salary cap problem down the road. His current $1.2 million salary will need to be addressed with a contract offer that may be more than he’s worth based on his inconsistent play.
Moveable Players With Some Salary Retention
- Brandon Saad – $6,000,000 cap hit signed through the end of the 2020-21 season
- Artem Anisimov – $4,550,000 cap hit sighed through the end of 2020-21 season
- Brent Seabrook – $6,000,000 cap hit signed through 2023-24
- Duncan Keith – $5,538,462 cap hit signed through 2022-23
Both Keith and Seabrook have seen a major decline in their performance this season. While a lot of the disappointed Blackhawk fans would love to “ship them out!”, Bowman is handcuffed to these contracts and would have to keep a lot of the salary to make a deal. Consequently, it’s likely that he hopes this year is an anomaly and they’ll recover their solid defensive play next season.
- Patrick Kane – $10,5000,000 cap hit signed through 2022-23
- Jonathan Toews – $10,500,000 cap hit signed through 2022-23
- Alex DeBrincat – $778.333 cap hit signed through 2019-20
The monster twin 8-year contracts signed by Toews and Kane after the 2015 Stanley Cup season made them the highest paid players in the NHL at the time. The purpose of the contracts was to reward the Blackhawks two shining stars for their third Stanley Cup win. They were made “Blackhawks for life” by Bowman. However, that move is now being questioned by some of the distraught fans.
Kane is consistent every season and still produces the most points (57) on the Blackhawks. However, Toews play has many fans wondering what happened to their captain. He is third on the team in scoring with 40 points, but his overall play looks off to many. Starting with last years playoff loss to the Nashville Predators, in which he looked like he was playing hurt. While he has a lot of games in his career and the associated wear and tear, he is not going anywhere soon. Trading Toews would be a public relations nightmare for the storied franchise. Although they used to say the same thing about Wayne Gretzky too, right? Settle down Blackhawk faithful.
Rookie DeBrincat is another untouchable player who is tied for second in rookie goal scoring with 22 goals. The “Cat” at 5’7” and 165 pounds is having a great rookie season on a struggling team. His potential is obvious and he should be a Blackhawk for many years to come.
As Monday’s trade deadline nears, all the Blackhawk faithful are waiting to see what moves Bowman makes. One of Bowman’s goals will be to stockpile future draft picks. Additionally, It would be nice if he could replace the 2nd round pick for the upcoming 2018 draft. That pick was dealt away February 2016 when the Blackhawks were buyers vying for another Cup. Only time will tell if this team can recover quickly and become buyers again.