Trades! Trades! TRADES! And Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Trades! Trades! TRADES! And Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

We are just a few hours away for the NHL Trade Deadline today at 2:00 p.m. CT. There has been a sense around the NHL this season that the trade deadline would be a lot different than in previous, more normal seasons. That’s been true. The biggest difference that I have noticed this season is the inconsistency of the market value for players. Case in point, the Taylor Hall trade and the Nick Foligno trade. Two different players with two different values and not the kinds of values you’d expect. What’s that? You missed the Taylor Hall trade? Oh…wait until you hear this.

•   The biggest fish in the market for a long time now has been former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall. After joining the Buffalo Sabres in the offseason, Hall has been a just one part of a cavalcade of disappointments with the Sabres this season. He has just two goals and 19 points in 37 games this season. He needed out of Buffalo and the Sabres needed high value for him. Only one of those things happened.

•   If you were asleep and missed the Hall deal, I don’t blame you. Coming down the wire around 11:00 p.m. CT, the Sabres sent Hall and Curtis Lazar to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Anders Bjork and a second-round pick. That’s it.

•   The kicker is that the Sabres, whose asking price for Hall since he landed on the trade market always included a first round pick, retained 50% of Hall’s remaining salary and still didn’t get the first-round pick they were looking for.

•   What makes this worse for the Sabres is that earlier in the day, Nick Foligno garnered a objectively heartier return for the Columbus Blue Jackets. In a three-team trade, the Blue Jackets sent their Captain to the Toronto Maple Leafs, by way of the San Jose Sharks, for Toronto’s 2021 first-round pick and 2022 fourth-round pick. Columbus will retain 50% of Foligno’s remaining salary. Stefan Noesen is also headed to Toronto and the Maple Leafs’ 2021 fourth-round pick is going to the Sharks, who are also retaining 25% of Foligno’s renaming salary.

•   I mean…that’s the NHL for you. Up is sometimes down, two plus two sometimes equals fish, and a former MVP sometimes is more affordable in a trade than a player with just two NHL seasons scoring above 50 points in 13 and a half years.

•   Other notable trades going down yesterday, most of them late into the dark of night:

•   The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired David Rittich for a 2022 third-round pick from the Calgary Flames, with the Flames retaining 50% of his remaining salary.

•   Also on the move for a 2022 third-round pick, the Ottawa Senators sent defenseman Mike Rielly across the border to the Boston Bruins.

•   Two other notable defensemen were on the move yesterday. First, Jon Merrill was traded to the Montreal Canadiens with the Detroit Red Wings getting a 2021 fifth-round pick and Hayden Verbeek in return.

•   Then, Braydon Coburn was sent to the New York Islanders with the Ottawa Senators getting 2022 seventh-round pick in return.

•   And finally, the Pittsburgh Penguins are sending conditional picks to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for the two-time Stanley Cup winning centerman. The picks are a 2022 conditional third-round pick and a 2023 conditional fourth-round pick and the Kings will be retaining 50% of Carter’s remaining salary.

•   So the big question is what does this all mean for the market this morning and what will Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks do before the 2:00 p.m. CT deadline?

•   WHO KNOWS?! One thing is for certain, you never know what to expect at the deadline. In a year where the variables of an upcoming expansion draft and flat-cap uncertainty for the foreseeable future loom large, the return for Chicago’s assets like Mattias Janmark and/or Carl Söderberg is completely up in the air.

•   I went into yesterday with the belief that anything more than fourth-round pick for Janmark would be a win for the Blackhawks. Now, while I’m uncertain where the market will be by the time Stan Bowman ultimately makes the trade call on Janmark, I’m much more certain that a fourth-round pick might be the least they could get for him. We shall see.

•   Söderberg is another player that I am confident the Blackhawks will move by the afternoon deadline. He and Janmark are on expiring contracts this season and both play bottom-to-middle forward roles well and would be the kind of under-the-radar player that Stanley Cup winning teams acquire to push them over the hump.

•   It also appears that David Kämpf’s name has come up in discussions recently as he has found his way onto TSN’s Trade Bait big board. Kämpf is a solid fourth-line center in the NHL, the problem is that the Blackhawks had their hand forced this season to play him in a role higher in the lineup than he should be playing. He hasn’t been great in that kind of role, but he is still a defensive-minded center that a successful postseason team could use. He is on an expiring deal and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

•   Janmark finds himself at the TOP of TSN’s Trade Bait board, as well as defenseman Nikita Zadorov (No.4) and the cap space the Blackhawks still have left remaining to possibly take another bad contract off a team’s hands or to be a third-team in a trade to help facilitate the deal. The possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to the Blackhawks and the deadline today.

•   Oh yeah, and then they have a game to play tonight, too.

•   Not helping the Blackhawks’ case for a playoff push, the Nashville Predators topped the Dallas Stars last night in a 3-2 shootout win. The Predators come away with two points in the win to re-extend their lead in the Central Division to four points heading into tonight, while the Stars gain one pity point and now trail the Blackhawks by just two points.

•   Chicago comes into the second game of a two-game set against the Blue Jackets, who in the past 48 hours have traded their best defenseman and their Captain. After getting a 4-3 comeback effort on Saturday night, it would do wonders for the Blackhawks’ post trade deadline confidence if they can come away winners, preferably in regulation tonight.

•   It just remains to be seen who will be in the lineup, post-trade deadline, when the Blackhawks take the ice at Nationwide Arena at 6:00 p.m. CT tonight.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.