We talked about it in today’s Blackhawks Bullets, but Chicago should be looking to sell at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline (which is March 21, 2022, in case you forgot). Recently, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period was on NHL Network programming, talking about the process that the Blackhawks are entering as the calendar turns to 2022 and the trade deadline draws near.
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) January 3, 2022
He said a lot in that short clip, so be sure to check it out, but here’s the bottom line: “Chicago is effectively entering the selling process right now, [and] we know they have some assets that they can move.”
Specifically, Pagnotta identifies defenseman Calvin de Haan and goaltender Marc-André Fleury as two names that teams could target and who could return at least a decent, if not substantial package, especially in the case of Fleury.
For teams that are looking to bolster both their blue line and their goal tending position, Chicago is a team that teams are going to be calling. Some teams are doing their due diligence right now, trying to see what the updates are from a cost perspective and then reconvene as the weeks move forward and closer to that deadline.
Of course, de Haan and Fleury are not the only names that the Blackhawks could find value from as the deadline gets closer.
While Fleury might be the biggest name on the table, others like Dominik Kubalík, Dylan Strome, and Ryan Carpenter could be or should be looked at as potential trade pieces for Chicago. All of these players are on expiring deals this season, with Fleury being the only one with trade protections on his contract with a ten-team no-trade list (for what it’s worth, Pagnotta suggests that the Blackhawks will give Fleury the chance to weigh in on any potential deal, even if the acquiring team is not on his no-trade list, simply out of respect).
Pagnotta ranks Strome fourth on his latest Trade Watch List, with de Haan ranked sixth and Fleury ranked 20th.
The caveat to the trade market this season in the NHL is what COVID protocols are doing to team rosters and lineups. With the implementation on the Taxi Squads through the NHL All-Star break, at least, teams are being provided a bit more flexibility. With navigating the salary cap, if Taxi Squads continue beyond the All-Star break, trades could become a bit more complicated this year and we could see more multi-team deals than usual.
We’ll keep an eye on these players as the season continues, but don’t be surprised if interim General Manager Kyle Davidson makes some bold moves as the season progresses to show he is serious about being the long-term GM in Chicago and is committed to a potential rebuild of the Blackhawks.
Michael Cerami contributed to this post.