Trading Fleury, (Not) Trading Toews and Kane, Trading Blows, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Trading Fleury, (Not) Trading Toews and Kane, Trading Blows, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

It’s that time of year, again, where we all start to argue about who should and should not be traded by the Blackhawks and what value each of those players would or would not get on the trade market. It’s exhausting. I’d much rather be talking about whom the Blackhawks should try to acquire to make another run (not trade because they’re worth more away from the team than on it).

•   Yesterday we gleaned a number of updates on the potential trade pieces in Chicago. The biggest of which (on an expiring deal) is Marc-André Fleury.

•   A number of contending teams have been mentioned as potential landing spots for Fleury, and he would likely put many of those teams over the hump. Teams like Colorado and Washington would look like absolute monsters with Fleury in net, but getting him under the salary cap and getting fair value back for him would be difficult for those teams. Edmonton is another destination where they desperately need help in net, even if they don’t want to admit it it. Problem is, does Fleury even want to leave Chicago after it took so much to just get him to agree to play here in the first place?

•   We might learn a little bit more about his mindset as he is going to be joining his agent Allan Walsh and Adam Wylde on the Agent Provocateur podcast this afternoon…

•   Even if we don’t get insight into his future plans, I’m sure there will be some great stories shared, so we’ll tap into that later today.

•   Not currently on the trade block for the Blackhawks are cornerstone players Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. According to Mark Lazerus in The Athletic yesterday, the team has no plans to move either player before their current contracts expire following next season. That is, unless either of them want out.

•   I get wanting to see both of them play their entire careers in Chicago. In a perfect world, I would want to see that too. But I do not want to see them waste what years they have left as top-end players in the NHL, playing for bad Blackhawks teams. They have full control on whether or not they get traded, and they have earned that right. But they would also garner good-to-great trade packages in return and the Blackhawks are closer to rebuilding their future than they are to realizing it.

•   The Blackhawks have taken their sweet time in their searches for the next General Manager and next Head Coach. After the departures of Stan Bowman and Jeremy Colliton, the organization put Kyle Davidson and Derek King into their positions in the interim, making it clear that they would ride-out the season. Davidson is the one who made the decision to fire Colliton and put King as his replacement. So far it has worked out. He’s also made a number of trades including shipping out Malcolm Subban and Alex Nylander.

•   There’s a potential sense that the Blackhawks keep both Davidson and King in their roles beyond this season, as Mark Lazerus reports. King has done well enough in his time as interim head coach to see the Blackhawks playing as the 15th-best team in the NHL based on point-percentage since November 7. If he’s not kept as the head coach, there is a sense he stays within the organization beyond this season in some capacity.

•   Chicago is taking their time in finding permanent replacements for Bowman and Colliton, giving both Davidson and King the space to operate without having Danny and Rocky Wirtz looking over their shoulders constantly. There is also a need to find someone who will lead the Hockey Operations department as well. If Chicago is going to let Davidson navigate the NHL Trade Deadline, you might as well give him the opportunity to see-out the moves he makes for at least the 2022-23 season.

•   In Elliotte Friedman’s latest ‘32 Thoughts,’ he mentions an expected major turnover in the Blackhawks’ front office. Which could mean anything.

•   Yesterday we learned the new dates for the previously postponed games for the Blackhawks.

•   It is going to be a busy post-All-Star break for Chicago, playing their final 36 games of the season in 79 days, including stretches of six games in ten days (March 3-12), four games in six days (March 23-28), and playing their final 12 games in 23 days (April 7-29) with seven being played in the last 12 days of the season (April 18-29).

•   And as we bicker online about trades, the bickering online about the Blackhawks broadcasts also continue. As we reach the second half of the season, we are also reaching the final stretch of games with Pat Foley on the television broadcast.

•   I get that change is hard to deal with, whether it’s seeing Toews and Kane maybe finishing their careers in Chicago or elsewhere, or listening to many new voices calling Blackhawks games, but it should never allow you to lose sight of what is happening in the moment. Appreciate all of this while they are still with Chicago and also know their legacies don’t change once they are no longer with the Blackhawks.

•   An eye on the future in Chicago, goaltending prospect Drew Commesso has been learning from Blackhawks goalie Marc-André Fleury, even if they haven’t formally been with the team at the same time…

•   Commesso is one of the few players I would consider keeping around for the future of the club. He, along with players like Alex DeBrincat, Kirby Dach, Seth Jones, Brandon Hagel, and Lukas Reichel are the players that, if I were GM would not be listening to offers on. Everyone else is open season.

•   Commesso is headed to the Olympics with Team USA in a few weeks, with an opportunity to finally play some meaningful games in the Red, White, and Blue after missing out on the 2021 World Junior Championships because of COVID, sitting on the bench for the 2021 World Championships, and having the 2022 World Junior Championships canceled/postponed after just one game.

•   In other news, which may or may not be tied to the Olympics, Brandon Pirri has been released from his PTO deal with the IceHogs. Pirri came back to Rockford after spending the entire season up until last week as a free agent.

•   He came “off the couch” and played in three games for Rockford, recording three goals and an assist. He had/has hopes of playing with Team Canada at the Olympics, so we will see if he gets an AHL deal to continue with Rockford and/or is on Canada’s roster for Beijing.

•   I don’t usually look to glorify fighting in hockey, but this was a big-time tussle last night between Kurtis MacDermid and Nick Deslauriers…

•   Fighting will likely never go away from hockey, unlike the “Glow Puck” from the Fox Sports NHL broadcasts of the 90’s, one of the best/worst innovations of its time.

•   This just screams NHL HITZ 2002 to me.

•   You’ll remember over the summer, former Blackhawks defenseman Stephen Johns going across the country, roller-blading to help bring more awareness to the idea of taking care of one’s mental health with his #MentalMiles journey. Now it appears that soon, the documentary of his trip will be coming out…

•   I loved following his journey this past summer and I can’t wait to see the finished product.

•   The CaruShow’s return led to the Bulls getting back in the win column. Probably not a coincidence:

•   While the Cubs have just two representatives among Baseball America’s top-100 prospects list, the two who make the cut have robust potential:

•   That will do it for today. Hope you all enjoy your Thursday!

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Author: Mario Tirabassi

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