We are now squarely at that point in the NHL calendar that we call “Trade Season.”
The top names potentially on the move this year have remained pretty much stagnant all season, with guys like Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun and Phil Kessel, Dallas’ John Kilngberg, and seemingly Montreal’s entire roster in-play on the trade market.
To that end, TSN recently released their first “Trade Bait” list of “Trade Season,” with two Blackhawks players landing in the Top-25.
A HHOF-bound goalie, a captain headed to his team’s Hall of Fame and a 23-year-old blueliner lead off TSN’s first Trade Bait board less than six weeks from the March 21 #NHL trade deadline.
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) February 11, 2022
Chicago goaltender Marc-André Fleury comes in at a whopping No. 3 on TSN’s list, with defenseman Calvin de Haan coming in ten spots behind him at No. 13 overall.
Fleury has been the subject of multiple rumors in the past few months since the Blackhawks have been very much on the outside looking in at the Stanley Cup playoff chase. He’s the biggest goalie on the market, but is he actually on the market? That’s tougher to answer.
No doubt it’s in Chicago’s best interest to move him by March 21, and there are certainly suitors out there willing to pay-up to improve their goaltending for run at the Stanley Cup. But Fleury has some control over his future with a ten-team no-trade clause on his current deal, for which he is in the final year of at a $7M AAV cap hit. There’s also the fact that it took major convincing for Fleury to commit to playing in Chicago this season, so the Blackhawks may honor that commitment from Fleury and his family by not forcing him to move to another city and play for another team if he truly doesn’t want to.
For his part, Fleury has said he is focused on trying to get the Blackhawks into the postseason, but that’s pretty clearly not going to happen. He’s been tied to the Washington Capitals, but that is also not in the cards according to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli.
As for Calvin de Haan, he is also on an expiring contract with a $4.55M AAV cap hit, and is again in the best interest of the Blackhawks to move prior to March 21. There’s really no future for him with Chicago as the team needs to start making more room for their younger, up-and-coming defensemen to get into the NHL lineup. A solid depth defender who is willing to block shots and kill penalties, de Haan has been linked to teams looking for cheaper help on the blue-line like the Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues.
We’ll see as the calendar gets closer to the NHL Trade Deadline on March 21 if/when the Blackhawks start moving their biggest trade pieces. They’ll need a GM in-place before they start doing that, but that will hopefully get handled sooner rather than later. Keep your eyes on players like Fleury, de Haan, Dylan Strome, Dominik Kubalík, and Henrik Borgström as “Trade Season” continues to heat up.