Seth Jones: Leader of the Rebuild, Trade Market, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Seth Jones: Leader of the Rebuild, Trade Market, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

A win over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night was a good way to get back into the action of the back-half of the season for the Chicago Blackhawks. But, it’s a small “win” in a season that has been rife with “L”s, as the kids say, both on and off the ice. Chicago is far from contending for a playoff spot this season and the outlook into next season isn’t much brighter. If there’s going to be a rebuild in Chicago, and there needs to be, it will have to happen now. At least over the next six weeks it will need to begin.

•   Seth Jones was an acquisition for the Blackhawks that was supposed to help them accelerate the “retool” process from last year to this year. He came in as a true No. 1 defenseman and has played that role in his first year with the Blackhawks. He’s going to be around for the next eight seasons after this one, but I’m not certain he was signing-up to be a key player on a team that is likely going to be going through some tough transitions in the coming seasons. At least he is going to go into this uncertain future with the right attitude, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Ben Pope writes:

•   Jones will be around when Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are gone from the Blackhawks. Whenever that time comes, whether it’s in the next year and a half or in a handful of years, Jones will still be around. Will he be playing as the No. 1 defenseman still? Hopefully, but it’s a crap-shoot with him, given his inconsistency over his career. The hope is that players like Jones, Alex DeBrincat, Kirby Dach, and Brandon Hagel are able to push Chicago into the future where a number of other complimentary players and hopefully some true star players arrive and the Blackhawks can get back to contending for the postseason and for Stanley Cups once again.

•   But we cannot look that far ahead just yet. Like I said, the next six weeks leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline will set the tone for the “rebuilding” process in Chicago. First, they need to hire a GM. Then, that GM can start moving the players that Chicago can get the most value for. According to TSN, Marc-André Fleury and Calvin de Haan are the top two in Chicago to keep an eye on.

•   Fleury may not get traded by the March 21 deadline. It would be a huge missed opportunity for the Blackhawks if they do not move him, since he holds the most value on the team of any player that could/should be moved by the trade deadline. There’s a good number of contending teams that are willing to pay-up to improve their goaltending, but Chicago might treat Fleury as if he has a full no-movement clause and not move him anywhere he doesn’t agree to, even though he only has a ten-team no-trade clause on his deal.

•   Other players besides Fleury and de Haan to keep an eye on as the NHL Trade Deadline approaches for Chicago are Dylan Strome, Dominik Kubalík, Henrik Borgström, and Erik Gustafsson. But if we’re being honest, nearly the entire roster should be up for sale if the right deal comes along.

•   As for Strome, his current resurgence has helped his trade value for the Blackhawks, but it has also helped show is actual value to the club moving forward. Without Jonathan Toews over the past few games, Strome has become the top center on the roster and has played like one. His value is going up on the trade market, but maybe there’s a world where he sticks around.

•   He’s going to get ample chance to prove that, one way or another, he’s going to bring value to the Blackhawks’ future plans.

•   Big win last night in the AHL for the Rockford IceHogs, highlighted by Michal Teply’s return to the lineup and two-goal night in a 5-4 win!

•   Teply has seven goals and 11 points in 29 games this season, but over his last 14 games played since December 17, he’s recorded all of his points.

•   Rockford is back in action tonight taking on the same Chicago Wolves as last night, this time playing at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

•   Rockford is fifth in the Central Division based on point-percentage (.526), but hold a 6-2-1 record against their rivals and Central Division-leading Chicago Wolves this season.

•   Your Olympic hockey update from late last night, the Men’s U.S. team took on Team Canada in group play and got a 4-2 win. Team USA Captain and former Chicago Steel player Andy Miele got the team on the board early, tying the game just three minutes into the opening period.

•   Fellow Chicago Steel-product Brendan Brisson scored the insurance goal in the second period to make it a 3-1 U.S. lead over Canada.

•   With the 4-2 win, this was the first time since the group stage during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics that Team USA had a win over Team Canada on the Men’s side.

•   The U.S. Men take on Germany tomorrow morning to close their group stage of play.

•   On the Women’s side of the tournament, Team USA face Finland (not Canada as I said in yesterday’s bullets. My mistake.) in the Semifinals on Monday morning. With a win, the U.S. will head to the Gold Medal game, looking to defend their 2018 Gold Medal. The U.S. defeated Finland in 2018’s Semifinals.

•   In Women’s NCAA hockey last night, a huge upset as No. 2 Ohio State lost on a last-second empty-net goal to Bemidji State. With an offensive-zone faceoff in a tie game, Ohio State pulled their goalie, but Bemidji State was able to get possession of the puck with just enough time to launch the eventual game-winner!

•   As the tweet says, that is truly UN. REAL.

•   Ending today with some wholesome Marc-André Fleury content:

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

•.  We will see you later tonight for Blackhawks-Blues in St. Louis at 7:00 p.m. CT!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

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