The Blackhawks Are Reportedly Trading Brandon Hagel (UPDATES)

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The Blackhawks Are Reportedly Trading Brandon Hagel (UPDATES)

Chicago Blackhawks

This is one trade that may have always made the most sense, but seemed the most difficult to pull off. But here we are. According to The Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, the Chicago Blackhawks are trading Brandon Hagel.

Hagel, 23, has 37 points in 55 games this season and has developed into a solid top-six forward for the Blackhawks over the last year-plus since making his debut last season. There is no word on the return or even the destination yet, but we will update this post with all the details as they become available.

As far back as a month ago, we knew that the Blackhawks had been receiving serious interest in Hagel, despite reportedly asking for a first-round pick, a top prospect, plus more in return. Hopefully, they actually get that much in any deal they complete today. Also of note: At least four teams are known to have engaged in trade talks with the Blackhawks on Hagel: Florida, Toronto, New Jersey and Calgary.

A few weeks back, I discussed why trading Hagel, as painful as it may be, might be a necessary first step for a rebuilding Hawks squad.

Brandon Hagel is in the midst of a pretty nice season for the Blackhawks, and his trade value is pretty high (31-point through 51 games). Overall, the 23-year-old winger has 55 points in 104 games (26G, 29A), and he’s signed through the next two seasons at an affordable $1.5 million cap hit. Aside from Patrick Kane and Marc-André Fleury, there’s probably not a single person on the Blackhawks roster that could command a return like Brandon Hagel.

We’ve already seen reports from NHL news breaker Frank Seravalli that estimate Hagel’s trade value to be in the neighborhood of “first-round pick plus top prospect territory.” Seravalli notes that Hagel’s contract, production, and style of play is “making teams drool.”

Still, Seravalli has the Blackhawks asking for something a tick higher than that. He has also reported that some teams have come close to Chicago’s asking price, but not quite close enough for Kyle Davidson’s taste. Can you blame him? Parting with Hagel will hurt.

But, for as good as Hagel is (and can be moving forward), what’s his worth to the Blackhawks? They’re blowing it up, and by the time they’re even close to coming out on the other side of this rebuild, Brandon Hagel’s highly affordable cap number will be much higher.

There’s also this … Patrick Kane isn’t going anywhere. Neither is Alex DeBrincat. We don’t know what Jonathan Toews wants to do, but regardless, he doesn’t have a whole bunch of trade value. Marc-Andre Fleury can net the Blackhawks a first-rounder … if he’s willing to be traded. All this to say, who are the Blackhawks trading before the deadline!? Erik Gustaffson? Calvin de Haan? Maybe, Dylan Strome or Dominik Kubalík? If those names are the biggest to depart between now and March 21, where are the Blackhawks getting those valuable future assets?

Do you see what I’m getting at here? For as much as it might sting to see the Blackhawks trade a budding star like Brandon Hagel, it might be a necessary first step in the rebuilding process.

The Blackhawks simply can’t hoard anyone on the roster worth something and hope to revamp their system. They need to add picks and prospects, and they need to do it sooner than later when you consider the time it takes to develop these prospects into NHL-ready players.

UPDATE (1): The Athletic’s Scott Powers is reporting that he was told that the Blackhawks will have multiple players and draft picks coming back to Chicago in the Hagel trade. We’re still waiting on the exact return and a trade partner.

UPDATE (2): Frank Seravalli reports that Hagel is heading to Tampa Bay. The two-time defending champion Lightning bolsters their offensive attack as they gear up for a run at their third consecutive Stanley Cup Championship this spring. We’re still waiting on a full return, but as of now, we’ve got Brandon Hagel to Tampa Bay in exchange for “multiple players and draft picks.”

UPDATE (3): All right, this is shaping up to be the type of return I was talking about when I said that trading Hagel could be a necessary (albeit difficult) first domino to fall in this rebuild. Frank Seravalli reports that Tampa Bay is sending multiple first-rounders to Chicago for Hagel. There will be more parts of this return coming out, but this is a fantastic start for now.

UPDATE (4): ESPN’s John Buccigross has the full details on the trade:

The Blackhawks are sending Brandon Hagel and a pair of fourth-rounders to Tampa Bay for two first-rounders, Boris Katchouk, and Taylor Raddysh.

Frank Seravalli also confirmed the details of the deal:

Michael Cerami contributed to this post.

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.