I often find myself traveling down the rabbit hole of: “So how exactly did we end up with this player?”
If you enjoy a trip back down memory lane, occasionally you’ll be surprised by the route teams take to land certain players. And the steps along the way can bring back fond memories of players from years past.
So for fun, we’re going to wander down memory lane this offseason to look at the full trade trees that landed the Chicago Blackhawks with some of their current players.
In our first edition, we’re going to hop in the way back machine to look at the long, winding road that eventually landed defenseman Connor Murphy in Chicago.
Our road begins in the year 1999…
• June 26, 1999 — the Blackhawks acquired defenseman Bryan McCabe from the Vancouver Canucks for their first round pick in the 1999 NHL Draft, No. 4 overall (forward Pavel Brendl). That trade was part of a complicated scheme put in motion by then-Canucks GM Brian Burke to get both Henrik and Daniel Sedin to Vancouver. McCabe appeared in 79 games for the Blackhawks in the 1999-2000 season. Brendl appeared in 78 career regular-season NHL games.
• Oct. 2, 2000 — the Blackhawks traded McCabe to the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman Alexander Karpovtsev and a fourth-round pick in the 2001 draft (No. 115 defenseman Vladimir Gusev). Gusev never appeared in an NHL game. You may remember Karpovtsev was the focus of a legendary rant by Pat Foley when he was dealt.
• March 9, 2004 — the Blackhawks traded Karpovtsev to the New York Islanders for a fourth-round pick in the 2005 NHL Draft (No. 108 defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson).
Hjalmarsson spent ten years with the Blackhawks and was a key piece of their three championship seasons. He is one of the most under appreciated defensemen of the past 15 years. Indeed, Chicago wouldn’t have three banners at the United Center without the contributions of Hjalmarsson.
• June 23, 2017 — the Blackhawks traded Hjalmarsson to Arizona for forward Laurent Dauphin and defenseman Connor Murphy. Dauphin never appeared in a game for the Blackhawks after he was acquired with Murphy.
Over the past five seasons, Murphy has appeared in 293 games for the Blackhawks. He was an alternate captain for the team during the 2021-22 season and has grown into a top-four defenseman since arriving in Chicago.
That isn’t all…
That isn’t the finale of this trade tree, however. There’s one more move that needs to be recognized.
• Jan. 10, 2018 — the Blackhawks traded Dauphin with forward Richard Panik to Arizona for forward Anthony Duclair and defenseman Adam Clendening.
Clendening’s transaction report is wild. The Hawks originally drafted him in 2011 and initially traded him to Vancouver for defenseman Gustav Forsling in 2015. He was then part of the trade that sent Nick Bonino to Pittsburgh later that year; the Pens then traded him with David Perron to Anaheim for Carl Hagelin in 2016. After a couple one-year deals he wound up in Arizona, and then headed back to Chicago.
Duclair appeared in just 23 games for the Blackhawks, scoring two goals with six assists. Both Duclair and Clendening left the organization as free agents after the 2017-18 season.
So it took four trades through the Blackhawks’ history to ultimately wind up with Murphy on the roster. Five players and three draft picks were included in those deals and Chicago wound up with three championships and, at the end of the day, Connor Murphy to show for the full record.