Blackhawks Trade Tree Friday: Sam Lafferty

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Blackhawks Trade Tree Friday: Sam Lafferty

Chicago Blackhawks

Over the past few weeks we’ve been enjoying the long, winding roads it has taken for players and/or prospects to be part of the current Chicago Blackhawks organization. We’ve looked at the trade trees of Connor Murphy, Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome.

The third trade made by Kyle Davidson as interim general manager of the Blackhawks was the only one to that point that had significant implications on the NHL roster this past season. At the time, the deal that didn’t make many waves.

However, on April 29 Davidson made a two-year commitment to Sam Lafferty with a new contract. After the Hawks’ season ended he played well for the United States in the World Championship in May; he emerged as a nice player for the Hawks after he joined the team. But how did we get to this point?

Let’s look at the trade tree that brought Lafferty to Chicago.

•   June 23, 2017 — in a draft day trade in which Dallas moved up, the Blackhawks traded their first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft (No. 26) to the Stars for the No. 29 overall selection and third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft (No. 70). Adding a third-round pick to move back three spots isn’t an awful deal on the surface, but…

With the 26th overall pick, Dallas selected their starting goaltender, Jake Oettinger. Oops! The Blackhawks used the 29th overall pick to select defenseman Henri Jokiharju, and the 70th overall pick to select forward Andrei Altybarmakyan.

Altybarmakyan signed with Chicago and spent the last couple seasons in Rockford. He’s a restricted free agent this summer after scoring ten goals with 21 assists in 65 games for the IceHogs. Jokiharju appeared in 38 games for the Blackhawks during the 2018-19 season, recording 12 assists.

•   July 9, 2019 — the Blackhawks traded Jokiharju to the Buffalo Sabres for Nylander.

This past season, Jokiharju averaged 21:53 per game for the Sabres this past season and has emerged as a viable top-four defensemen in Buffalo. Meanwhile, Stan Bowman took a shot on Nylander, who was eighth overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. He thought there was more to Nylander’s game that they could find.

(Narrator: they didn’t. Nylander sucks.)

•   Jan. 5, 2022 — the Blackhawks traded Nylander to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Sam Lafferty.

Lafferty was originally a fourth-round pick (No. 113 overall) by the Penguins in the 2014 NHL Draft. The Blackhawks owned the 98th overall pick in 2014 and passed on Lafferty in that draft, among others.

Among the other players selected after the Hawks’ pick at No. 98 in the fourth round in 2016: current Colorado defenseman Devon Toews, current LA Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson, 2021-22 Calder Trophy finalist Michael Bunting of the Leafs and current Rangers goaltender and likely 2022 Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin.

With the 98th overall pick in the fourth-round in 2016, Chicago selected forward Fredrik Olofsson. Ironically, Olofsson — who never signed with the Blackhawks and opted to return to Sweden after four seasons at Omaha (NCAA) and two games with Rockford — recently signed with Oettinger’s Dallas Stars.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab