With the 2022 NHL Draft officially beginning tomorrow, expect trade speculation to increase big time over the next 30 hours or so. And the Chicago Blackhawks are in the middle of a lot of the buzz, largely because Alex DeBrincat is the best forward reportedly on the market.
But the Blackhawks have other assets that could help them maneuver around the draft board this year. And they could be active throughout the draft as they begin a rebuild in earnest. So let’s look at three potential trades that could happen in the coming days that might make sense for the Blackhawks and the trade partner(s).
Dylan Strome and Pick No. 38 to Buffalo for Pick No. 28
The Blackhawks have openly said on multiple occasions that they would love to move back into the first round this year if possible, but they aren’t going to do anything stupid. This wouldn’t be stupid; Strome is an RFA who they aren’t going to bring back.
Buffalo has three first round picks this year (Nos. 9, 16 and 28) and they’re looking to add quality forwards. To move down 10 selections and add a potential top-six center with NHL experience is a solid play for the Sabres.
Dominik Kubalik and Pick No. 167 to Detroit for Pick No. 129
Kubalik, like Strome, is an RFA right now and the Blackhawks don’t intend to bring him back. But his RFA rights might appeal to a team looking for scoring depth like the Red Wings, who are looking to bolster their offense.
For the Red Wings, this could be an easy snipe of a player who scored 30 goals in the NHL. Steve Yzerman has three picks in the fourth round including Colorado’s (No. 129 — the last pick in the round). So moving back from there to the early sixth round to Chicago’s own selection and having a window to exclusively negotiate an extension with Kubalik wouldn’t be a heavy lift for Detroit.
Jake McCabe to Columbus for a 2023 3rd round pick
Columbus was reportedly involved with Tampa in a potential waiver deal for Ryan McDonagh before he was ultimately traded to Nashville. They’re looking for help on their blue line, and the Blackhawks need to make room for younger players to get on the NHL ice.
McCabe, 28, has three years of control at $4 million and would be a solid veteran addition for the Blue Jackets. The third-round pick isn’t asking for a deal breaker in the first two rounds of the hyped 2023 draft, but it gives the Blackhawks another asset to build for their future.