The Unbelievably Tall Trade Tree of Denis Savard

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Denis Savard Chicago Blackhawks

The Unbelievably Tall Trade Tree of Denis Savard

Chicago Blackhawks

It’s been a while since we dropped one of our Trade Tree Friday pieces. However, earlier this week, we “celebrated” the anniversary of Jeremy Roenick being traded to the Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes. That trade tree we named the Evan Barratt Trade Tree because he is the current Blackhawks prospect who is still here from that trade.

I started wandering down another long, dark path into Blackhawks trade history and was shocked at where the path took me. So, instead of spoiling the end result of this trade tree, we’re going to start the beginning.

Let’s get stupid…

The Chicago Blackhawks selected Denis Savard with the third overall pick in the first round of the 1980 NHL Draft. He started building a resume that would eventually put him in the Hockey Hall of Fame during his first fabulous run in Chicago. If you’re over the age of 45, Savard’s line with Al Secord and Steve Larmer (#retire28) was the line to watch for years. But in 1990, it was time for the Blackhawks to make a bold move.

  • June 19, 1990 — the Blackhawks traded Savard to his hometown Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Chris Chelios and a second-round pick in the 1991 NHL Draft (No. 39 — Mike Pomichter).

Chelios was incredible with the Blackhawks, eventually serving as the captain. He bolstered his own Hall of Fame resume in Chicago, winning the Norris Trophy twice while playing for his hometown Blackhawks.

Pomichter never played for the Blackhawks and was traded to the Maple Leafs in 1996 for cash considerations.

In 1999, to borrow from the late Vin Scully, “the unthinkable has happened.”

  • March 23, 1999 — the Blackhawks traded Chelios to the Detroit Red Wings for defenseman Anders Eriksson, a first-round pick in the 1999 NHL Draft (No. 23 — Steve McCarthy) and a first-round pick in the 2001 NHL Draft (No. 29 — Adam Munro).

This one still burns most Blackhawks fans. Chelios swore he would never go to Detroit, and yet here we are. In hindsight, getting two first-round picks for a 37-year-old defenseman isn’t awful… but still. At the time, nobody knew Chelios would be bringing the Stanley Cup to Wrigley Field in red and white — or playing for ten more years.

This is where this trade tree starts to go crazy. So stay with us…

Eriksson appeared in 97 games with the Blackhawks before he was traded. McCarthy appeared in 134 games with the Blackhawks before he was traded. And Munro appeared in just 17 games for the Blackhawks before returning to the minors for good. But he didn’t sign on time, so the Blackhawks received a compensatory pick for him.

Let’s start the branches, shall we?

The McCarthy Branch

  • Aug. 22, 2005 — the Blackhawks traded McCarthy to the Vancouver Canucks for a third-round pick in the 2007 NHL Draft (No. 86 — Josh Unice).

Unice never appeared in a game for the Blackhawks.

The Munro Branch

Because the Blackhawks didn’t sign Munro on time, they received a second-round pick in the 2003 NHL Draft as compensation. With the 29th pick in the second round (No. 59 overall), the Blackhawks selected Michael Barinka. Barinka appeared in 34 games for the Blackhawks before he was traded.

  • July 9, 2006 — the Blackhawks traded Barinka, Tom Preissing, Josh Hennessy and second-round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft (No. 42 — Patrick Wiercioch) to Ottawa for Bryan Smolinski and Martin Havlat.

Yes, that’s right. The trade that brought Marty Havlat to Chicago involved a guy whose trade tree roots go all the way back to Savard. Wild, isn’t it? Havlat was terrific at a time when the Blackhawks were kinda-sorta where they are right now — building. He scored 64 goals in 172 games over three seasons while with Chicago before Dale Tallon and Co. decided to sign Marian Hossa instead of bringing back Havlat.

  • Feb. 26, 2007 — the Blackhawks traded Smolinski to the Vancouver Canucks for a second-round pick in the 2007 NHL Draft (No. 56 — Akim Aliu).

To say things didn’t go well between the Blackhawks and Aliu is an incredible, massive understatement. In 2019, Aliu accused former minor league coach Bill Peters of racial slurs while coaching him in Rockford. We should have known then that the Blackhawks’ front office issues ran deeper than just bad draft classes and poor cap management, but it took the Kyle Beach accusations to cost multiple people their jobs.

  • June 24, 2010 — the Blackhawks traded Aliu in the blockbuster that also sent Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Dustin Byfuglien to the Atlanta Thrashers for Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb, Jeremy Morin, a first-round in the 2010 draft (Kevin Hayes) and second-round pick in the 2010 draft (Justin Holl).

We aren’t going to dive into this deal very far, but both Hayes and Holl are still in the NHL. Morin has bounced around the NHL a lot, so we won’t do an entire trade tree for him alone (that would make this into a book).

Holl was dumped in the ECHL with the Blackhawks but worked himself into a nice, NHL-caliber defenseman who is in Toronto. Hayes never signed with the Blackhawks.

The Eriksson Branch

  • Nov. 6, 2000 — the Blackhawks traded Eriksson to the Florida Panthers for Jaroslav Spacek.

Spacek appeared in 155 games over parts of three seasons for the Blackhawks. But 110 of those games came before he was traded at the deadline in 2002 (he came back 60 games in the 2006-07 season before he was traded a second time).

(Side Note: Spacek’s son, David, played a big role in Czechia upsetting the United States in the World Juniors on Wednesday night. Time flies, folks.)

  • March 19, 2002 — the Blackhawks traded Spacek with a second-round pick in the 2003 NHL Draft (No. 46 — Dan Fritsche) to the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenseman Lyle Odelein.

Odelein appeared in 77 games for the Blackhawks before he was traded at the deadline the following season.

  • March 10, 2003 — the Blackhawks traded Odelein to the Dallas Stars for for Sami Helenius and a seventh-round pick in the 2004 draft (No. 214 — Troy Brouwer).

Say what? An afterthought pick in a trade that has roots all the way back to Savard/Chelios turned into Troy Brouwer? He scored 49 goals in 238 regular-season games for the Blackhawks and was a big part of the 2010 Stanley Cup championship team. He wasn’t the best (or a good) skater but worked his butt off to become a quality NHL player who lasted 851 games over 14 seasons in the NHL.

Helenius appeared in 10 games for the Blackhawks.

The Brouwer Branch

  • June 24, 2011 — the Blackhawks traded Brouwer to the Washington Capitals for a first-round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft (No. 26 — Phillip Danault).

Well, the Blackhawks drafted a good player… it’s just a damn shame they never got anything out of him. He’s now a very good center for the LA Kings.

  • Feb. 26, 2016 — the Blackhawks traded Danault and a second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft (No. 38 — Alexander Romanov) to the Montreal Canadiens for forwards Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise.

This might be the all-time f*** up on Stan Bowman’s resume. He went for it, and it completely backfired.

Fleischmann appeared in 17 games for the Blackhawks and was out of the NHL the following year. Weise appeared in 15 games for the Blackhawks and left as a free agent that summer. Massive bust on this deal.

But I said this was gonna get crazy, didn’t I?

  • July 7, 2022 — the Montreal Canadiens traded Romanov (picked with Chicago’s selection in the 2018 NHL Draft) with a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft No. 98 — Isaiah George) to the New York Islanders for the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. Montreal then flipped the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft (Frank Nazar) with a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft (No. 66 — Gavin Hayes) to the Blackhawks for Kirby Dach.

Okay, let’s all collectively exhale and regroup.

So what we’re saying here is the trade tree that started with the Savard-Chelios trade in 1990 (between the Blackhawks and Canadiens) ends (for now) with a directly contributing impact on the Kirby Dach trade (with, you guessed it, Montreal) that brought Nazar and Hayes to the Blackhawks’ organization.

Nazar was born in 2004 — almost 14 full years after the Savard-Chelios trade was consummated.

Frank Nazar 2022 NHL Draft Blackhawks


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