On Tuesday morning, ESPN’s Emily Kaplan shared some thoughts on the Blackhawks’ short-term future(s). In that, she sheds some light on a few areas of interest some of us figured were probable, but threw a name out there as having trade interest that I didn’t expect at this point.
While this isn’t a surprise — “Davidson has told his GM peers that all of his UFAs will be available.” — the clear indication that a guy like Max Domi, who has done a really nice job of not only playing fairly well but also showing some leadership in the room, is going to be on the block even if he’s the kind of guy the Blackhawks want to build around. Of course, he has to be traded to move… and he could always re-sign in Chicago as a free agent this summer.
To that end, then-interim GM Kyle Davidson took some heat at the deadline last year for not trading everyone he could have, even if it would have been at a diminished price. I understood his rationale; as an interim GM who was essentially trying out for the full-time job, not wanting to allow other front offices to take advantage of his position of perceived vulnerability. So this statement from Kaplan is then noteworthy: “he’s not giving away players for sixth-round picks just to say he did it.”
If GMKD doesn’t get the right price, he won’t just give guys away. As a now-rookie GM who has the authority to make the moves and clearly has the support of ownership to trade pretty much anyone, it’s good to see he isn’t going to sell short. That being said… dump every piece you can, Kyle.
I’ve had conversations with a few people on Twitter recently about why the Blackhawks are skating veteran defensemen over kids still. My response has always been what I feel is pretty obvious: increase the value of veteran assets before the sell-off. But I understand and can appreciate the equally obvious counter question: who wants Jack Johnson or Jarred Tinordi? Well, according to Kaplan’s article, Tinordi has actually played himself into some decent value and could be a guy a team views as a really nice depth piece.
“If [Tinordi is] healthy at the deadline, he would be a solid sixth or seventh defenseman pick up for a contender.” And, with both Jack and Jarred having cap hits below $1 million, showing they can skate 18-21 minutes per night for the Blackhawks is a great showcase.
With all of that in mind, the Blackhawks getting the value they want for the players they will have available at the deadline is really dependent on there being teams with needs (injuries are already doing that) and the players Chicago wants to sell performing well enough that Davidson can get the “right” return. As the offense continues to struggle, yesterday we discussed the hard place the Blackhawks find themselves in now. They need to start seeing some production increased from some of the guys they might entertain moving at the deadline or there’s a great chance we’ll be disappointed with the return when the deals happen.