A Positive Toews Update, Rangers-Blues Trade Aftermath, Lafferty Market Buzz, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Sam Lafferty Blackhawks

A Positive Toews Update, Rangers-Blues Trade Aftermath, Lafferty Market Buzz, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

It’s a beautiful Friday in the Chicago area, and there’s hockey tonight on West Madison Street. The Coyotes crawl into town with a 6-20-4 road record. They’re five points above the Blackhawks in the standings and Chicago has two games in-hand so the script we saw on Tuesday night still plays for both of these teams tonight.

  • First, good news on the Jonathan Toews front. Head coach Luke Richardson said after practice that Toews was in the building today working out in the gym and “looked good.” It’s been two weeks since Toews skated in a game (or practice for that matter) so Richardson said he’s doubtful for the next couple games as they ramp him back up to speed but this was good news for the Blackhawks’ captain.
  • Richardson was also asked about when we’ll see defenseman Jarred Tinordi back in game action. He’s been out since he got hit in the face with a puck against the Rangers on Dec. 18. “We’d like to get him in for sure this weekend, and if it’s not Friday it’s Saturday,” Richardson said. “That might make more sense; it’s a bigger team. I know he’s frustrated because he wants to play.”
  • After the New York Rangers acquired Vladimir Tarasenko from the St. Louis Blues yesterday, ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reported the Blue Shirts didn’t even get to the point of having a conversation about potential price with the Blackhawks because they didn’t want to wait for 88 to make a decision. The concerns about the hip are going to be an excuse with every team that doesn’t make a deal for Kane, but Tarasenko has enough injuries on his resume that I’m not buying them worrying about a guy not being what he once was when making a trade.
  • So… what exactly does the Tarasenko deal mean for the Blackhawks if/when Patrick Kane hits the market (still a big IF by the way)? Well, for one, the Rangers are out on Kane now (no cap space left). But we can also get a sense of what the return for Kane might look like based on the package the Blues received from the Rangers.
  • With the Islanders adding Bo Horvat and now the Rangers acquiring Tarasenko, the only team left in the New York/New Jersey trio that hasn’t done something significant is actually the one that is in the best playoff position right now: the Devils. On Thursday, New Jersey was dealt a tough blow when the team announced its best player, Jack Hughes, is week-to-week with an upper body issue. It’s one thing to be day-to-day, but when weeks are mentioned it isn’t ideal — especially this close to the trade deadline. I had thoughts about the Devils maybe wanting/needing to do something before the Tarasenko trade. Now they might feel more pressure to add.
  • There are a handful of teams that need either an effective bottom-six center or wing that plays with pace and can help on penalty killing duty — including the Devils. There seems to be increasing buzz that one of the players who might be a hot candidate to help those teams is Sam Lafferty, who has done a splendid job taking advantage of the fresh opportunity he has been afforded in Chicago and shown himself to be a solid NHL player.
  • Richardson has praised Lafferty’s game a few times this season, and felt comfortable using him in a variety of roles. Ben Pope at the Chicago Sun-Times asked an intriguing question about Lafferty’s value on the trade market after Chicago’s head coach made a somewhat surprising comparison: could the Blackhawks get a similar package to what Montreal got for Josh Anderson for Lafferty?
  • The funny thing is: what Montreal got for Anderson was a third-round pick and… Max Domi.
  • Frank Seravalli at The Daily Faceoff believes there’s more to Lafferty’s ceiling than we’ve seen thus far, too.
  • File this one away with the other “things to really dig into after the trade deadline” in your life. The Blackhawks already have two picks in the first, second, third and fifth rounds in the 2024 NHL Draft so getting to know some of the prospects who might be in play in more than a year could be fun while we wait for the Connor Bedard lottery to take place in April.
  • Finally, thoughts & prayers go out to my friends who cover the Bulls because yesterday was a loooooong day. Maybe worse than the previously considered worst-case scenario? They doubled-down on their flawed roster and then got their butts kicked by a Nets team that traded away their two best players, the most recent of which was Kevin Durant less than 24 hours prior? C’mon man!

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