Blackhawks Acquire Multiple Picks, Nikita Zaitsev From Ottawa

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Blackhawks Acquire Multiple Draft Picks, Nikita Zaitsev From Ottawa

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks have made a trade! No, not the big one, but one that should serve them well as we get closer to the trade deadline.

Chicago has acquired 31-year-old defenseman Nikita Zaitsev from the Ottawa Senators with a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft for… nothing.

“We are getting an NHL caliber defenseman and acquiring very valuable draft capital in this upcoming draft and beyond,” said Blackhawks General Manager Kyle Davidson said in the team statement. “Nikita gives us added depth on the right side and we anticipate him joining us soon.”

This is another deal in which the Blackhawks are leveraging their cap space to help a team looking to dump a contract at the expense of picks. Zaitsev has a $4.5 million cap hit next season.

Zaitsev is a 6-2, 195 pound right-shot defenseman who has five assists in 28 games this season for Ottawa. Zaitsev has been credited with 61 hits and 43 blocked shots while averaging 17 minutes of ice time per night.

This is a really nice pick-up of a second-round pick in this year’s draft to take on a mediocre contract. Indeed, this is precisely how a rebuilding team should weaponize its cap space. Is Zaitsev going to be an all-star next year? No. Is he a serviceable defenseman that just netted the team two picks? Absolutely.

The Blackhawks now own seven picks in the first three rounds of the 2023 NHL Draft (two first-round, three second-round and two third-round picks).

This also likely means Jake McCabe‘s time with the Blackhawks is on the clock. So stay tuned for that to come next…

More on this is coming as the details develop…

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