The Chicago Blackhawks officially began their rebuild when they traded away Brandon Hagel, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Ryan Carpenter before the deadline passed. The Anaheim Ducks also were major sellers this year, as they moved Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell, Josh Manson, and Nicolas Deslauriers. Although both teams were very busy, they also each had players who surprisingly weren’t dealt. Due to this, one has to wonder if they could be potential trading partners during the offseason. Let’s dive into why now.
Ducks Expressed Interest in Dominik Kubalik
Dominik Kubalik was in the rumor mill before the trade deadline but surprisingly ended up staying put. Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Ducks were one of the teams who expressed serious interest in the 26-year-old winger (from ‘Blackhawks trade buzz: Marc-Andre Fleury situation remains a conundrum’, Chicago Sun-Times, 03/11/22). However, a deal did end not happening. Yet, with him being a pending restricted free agent (RFA), perhaps this is an avenue that could be explored during the summer. Keep in mind, he will still be under team control, so he could be moved without a new contract.
Per @BenPopeCST, the Anaheim Ducks are interested in acquiring Dominik Kubalik and Ryan Carpenter has caught the eye of the Nashville Predators.— Greg Boysen (@GregBoysen) March 11, 2022
Kubalik is a player who would probably benefit from a change of scenery. It’s been a rough year for the forward, as he has 11 goals, 11 assists, and a minus-20 rating in 64 games. Although those numbers aren’t terrible, they are still far too low for his standards. This is a forward who scored 30 goals in 68 games as a rookie just two seasons ago. Last season, he followed that up with a 38-point campaign in 56 contests. Thus, he has shown the potential to be a legitimate top-six forward, but things have changed noticeably this season.
Yet, when looking at how much success Kubalik had during his first two seasons, it does make sense for a team like the Ducks to pursue him. Although he has struggled this season, there’s reason to believe that he could bounce back. If he were to be moved to Anaheim, he would have the chance to play with forwards like Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras, Adam Henrique, and Ryan Getzlaf. Perhaps that could be enough to help him find his old form.
Blackhawks Should Target Max Comtois
Earlier this month, Jeff Marek reported that Max Comtois was getting trade interest from around the league. One year ago, nobody could have imagined that the Ducks would be open to moving him. In his first full season last year, he had 16 goals and a team-leading 33 points in 55 games. With numbers like these, there was reason to believe that the 23-year-old would be a long-term part of their top six. Yet, that has changed immensely since, as he has just three goals and eight assists in 40 games this campaign. With that, the team also has made him a healthy scratch on numerous occasions.
HNIC 32 Thoughts: UFA negotiations/PHI watches FLA AHLers/Max Comtois/VAN/Shea Weber/Draft/Jack McBain going to market?/Toronto Six ownership: https://t.co/NpKMjFRnru— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 6, 2022
With the Ducks trading Rickard Rakell at the deadline, Comtois should once again get regular playing time for the remainder of the season. However, with how things have gone for him this year, it is easy to believe that he wouldn’t oppose a move elsewhere. Since the Blackhawks are rebuilding, they could be an excellent destination for the 2017 second-round pick. When looking at their current roster, it’s fair to say that he could instantly become a very important forward for them if acquired, too.
When remembering how much potential Comtois showed just last season, he could end up being a great addition to the Blackhawks. Although their rebuild has officially begun, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for them to take a chance on a young forward who has thrived at the NHL level before. If he finds his previous scoring touch again, he could become a notable part of their core for years to come.
Potential Trade Between Both Teams
There’s no question that Kubalik and Comtois would benefit from being traded. With both of them struggling this season, it’s also important to note that their trade values aren’t very high. Thus, when looking at a potential trade between both clubs, this could be one of those instances where a one-for-one kind of swap makes perfect sense. If completed, each team would be adding a player who has the potential to rebound and once again perform like top-six wingers.
When looking at Kubalik’s potential fit on the Ducks, he would be a rather clear option for their top six. One could even argue that he could fight for a spot on their first line. At this juncture, Derek Grant is manning that role, and he is more known as being a fourth-line winger. Thus, this is a position that has become a weakness for the team, so it wouldn’t be bad at all for them to consider a player like Kubalik.
As for Comtois, he also would be in the running to be a top-six winger on the Blackhawks. This certainly would be beneficial for the Quebec native, as it could allow him the opportunity to play with forwards like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat, and Dylan Strome. This, in turn, could result in the young winger finding his scoring touch again.
Nevertheless, this could ultimately be a very good trade for all parties involved. Each forward would have the chance for a fresh start and to play meaningful minutes elsewhere. It will be intriguing to see if it comes to fruition during the summer.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.