Blackhawks Expected to Make Multiple Trades

NHL Insider Frank Seravalli dropped some interesting news while on Sportsnet 650 earlier this week. He stated that Patrick Kane, Seth Jones, and Jonathan Toews are the only untouchable players on the Chicago Blackhawks right now. It isn’t at all surprising to hear that they are leaning toward selling this trade deadline. At this juncture of the season, they have a 15-19-7 record and are seventh in the Central Division. Yet, after this development, it seems possible that players with multiple years left on their contracts could be dealt too.

If Seravalli’s comments hold any truth, this could be a very eventful few months for the Blackhawks when it comes to trading. However, it also brings upon several items worth discussing, too.

Is This the Start of a Legitimate Rebuild In Chicago?

The Blackhawks had themselves a big summer of spending with the expectation that they would climb themselves back into the playoffs. This was made apparent when they acquired Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets and then Marc-Andre Fleury from the Vegas Golden Knights. With that, they also added players like Tyler Johnson, Caleb Jones, Jake McCabe, Jujhar Khaira, and Erik Gustafsson. However, due to a very poor start to the campaign, they fell out of the playoff picture and haven’t been able to get back into it.

Chicago Blackhawks Celebrate-Blackhawks Expected to Make Multiple Trades
Chicago Blackhawks Celebrate (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Over the four previous seasons, they made the postseason once, but that was due to the play-in round. In each of those campaigns, they had more losses than wins, too. If this season continues to play out as it is, they will have suffered this fate for half of a decade. With the team also having new management, we could see their game plan moving forward change. Thus, the possibility of a rebuild is there, especially after what Seravalli said. However, even if they do commit to one, their top three veterans will be sticking around for it until at least the end of this season.

The Blackhawks Have Many Trade Targets

When looking at the Blackhawks’ roster, they have a plethora of players who have expiring contracts. Fleury is the biggest name of the bunch, but other players like Gustafsson, Calvin de Haan, Ryan Carpenter, Kevin Lankinen, and recently acquired Sam Lafferty are all eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer, too. With that, it is easy to believe that the team will end up moving at least a few of them by the deadline. Although the final five wouldn’t necessarily bring in big returns, it would be wise to get some assets back for their potential rentals. It’s better to get something for a player than lose them for nothing.

Related: Blackhawks: 3 Trade Destinations for Calvin de Haan

However, it doesn’t stop there, either. Young forwards like Dylan Strome and Henrik Borgstrom have been in the rumor mill for months now, and this news doesn’t change the status of their availability. Dominik Kubalik could also be an interesting trading piece, as he is a restricted free agent over the summer and has arbitration rights. Other veterans like Khaira and Johnson also could be players that the team contemplates moving.

Chicago’s Big Omission From the Untouchables

You may have noticed that Alex DeBrincat isn’t among the Blackhawks’ trio of untouchables. This certainly is shocking to see, as he is the player who the team should and most likely will build around as the years pass by. Not too many snipers of his caliber come around, but this is especially true when remembering that he was a second-round pick in 2016. However, Seravalli didn’t list his name, so teams technically are permitted to make offers for the 24-year-old winger. Yet, they would need to come up with a monstrous one to have even the slightest of chances to get a deal done. So, in other words, he is essentially untouchable.

Alex DeBrincat, Chicago Blackhawks-Blackhawks Expected to Make Multiple Trades
Alex DeBrincat, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Trading a player like DeBrincat would be the worst way possible for the Blackhawks to rebuild. He’s become one of the top snipers in the league, and his statistics this season only help his case more. In 40 games, he has an impressive 23 goals to go along with nine helpers. He also scored 32 goals in 52 contests last season and has a 41-goal campaign under his belt. His contract doesn’t expire until the end of the 2022-23 season, and he will still be under team control as a restricted free agent. Thus, it just feels extremely unlikely that a deal will occur involving him, even if he’s “available.”

Two More Blackhawk Players Worth Keeping

Although DeBrincat is the big name missing from the untouchables list, Kirby Dach and Brandon Hagel are two players who may be worth keeping around, too. This is still the case even if they begin a full-on rebuild.

In 37 games this season, Dach has just six goals and eight assists. Although that kind of production is underwhelming, now doesn’t feel like the right time to give up on the 2019 third-overall pick. He is still just 21 years old and has plenty of time to develop into a legitimate top-six center. Furthermore, he already showed promise just last season, as he had two goals and eight assists in 18 contests. With all of this, it may be best to see what he can do during another season with the team.

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While Dach has struggled, Hagel has thrived. In 34 games, he has 10 goals and 20 total points. This is a notable increase in production, as he had 24 points in 52 games with the team last season as a rookie. Given the fact that he is still 23 years old, it may be best to see what else he can provide as he continues to get more NHL experience. However, at the same time, he would likely net them a decent return in a trade.

At the end of the day, Seravalli’s comment does provide us with more clarity about how the Blackhawks may handle not only the upcoming trade deadline but also the offseason. It seems that the franchise could be in for some major changes, so it’s something fans should keep a close eye on from here.

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