It is that time of year in the NHL when rumors start spreading like wildfire. The NHL Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away on March 21, and fans are eagerly waiting to see what their teams will do. When it comes to the Chicago Blackhawks, it can’t come soon enough as changes are begging to be made with their 20-28-8 record. Ever since they named their permanent general manager (GM) Kyle Davidson on March 1, things seem to be moving a lot quicker in Chicago. The news and rumors haven’t quit the last few days, so here’s a rundown on all the latest rumblings.
Marc-Andre Fleury’s Decision
When it comes to trade rumors surrounding the Blackhawks, people are questioning what they will do at the trade deadline with goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. The 37-year-old is having another fantastic season with a 17-19-4 record, 2.83 GAA (goals-against average), and a .911 SV% (save percentage) in 40 games. With the team sitting at the bottom of the standings, it seems like the best scenario would be to trade him to a Stanley Cup contender. It’s not as easy as just saying that because he has a 10-team no-trade clause in his contract, and the Hawks have repeatedly stated that they will do right by him. If he wants to stay, they’ll happily keep him, and if he wants to be traded, they will move him to a contender.
The reports around his decision have been murky, as Fleury has kept things close to the vest. However, a bombshell was dropped on March 5 when Steve Simmons, a journalist for the Toronto Sun in a since-deleted tweet, stated that Fleury had informed the Blackhawks that he did not want to be dealt at this year’s trade deadline.
Ben Pope, the Blackhawks’ journalist from the Chicago Sun-Times, quickly refuted the statement from Simmons, stating that the Fleury situation is still fluid, according to his understanding, but that he doesn’t think that he has ruled out staying in Chicago. At this point, it doesn’t seem people will know for sure what will come of him until the trade deadline. It’s a scenario where fans want answers because the Hall-of-Fame goalie would be an upgrade for any team that tries to acquire him.
Moreover, fans will have to be patient and take the rumors with a grain of salt as it looks like the situation changes from day to day. The good news is, a resolution is coming sooner rather than later. Until then, take what Fleury said to heart. When speaking with Pope back in February about his future, he stated, “If I move, I would love a chance to win. That’s what I play for, and that’s what I love. But it’s still a big ‘if’ at this point.” (from ‘Marc-Andre Fleury tolerating Blackhawks trade rumors: ‘If I move, I would love a chance to win’, Chicago Sun-Times, 2/16/22).
The keyword there is, “if.” You never know what will happen!
Kyle Davidson’s Front-Office Shakeup
A few days after Davidon was named GM, he decided to give the front office a big shakeup. On March 4, he decided to make some changes when it comes to his staff by firing the vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley and assistant general manager Ryan Stewart. Both men have been with the organization for over 15 years and were a part of the team’s three Stanley Cup wins in 2010, 2013, and 2015. That was big news for the Blackhawks because no previous changes were made with scouting or management until now. It was frustrating because it was clear something had to give with those positions.
The Blackhawks have not been competitive in over five years and a lot of mistakes had been made with the handling of the roster. When it comes to drafting, developing, and trading, they have missed the mark too many times to count. This was a very big move for Davidson and he seems to be setting the tone early. He has a lot of work ahead of him with rebuilding this team, but hopefully, this is a sign of good things to come.
Patrick Kane to the…Avalanche?!
Besides Fleury, the rumors that seem to be swirling this last week involve Patrick Kane. With Davidson taking over, many are wondering how he is going to handle the future of Kane and Jonathan Toews knowing that they only have one year left on their matching eight-year, $84 million contracts. The chatter is mostly surrounding Kane because he is a player that could garner a lot of assets back to the Blackhawks in a trade. He is a player that any team in the league would love to have because, at 33-years-old, he continues to produce at a high level and is more valuable than none. He is proving it yet again this year with 17 goals, 39 assists, and 56 points in 52 games.
If Kane was to be traded, it would likely be to a playoff team. It seems very unlikely, but not impossible. As the chatter starts to spread, there is a credible source of a link to Kane and the Colorado Avalanche. David Pagnotta, an NHL Network analyst, stated on March 4 that the Avalanche were one of the teams that called the Blackhawks about Kane’s availability, even going as far as to say they informed the Hawks that they want to make it happen if he indeed wants to be traded.
This makes sense, as the Avalanche are Stanley Cup hopefuls and adding Kane to their already loaded roster would certainly put them over the top. However, he does have a full no-movement clause in his contract, so any trade would have to be put forth at his discretion and his recent comments make it seem like he isn’t interested in leaving Chicago. When talking about his future and a possible trade, he stated, “There’s probably a lot of time to determine what’s going to happen in that regard, but let’s be honest, I love Chicago. I love the city, I love the fans, the organization’s been amazing to me and my family. I think there’s always business decisions. In the game of hockey, there’s not many guys that play their whole career with one team. So it would be a privilege and honor to do that. But I guess we’ll see how it all plays out.”
I don’t believe anything major involving Kane will happen before the trade deadline, but this summer will be telling. Either way, this rumor is certainly intriguing and I think it’s worth following. There will surely be more news and rumors to come, and our Blackhawks team will make sure to keep you updated going forward.
Just a small town girl with Midwestern charm; combined with a love of dogs, writing, frappuccinos, Chicago-isms, sports, and a whole lot of Blackhawks hockey. Twitter: @brooke_lofo.