Blackhawks News & Rumors: Rutta, Murphy, Pirri & More

The NHL season officially concluded on Sept. 28 with the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup, and everything is now up for grabs. When the Stanley Cup Final concludes, it usually means that teams can start freely making moves since every team is done playing. In the Chicago Blackhawks’ world, some moves have been made, trade rumors are still buzzing, and we check back in with an old friend. Here’s the latest from Chicago:

Jan Rutta

Remember defenseman Jan Rutta? He is now a Stanley Cup champion with the Lightning!

As a refresher, Rutta was with the Blackhawks from 2017 to 2019. He struggled to find solid ground in the organization and was traded to the Lightning in January 2019 for defenseman Slater Koekkoek. It’s always nice to see Chicago alumni find success, so a big congratulations to Rutta and to Tampa Bay on their big win!

Welcome Back

Speaking of old friends, another Blackhawks’ alumni has rejoined the squad. On Sept. 28, Chicago traded right wing Dylan Sikura to the Vegas Golden Knights to re-acquire center Brandon Pirri, who was drafted by the Blackhawks in the second round back in 2009. He was then traded to the Florida Panthers in 2014. He has bounced around a lot from the NHL to the AHL; from the Panthers, to the New York Rangers, to the Golden Knights, and to the Golden Knights’ affiliate team, the Chicago Wolves.

Vegas Golden Knights Brandon Pirri
Former Vegas Golden Knights center Brandon Pirri celebrates (AP Photo/John Locher)

The 29-year-old Pirri is an interesting player. He is a player that can be really hot or really cold. He proved that back in 2018-19 when he had 10 points in eight games for Vegas. But this season, he had two points and was a minus-four in 16 games for the Golden Knights. Chicago hasn’t said what they envision Pirri’s role with the team to be yet. However, you can assume this is just a depth move. He is someone the team can add for veteran offensive help, if needed. Or, he could be a great help to the Blackhawks’ affiliate team, the Rockford Icehogs, as well. I personally think we’ll only see Pirri with the Hawks if there is an injury to the bottom six.

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As for the person that the Blackhawks traded away, Sikura, that’s a tough move. He was someone that the team was so excited to get when he came out of college in 2018. Sikura was expected to be an offensive threat, but it didn’t pan out for him here. In 47 games, he only had one goal. We wish him all the best in Vegas.

Brandon Hagel

The Blackhawks announced on Sept. 29 that they have loaned left wing Brandon Hagel to HC Thurgau of the Swiss League. It’s another one of those instances where prospects are able to see more ice time during the offseason. He joins a frenzy of other players that Chicago has loaned so far. That includes Matej Chalupa, Pius Suter, Michal Teply, Philipp Kurashev, and Tim Soderlund. Loans are usually a great sign for a player’s development, so this was not a bad move to make.

Connor Murphy Trade?

There have been some defensive trade possibilities that keep popping up for the Hawks. I touched on defensemen Matt Dumba and Torey Krug being possible trade links in my last News & Rumors post. Now, a new trade possibility has come forward. It’s about defenseman Connor Murphy. Murphy has been one of the Blackhawks’ best blueliners and is someone that has become an anchor for the defensive core. However, I keep seeing his name popping up as being possibly linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Connor Murphy Chicago Blackhawks
Connor Murphy, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The link comes from the fact that the Maple Leafs need a right-handed defenseman. I don’t know if there is truth behind this rumor, but it makes sense if the Maple Leafs were to target Murphy.

Related: Blackhawks’ Best Trades of All-Time

Murphy is one of those players where Chicago should not move him unless they get an offer they can’t refuse. I highly doubt that the team would move him. However, I’m starting to think we are going to hear his name a lot in trade rumors this offseason. Good, reliable defensemen are always in demand.

What’s Next?

Although the Blackhawks have only made one minor move so far, all it takes is one domino to fall before the rest follows suit. Free agency is approaching in over a week. (Oct. 9). We’ll keep you updated on all the latest rumors and moves that the team makes!

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