Blackhawks Should Hang No Vacancy Sign

The NHL trade deadline is less than two weeks away. There are buyers who likely need upgrades (Anaheim, Dallas) and there are sellers (Toronto, Winnipeg, well okay all of Canada). Then there is the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Despite calls by some, I believe the best thing the team can do is — nothing. That’s right. Hang out the “No Vacancy” sign and prepare to defend Lord Stanley’s Cup. Is the team perfect? No, of course not. But let’s dissect a few of the more popular calls for trades:

Teuvo Teravainen

Tuevo first took the ice for the Blackhawks on March 25, 2014, at age 19. He is currently the youngest player on the Blackhawks active roster. Against Toronto on Monday night, he played in only his 93rd NHL game. Sure, before his goal against Toronto (Toronto the cure for all that ails you), Teuvo had gone 17 games without a goal. However, judging Teuvo by the amount of goals he scores is to miss out on all of his true value.

He has opened the season on the first line alongside Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews, grinded it out on the third line with Andrew Desjardins, and skated on the second line alongside Patrick Kane while Artemi Panarin was out of the lineup. Teuvo has played wherever Coach Joel Quenneville has asked him to, including special teams, and has done so happily. Despite Center being his preferred position, Teuvo is a top-notch utility guy that makes plays. Teams covet these types of players, and trading him would be a huge mistake for the Blackhawks as he fills so many roles. Oh yeah, and he will make less than $900,000 per year through the end of the 2017 season.

Quite simply, Teuvo is only 21, and his upside and versatility far outweigh any mistakes he makes as a youngster still mastering the North American game. He stays.

Andrew Shaw

This fan favorite has suddenly become the target of several trade rumors. Maybe it is because he becomes a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) after this year. Maybe the team thinks Ryan Hartman is a cheaper alternative at $863,333 per year versus $2 Million plus for Shaw. But here is why it would be a mistake for the Blackhawks to trade Shaw for a likely rent-a-player: They are terribly thin in the scrappy, stir it up, net front battle department. This is especially true with Bryan Bickell all out of chances. Seriously, who else is willing to do this night after night? Trust me it’s Shaw’s stick in the video as he back-hands the puck between his legs and into the net.

Is it possible Shaw signs elsewhere next year? Yes, but as an RFA then the Blackhawks would get drafts picks as compensation anyway. That is way better than a two-month rental who won’t be able to sign with team after the season anyway. So, Shaw stays.

Another “Top Four” Defenseman

Apparently some observers of the Blackhawks have failed to realize that Trevor Van Riemsdyk (TVR) has played that spot admirably all year. After missing most of last year due to injuries, he came back late last year for the Cup Final. Like Teuvo, TVR is just now on pace to complete one full continuous season at the NHL level. All he has done is log precious and effective minutes alongside Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson. The idea that the Blackhawks can gain another top defender, without giving up way too  much in return, is laughable.

Add Erik Gustafsson to the mix as the fifth defender alongside Michal Rozsival, and the team is set. Look, this is likely Rozsivals’ last year. The team also just waived journeyman Rob Scuderi. If the Blackhawks can sign someone without trading a key player from Rockford than fine. Otherwise, they can re-examine the defense in June after they defend The Cup.

Anything they Can Do?

As mentioned above, the Blackhawks freed up some cap space by waiving Scuderi, even if he is reassigned to Rockford. He can join Bickell in helping the team by not returning to the big league club. Assuming Scuderi clears waivers, the team will have about $3.9 Million to play with at the trade deadline. That’s enough to add someone, especially if Marian Hossa’s injury is more significant than thought.

Otherwise, the Blackhawks should consider the rental market closed. This team is stocked in Rockford, and there is no reason to give up a player like Teuvo, Shaw or Trevor Van Riemsdyk. Don’t believe me? Guess who Coach Quenneville played in the Game Six Cup clincher last June? Yep, ALL THREE!

What say you dear readers? Is a trade or significant upgrade really needed?