Regardless of whether the Chicago Blackhawks get themselves back into contention, Calvin de Haan is a prime candidate to move and wouldn’t be overly expensive for teams trying to add defensive depth in a player who is reliable in his own end. David Pagnotta brings de Haan’s name up in an interview on NHL Network when discussing possible trade candidates from the Blackhawks.
A team lacking a player who is solid defensively or in need of someone to eat minutes should have their sights set on de Haan. He would be considered a veteran and has enough playoff experience that would warrant a good look from contenders.
On the Blackhawks this season, he has spent time on the first pairing with Seth Jones to mesh nicely with what he brings to the table. He is third among defencemen with 19:01 ATOI (average time on ice), but over the past four games, that has seen a significant boost, to well over 20 minutes a game.
Almost anywhere de Haan would be traded to would require Chicago to retain a good chunk of his salary due to how his contract was structured over the four years. What’s worse for the Blackhawks is even though the contract is $4.55 million AAV (annual-average value), this final year of the deal sees him get paid $5.4 million.
He has never been a big point producer, as he excels on the defensive side of the game, but contributing a little more offensively this season couldn’t hurt his stock. In only three of his nine NHL seasons he scored more than one goal, and he’s only reached the 20-point mark once. That being said, de Haan averages over two blocked shots and two hits per game in his career, and there’s no signs of him slowing down anytime soon in that department.
We will now take a look at three possible landing spots for de Haan if the Blackhawks decide to move on from him before the season is over with.
Toronto Maple Leafs
If the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Blackhawks were to make the money work, they could use a defenceman like de Haan for another inevitable playoff run. What makes this destination stand out is the major struggles of Justin Holl this season compared to how he has played the last few seasons.
With the emergence of Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren this season in a more regular role and the performance of Holl, it has forced Holl out of the lineup and to be scratched for a number of games. Jake Muzzin has carried more of the load of the Muzzin-Holl pairing, and at this point, Holl may need a change in scenery. Something worth noting, Holl has a 10-team no trade list, and Chicago can’t be on that list.
Ideally for Toronto, if this type of deal were to go down including de Haan and Holl, then the Maple Leafs would have a defenceman off the books for next season, as Holl is signed for next season and de Haan is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Holl, more than de Haan, may need a change in scenery, but de Haan won’t be a Blackhawk next season with the young defencemen like Wyatt Kalynuk, Ian Mitchell, Nicolas Beaudin, and other knocking on the door for a shot in the NHL.
New York Rangers
The New York Rangers should still be in the market for a forward and a veteran defenceman. That’s where de Haan comes into play for them. There may not be too many rentals available to help them this season. Money shouldn’t be much of an issue, as they have cap space available for this year.
If acquired, de Haan would compete with players like Patrik Nemeth, and youngsters K’Andre Miller, Nils Lundkvist, and Libor Hajek. It’s not too huge of a loss if Hajek has to go through waivers, and Nemeth hasn’t lived up to the contract he signed. Since the Rangers have been allowing their goaltenders to get peppered with shots, a shot-blocker and defensive specialist would help with some of that problem.
Trading for de Haan shouldn’t cost too much, and would give some relief to the young defence core while adding veteran leadership.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets have been a surprising team to say the least this year, and if they are capable of staying in the playoff race, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has never been afraid to buy at the deadline to give his team a chance. More than not, it has gone better than expected. A change could bode well for the struggling defence right now, but that is subject to change.
The Blue Jackets have a very young defence group, and even if it doesn’t end up working out great for them this season, a veteran presence in the room and on the back-end could help the young group for the future. Cap space is not an issue at all, and they wouldn’t have to package away their future to bring in a player who could really help.
It seems de Haan would easily be able to pull into the lineup on whichever team acquires him, seeing as he can play both sides of the ice. That makes him a little more attractive to potential buyers. A team that is looking to go far in the playoffs needs players like him in a tight-checking and tougher type of game.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer covering mainly the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. He covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you up to date with the NHL Stat Corner and trade talks from around the NHL.
You can find more of his work here.