Kyle Davidson and the Chicago Blackhawks have their work cut out for them ahead of this year’s trade deadline. With five pending restricted free agents and a rebuild looming over every move, this trade deadline means a little more. The way the team looks today is likely going to be very different than how it looks once 3 P.M. eastern on March 21. hits. With many rumors revolving around young forwards Brandon Hagel, Dylan Strome, and Dominik Kubalik, there is plenty of buzz surrounding the team this deadline. Today we’re going to look at a few players the Blackhawks could move and what the return for them might look like.
Possible Trade Deadline Moves for the Chicago Blackhawks
The team got the future Hall of Famer for cheap last summer and have the ability to cash out massively this deadline. Marc-Andre Fleury is a luxury the Blackhawks don’t need for the team’s future. He’s a free agent this summer and he isn’t in the team’s future goals. He’s on the latter half of 35 as well. Similarly the Blackhawks aren’t in a position to use his skill to push them into the postseason. It would be a wasted opportunity to not flip him for what he’s worth. The Blackhawks are in a position where they should be weighing their future more than the present, and Fleury can fetch a lot back. He’s still a top ten goaltender in the league, any team with the right pieces to give up should be foaming at the mouth to acquire him.
Potential trade partners will need to offer a first round draft pick, an ‘A’ tier prospect, and maybe a few other later round picks. The hardest part of making a trade for Fleury is the salary cap he brings. If a team is able to find a third party to take on some of the $7 million contract that Fleury holds, then the goalie should be there’s for the taking. Another draft pick might have to be sent to that team, but that’s a negligible price when you’re getting a future Hall of Fame goalie on your team down the stretch during a contested playoff race. There’s also the 10 team no trade list Fleury has, which limits who the Blackhawks can talk to about a possible deal.
The Blackhawks have themselves one of my more versatile players in the NHL in Hagel. His first season was a strong start to his NHL career. In 52 games for the Blackhawks the former sixth round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres scored nine goals and 15 assists for 24 points, a 37 point pace. More important than his scoring is his two way game. He plays a 200-foot game every shift he takes and transfers an elevated energy to the rest of his line mates, and is a valuable piece to the Blackhawks current team composition. Trading away a young, promising, and currently successful player seems like a step in the wrong direction. But for rebuilds to progress there needs to be pieces in the present given up.
Hagel happens to be on the list of players that the Blackhawks can give up while also re-capturing equivalently valued pieces coming back. Similar to Fluery, Hagel will fetch a hefty price from potential trade partners. Teams must be willing to give up a top-six roster forward and some draft picks, or a first round pick a bubble prospect from their pool of prospects. There are a lot of teams that could use Hagel’s services. Stanley Cup contenders could use him as that one small piece to fill out their top six ahead of the playoffs. Playoff bubble teams could look to acquire him for a similar reason, using him as that one extra piece to push them ahead in the playoff race. Needless to say there is a market for Hagel if Davidson is to go through with trading him away.
The Blackhawks should be happy with whatever the return is for a deal involving Kubalik. All the way back in the 2018-19 season the Los Angeles Kings had traded away the forwards rights to the Blackhawks for a fifth round pick. The following season the Czech Republic born forward scored 30 goals in 68 games. He’s struggle to score the past two seasons, but his upside and ceiling could be enough to net the Blackhawks a good return. A few draft picks and an NHL ready prospect, or an NHL forward and a draft pick will likely be the minimum asking price from Davidson and the Blackhawks. Much like Hagel, Kubalik could be the piece contending teams need to fill out their lineup ahead of the postseason, so there should be plenty of teams to negotiate a favorable deal with come the trade deadline.
Strome has been in Blackhawks trade rumors for the longest time it feels like. After two seasons where he payed below his expected level of play it makes sense that he’d be on the chopping block for Chicago. He’s a young enough player where there’s plenty of upside for teams to acquire him over, and he’s still playing at a level where the Blackhawks can possibly get a couple of draft picks to stockpile for the next few years of the rebuild. What makes trading Strome hard is his recent success on the ice, where recently he’s seen a small increase in his scoring. Kyle Davidson has to decide whether the team has room for Strome and bank on him panning out as planned, or if the Strome experiment needs to be put in the past.