With 4 days to go until the trade deadline, needs and wants are slowly being filled by teams across the league. With the Blackhawks yet to make a move, they could be losing their chance to pick up a quality piece for the rest of the short season. One position that has come up almost as often as Center this year is Defense. The Blackhawks are not lacking in this department; they have one of the league’s best tandems in Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. Behind them however, lies a 2nd pairing that has struggled as of late, and a 3rd pairing led by the young Nick Leddy, who is still yet to mature enough to play big-league minutes. He will get there soon, however, but in the meantime it may be in good intrest to strengthen the second pair. Since Johnny Oduya was brought in last season he has played overall, solid with a few bad games. For his partner, Niklas Hjalmarsson, the chance of a trade has always been a good one, ever since he was kept over Kris Versteeg in the summer of 2010. Two suitable options could come from Long Island. Mark Streit and Lubomir Visnovsky.
For the Islanders to move their captain, they would no doubt command a pretty penny. However, an exchange with Hjalmarsson could be a possibility, as the aging Streit’s days in Long Island may be numbered with him about to be a UFA this summer, and they would like to get a return for him instead of having him walk out for nothing in a few months’ time. As it would be for any struggling team, they would look for a prospect, which the Hawks are not short on, such as Mark McNeil, a promising center who could make the jump in a year or two. If that would not be enough, a draft pick in either 2013 or 2014 could surely seal the deal. With Streit’s $4,100,000 comes a defenseman who is looking for success in the later stages of his career, one who is extremely adept at quarterbacking a power-play, which would be a good fit as the Hawks’ Achilles heel in the last few years has been the man-advantage. Streit would be a good fit to the team, as long as they were willing to sign him to a contract that would see him play in the Windy City for the rest of his career.
It has been rumored that the Blackhawks have expressed interest in the 36-year old. For the Hawks to make way for him, they would almost certainly have to get rid of Hjalmarsson, or a player of his stature. His left-handed shot would fill in for #4 perfectly, and he is a good veteran presence on the blue line. With the Islanders signing him to a 2-year extension Saturday, they showed that they would like to keep him in New York, but if the price was right there would not be any troubles parting with him. Because it is the same team, it would turn out to be a similar deal as Streit’s, although another roster player such as the recently recalled Jeremy Morin or Brandon Bollig could be exchanged for the prospect and the pick.
Out of the two blueliners, I would rather see Streit don the Indian Head. He could fit in very well, and fix the Hawks power-play woes.
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