Feb 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy (8) skates with the puck as Phoenix Coyotes left wing Mikkel Boedker (89) chases during the third period at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
With the trade deadline approaching teams around the NHL are trying to add pieces that could propel them to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the Central Division, the Minnesota Wild tried to shore up their goalie position by adding Ilya Bryzgalov from the Edmonton Oilers. The Blues completed a blockbuster trade for Ryan Miller and Steve Ott. The Stars traded Stephane Robidas to the Anaheim Ducks.
Meanwhile the Blackhawks have made a series of minor moves. The Blackhawks acquired Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard for a fourth round pick. The Blackhawks then freed Brandon Pirri and shipped him to Florida for a third round pick in the 2014 draft and a fifth rounder in the 2016 draft. The Blackhawks then traded a second round pick for David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois of the Phoenix Coyotes.
Could all of these moves be leading to a BIGGER TRADE???
The Blackhawks are right up against the Salary Cap this season. According to Cap Geek.com, the Blackhawks has slightly more than 800k in cap space available. Rundblad just squeezed under their salary cap at 785k this season. So if they wanted to acquire another player, they would need to move a player off of their NHL roster. The POPULAR rumor is Ryan Kesler to Blackhawks for a package of players. I have argued in a previous article that this move will not happen, (see Ryan Kelser Trade Speculation) but what if all these moves were leading up to a Kesler trade?
If the Blackhawks were going to trade for Kesler or any other big name player, they would have to move a player off the NHL roster. I hate to burst the Bryan Bickell bubble, but NOBODY is taking on his contract. So if the Blackhawks were going to trade for Kesler, they would need to give up a younger and cheaper player.
The only package that might make sense for the Blackhawks to offer the Canucks for Kesler is: Nick Leddy, Jeremy Morin, and draft picks/prospects. The Canucks are looking for a younger player in his 20’s with upside. Morin fits that bill and so does Nick Leddy. Morin has been RED hot as of late. Morin has nine goals and nine assists in the Ice hogs last eleven games. Morin is averaging a point per game in the AHL and was named AHL player of the month in February. Leddy is a 22 year old puck moving defenseman with great speed. He is only getting better. He has earned a plus 15 rating this season. Leddy also seems like the candidate to get traded because of the acquisition of Rundblad.
Rundblad is an offensive minded defenseman with good skills and excellent skills. Rundland is 23 years old. He would be the natural replacement for Nick Leddy If the Blackhawks moved him in a trade. I honestly think the Blackhawks will not make a big move at the dead line, however, if something did happen. The Blackhawks have been building to it.
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