Grading The Chicago Blackhawks’ Big Trades Before Deadline Day

By Skylar Peters

The Chicago Blackhawks are always at the forefront of trade conversation as NHL Trade Deadline day nears, but never seem to make any big headlines. Over the past few years, the acquisition of Johnny Oduya is the only big move that GM Stan Bowman has swung with the clock ticking.

That certainly changed this season.

Bowman traded some AHL talent on Thursday night, sending T.J. Brennan to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Spencer Abbot. Though that caused a stir, with Brennan leading the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in points, it would be nothing compared to the two big moves in the next two days.

Bowman really sent a message when he acquired veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a pair of draft picks. Timonen, who was finally recovered after an injury that kept him out of Philadelphia’s lineup for the entire season thus far, is set to make his season debut in a Blackhawks sweater on Monday night.

Though Timonen wasn’t on the radar as potential trade bait, the Blackhawks addressed an issue with the teams’ depth at defense. With Timonen, Johnny Oduya, and Michal Roszival all unlikely to stay with the ‘Hawks after this summer, the team will be back in the defensive market sooner, rather than later, with two less draft picks in hand.

The Blackhawks then proceeded to take a big name off the ‘trade bait’ board on Saturday night, as Antoine Vermette was sent to the Windy City, with the Arizona Coyotes receiving AHL defenseman Klas Dahlbeck  and the Blackhawks’ first round pick this year in return.

It was a steep price to pay for the 32-year old, as the Blackhawks will now not pick until the third round, in what is shaping up to be one of the most pdesirable drafts in the past decade. However, with Patrick Kane out of the lineup for 2-3 months, a player like Vermette was almost necessary to replace the scoring power lost with Kane’s injury.

The Blackhawks will end the weekend as a better hockey team, but with two rental players on the roster. The Blackhawks’ future will suffer, with less draft picks, and now, one less top-level prospect defenseman; something the Blackhawks had an abundance of at the start of the season.

Ultimately, the Blackhawks won’t know if these trades pay off until both Timonen and Vermette suit up with the Indian Head on their chest, which will happen on Monday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Once Timonen shakes off his rust, and Vermette finds chemistry among the Blackhawks’ forwards, things could roll along very smoothly for the rest of the season. If neither of those happen, the Blackhawks will be in tough come playoff-time, and a lot of future considerations will suffer because of it.

What do you think? Do you like both, one, or none of the Blackhawks’ big moves this weekend?

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