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Chicago Blackhawks’ Artemi Panarin: 3 Reasons To Trade Him

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Mar 3, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) looks on during the first period against the New York Islanders at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 3, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) looks on during the first period against the New York Islanders at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 3, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) looks on during the first period against the New York Islanders at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

While it may sound crazy at first glance, the Chicago Blackhawks should contemplate trading star forward Artemi Panarin

If you’re like me and the rest of Blackhawks Nation, you were thrilled this past season when it was announced that our beloved Chicago Blackhawks were able to ink Artemi Panarin to a multi-year deal.

Thus, I know just how sacrilegious a notion it is to consider parting with the Bread Man, but the Blackhawks’ humiliating exit at the hands of the Nashville Predators during the first round of this year’s playoffs is glaring evidence the ‘Hawks are in desperate need of services that, unfortunately, Panarin just can’t provide.

After their current defensive lineup of predominantly aged veterans was absolutely blown away by the Preds’ younger, speedier forwards, it’s very clear the ‘Hawks need an immediate youth injection on the blue line. Herein lies a big problem, however.

Whereas the ‘Hawks have had a steady crop of young talented forwards to call up from their farm team in Rockford, the same cannot be said when it comes to defensive prospects. Now, by their very nature, defensemen take a longer time to develop in the minors before they can cut it in the NHL, but this current predicament is also the fault of Blackhawks’ GM Stan Bowman.

Chicago Blackhawks

Over the years, Bowman has seemingly carelessly thrown in his top prospective defensive talents, like Adam Clendening and Stephen Johns, in transactions that yielded little return for the ‘Hawks. This has left the franchise leaning on less-than-spectacular defensive talents, i.e. Trevor van Riemsdyk, to revitalize the Blackhawks’ blue line.

Thus, with the Blackhawks’ current defensive prospects perhaps years out from being reliable, NHL-ready solutions, the ‘Hawks need to look at their only other option, which is grabbing younger, proven defensive talent via the free agency/trade market.

Now the problem with going this route is the price tag. Good defensemen don’t come cheap, which is why the Blackhawks, forever pressed up against the salary cap, will need to look closely at their current assets and their liquidity. And herein lies yet another problem.

The bulk of the core Blackhawks are locked up in expensive, multi-year contracts with no-movement clauses, making them all but immovable. Therefore, if the Blackhawks’ brass is serious about acquiring a proven defenseman, it will have to look elsewhere on their roster.

While there are no doubt several tradeable players on the Blackhawks’ roster who may fetch a fair price, Panarin is arguably their best bargaining chip.

Again I know how egregious it is to even consider parting ways with a talent like Panarin, especially after the team just locked him up for several years. However, while it is not ideal, here are three reasons why trading Panarin is the best way for the Blackhawks solve their defensive problem.

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