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Chicago Blackhawks’ Core Players And Their Trade Possibilities

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Mar 31, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) in the first period of their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 31, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) in the first period of their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 17, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane (88) celebrates after a goal during the second period against the Nashville Predators in game three of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Patrick Kane

Let’s start big. Zawaski was informed by at least one source Toews would not be on the way out, but nothing was said about Kane. However, I think there’s a good reason for that: It wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Blackhawks to move Kane.

Zawaski said was told this non-Kruger move would make the Blackhawks weaker in the short term. But trading Kane would make the Blackhawks weaker long term as well. Kane is the only consistent scoring threat the Blackhawks have had the last two seasons (yes, even Artemi Panarin has gone on his cold streaks).

The Blackhawks would all but be saying they don’t see themselves winning anytime soon by moving Kane. And I don’t think general manager Stan Bowman feels that way about his team. So Kane isn’t going anywhere.

Chicago Blackhawks

Artemi Panarin

Speaking of the young Russian, it’s sensible to include him as part of the core after his two-year contract extension signed during this season. Some feel Bowman is already regretting making this deal, especially after the Bread Man went invisible during the postseason for a second consecutive year.

I just don’t see the Blackhawks giving up on Panarin so quickly. He and Kane form a potent tandem, and while opposing teams found ways to bottle it up last season, there’s still plenty of room for success and creativity.

The Blackhawks have a true scorer and playmaker who may not even be in his prime yet. It’d be silly to move Panarin despite his playoff struggles. So I don’t see that happening, either.

Corey Crawford

To complete the trio of guys who aren’t going anywhere is the Blackhawks’ starting goaltender. After Scott Darling was moved to Carolina earlier in the offseason, the Blackhawks guaranteed Crow would stay in the net for 2017-18.

To explain how insane it would be for the Blackhawks to move Crow right now … it’d be like if the Chicago Cubs moved a promising young pitcher like Kyle Hendricks, then decided to dump Jon Lester as well because he makes a lot of money.

The Blackhawks have no viable options to replace Crow in a feasible manner, so there’s even less chance he’s moving than Kane or Panarin.

Duncan Keith

I about put Keith in the no-chance group, but I guess there’s an ever-so-slight possibility he gets moved. I just don’t see it.

Keith has a full no-movement clause (this will become a familiar refrain) in his contract, but he’s coming it at a cap hit of more than $5.5 million through 2022-23. The 33-year-old has slowed down noticeably the last season or two, so the Blackhawks might be interested in taking offers for him.

While there are plenty of teams that would love to build their defense around a veteran like Keith, I just can’t see the Blackhawks moving him unless the offer was pristine. I think the Blackhawks still see Keith as their No. 1 defenseman because he can both produce from the back end and play stout defense.

If Keith is out the door someday, it won’t be until he’s closer to retirement. I just don’t see it happening in the 2017 offseason.

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