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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 13, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (38) defends against Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) during the third period in game one of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

Artem Anisimov

Alright, now we’re getting into things that are more than “no chance.” Anisimov is the second-line center the Blackhawks have searched for for some time (albeit one who doesn’t win many faceoffs). However, that doesn’t mean he’s safe from movement.

Anisimov has a no-movement clause in his contract, but that doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to stay. The Blackhawks have some young centers in the system like Nick Schmaltz, Matthew Highmore and Nathan Noel who they may be interested in grooming for the role moving forward.

I don’t think Anisimov is the favorite to be moved, if the Blackhawks are going to move just one other core player outside Kruger. But he’s due to cause a cap hit of $4.55 million each of the next four seasons, and the numbers he put up in 2016-17 could be the best we see from the 29-year-old.

There are plenty of teams that would be interested in taking a high-quality center like Anisimov despite his faceoff struggles and injury issues. But I think the Blackhawks may look to other avenues.

Chicago Blackhawks

Niklas Hjalmarsson

Hjammer’s name is getting thrown around a lot this weekend with regard to who could be moved by the Blackhawks. Of the big three defenseman, his cap hit of $4.1 million for the next two seasons is by far the smallest.

Hjammer is also the youngest of those three, recently turning 30 years old. But if the Blackhawks feel so inclined to keep Keith and Brent Seabrook, Hjammer would almost certainly be the odd man out (barring an Anisimov move).

Hjammer could get a nice return despite the fact he’s rarely if ever mentioned among the league’s top defensemen. The Swede transformed into Chicago’s de facto No. 1 blueliner this season while Keith was inconsistent and Seabrook was continuing to move slowly.

The Blackhawks could opt to sell high on Hjammer, as there’s no doubt other GMs have seen his rise. By the same token, Hjammer fits right into the “making the Blackhawks weaker in the short term” line Zawaski was given.

Hjammer plays a style of game that could see him be out of the league within the next five years — even fewer. While losing Hjammer now would be a huge hit for the Blackhawks, it might prevent them from overpaying him in the future with a contract he’s unlikely to complete.

Hjammer has a modified no-trade clause in his contract, meaning he has to submit a list of 10 teams he’d not want to be moved to. He reportedly hasn’t been asked for such a list yet. However, if the Blackhawks are shopping his name and hearing solid returns, don’t be stunned if he’s asked for such a list soon.

Brent Seabrook

This is the name attached to everything right now, especially considering things like that John Jaeckel tweet at the top of this post. Seabrook has the giant, burdening contract with not nearly enough game to back it up right now. Hence his name being bandied about quite liberally in these rumors.

Seabrook has a no-movement clause in his contract (shocker), but again, he could be asked to wave it. The 32-year-old is noticeably down from his prime years with the Blackhawks, as not even pairing him with Keith from time to time did much to improve his game.

With a $6.875 million cap hit through 2023-24, moving this contract that would give the Blackhawks some much-needed cap maneuverability through the foreseeable future. And while Seabrook has struggled of late, there’s no doubt moving him would hurt Chicago short term (just look at their defensive prospects for proof of that).

Add to this Seabrook having his name tied to Toronto and Vancouver already, and it seems like a slam dunk. And it could be. But until the move is finalized at the league offices, don’t call it a sure thing.

Seabrook has done a lot for the organization and city in his time with the Blackhawks, but all good things must come to an end. For my money, if a reasonable deal is worked out (don’t expect the Blackhawks to be getting NHL-ready players or anything like that), Seabrook being moved makes the most sense of any core player outside Kruger.

Next: NHL Will Have $73 Salary Cap In 2017-18

One final note: I didn’t bother to put Marian Hossa on this list. His cap-recapture penalty situation (highlighted very well here by Second City Hockey in 2016) makes it pretty much impossible to see him going anywhere. I would say his age is also a factor, but Jarome Iginla and Jaromir Jagr keep finding homes, so … yeah.

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