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Chicago Blackhawks Rumors: Montreal’s Galchenyuk Could Be On Move

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Apr 7, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk (27) gives way a t-shirt after the game against Tampa Bay Lightning at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk (27) gives way a t-shirt after the game against Tampa Bay Lightning at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks have an uncertain future when it comes to their core players, so it looks like they may seek to add a talented, young forward to the mix

It’s been well documented at this point that the Chicago Blackhawks are very likely going to need to move more than one core player this offseason. Marcus Kruger is essentially as good as gone, but one other big contract is very likely out the door as well due to salary cap constraints.

Among those possible are Brent Seabrook (although the Blackhawks claim he isn’t going anywhere), Niklas Hjalmarsson, Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov. There have even been rumblings Patrick Kane has been brought up in trade proposals (though he isn’t going anywhere either).

An interesting wrinkle has been added to this in the last 24 hours, however. Montreal is apparently looking to move young forward Alex Galchenyuk, and the Blackhawks are among they teams the Habs have spoken with.

A report yesterday from Hockey Buzz’s John Jaeckel indicated the Canadiens were interested in acquiring Hjalmarsson for Galchenyuk.

However, the Canadiens may also be interested in another Chicago piece, possibly because the Blackhawks aren’t sold on a Hjalmarsson-Galchenyuk swap.

What would this mean for Blackhawks?

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This is a very interesting trade rumor for the Blackhawks. Galchenyuk is a restricted free agent this offseason, coming off a two-year deal in which he created a cap hit of $2.8 million per season.

Galchenyuk struggled with injuries in 2016-17, but he still managed 44 points in just 61 regular-season games to go with three points in six postseason tilts. Galchenyuk’s career high in points is 56, set in the 2015-16 season while playing all 82 games. So it’s fair to assume he may have set a new career best this past season had he been healthy the whole way.

Of course, should the Blackhawks acquire Galchenyuk, this would essentially mean they’d be trading a big contract for a comparable one.

The cap hits on their trade bait are $4.1 million (Hjalmarsson), $6.875 million (Seabrook), $6 million (Panarin) and $4.55 million (Anisimov). Galchenyuk would likely command upwards of $4 million per season on his next deal, so while the Blackhawks might get some savings, it may not be enough considering their cap-strapped situation.

Of course, there is an impending announcement (possibly as soon as today) about where the salary cap will sit in 2017-18. Worst-case scenario appears to be $75 million, a rise of $2 million from this last season. Best-case scenario indicates $77.5 million, which would make a Galchenyuk trade and subsequent signing more palatable, money-wise.

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So this is an interesting time for the Blackhawks. The league is set to enter a trade and waiver freeze (minus the Vegas Golden Knights) at 2 p.m. Saturday. So if the Blackhawks and Canadiens come together on a deal for Galchenyuk, there’s a good chance we won’t hear about it until after the expansion draft next week.

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