Editorials

Ex-Chicago Blackhawks’ Chances Of Returning In 2018

By Matt Morrow
RALEIGH, NC - DECEMBER 23: Elias Lindholm
RALEIGH, NC - DECEMBER 23: Elias Lindholm /
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I’d like to start this off by saying happy 2018 to all Chicago Blackhawks fans and our readers. At Blackhawk Up, we appreciate every page view, comment, favorite and retweet more than you can imagine. Here’s to a phenomenal 2018, and go Blackhawks!

Honestly, the song “Homecoming” by Kanye West might be Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman’s favorite song. “I’m coming home, I’m coming home, tell the world I’m coming home.”

Each year, it seems like the Chicago Blackhawks brass decides to bring back a former Blackhawk to the current group, hoping his second stint will be just as good or better than their first. In the 2015-16 season, it was Andrew Ladd. In the offseason prior to the 2016-17 season, it was Brian Campbell. During the 2016-17 season, it was Johnny Oduya. In the offseason prior to this season, it was Patrick Sharp.

With the new year upon us, and the “homecoming” trend evident, it’s interesting to look at former Blackhawks who are currently playing in the league, and speculate as to if they ever could, or should, wear the Indian head again.

Forwards

Joakim Nordstrom

Cap hit: $1,275,000 through this season (age 25)

While he was a solid fourth-line player during his time in Chicago, and he would sign for a reasonable price, the Blackhawks have plenty of players who can provide what he would provide. A return is not likely.

Antoine Vermette

Cap hit: $1,750,000 through this season (age 35)

Vermette scored some very timely goals during his time here, and was well liked in the room. But his hit to the backside of Artem Anisimov in 2016 likely wouldn’t be received very well in the locker room presently. Also, he’s getting up there in age. The only thing Bowman might see in him would be his success in the dot. A return is not likely.

Artemi Panarin

Cap hit: $6,000,000 through 2018-19 (age 26)

No. Nope. No way. He was traded because he is due for a huge raise when this current bridge deal expires. Dream on, Blackhawks fans, and head over to YouTube to salivate over some of the legendary Patrick Kane-Panarin chemistry that we were lucky enough to witness.

Troy Brouwer

Cap hit: $4,500,000 through 2019-20 (age 32)

He has had a dropoff in production the past few years, and only has nine points this season. At his current cap hit, for the value he would provide, a return will not happen. The only chance would be after his current contract expires, if he took a Sharp-like deal, but I don’t see that happening.

Michael Frolik

Cap hit: $4,300,000 through 2019-20 (age 29)

While I’ll never forget his penalty shot goal in the playoffs against Detroit, a return is unlikely here. He would not be worth to the Blackhawks what he would cost against the cap. He’s not what they need right now.

Teuvo Teravainen

Cap hit: $2,860,000 through 2018-19 (age 23)

YES! PLEASE! YES! Make this trade TODAY! Wouldn’t he look great anywhere in the top nine? Very affordable, well liked in the room and by the fans, and controlled for another year. He is blossoming in Carolina, and his speed along with playmaking skills would be great assets.

Marcus Kruger

Cap hit: $3,083,000 through 2018-19 (age 27)

Its no secret that he is a favorite of Q, and what he brings to the table goes well beyond the scoresheet. He was traded because of his affordability, and that same thing is what would prevent a return. After his contract expires, let’s hope Bowman can convince him to come back for less than what he currently makes. He is a perfect 4C.

Phillip Danault

Cap hit: $912,500 through this season (age 24)

Wasn’t he suppose to be the 3C of the future? I swear he has been the Habs’ 1C and 2C at some point this year, and he would be a great 3C on this Blackhawks team right now. He’d be due for a little bit of a raise at the end of the year, but he’s definitely affordable.

This is a realistic option. As a side note: I’ve been to both of Andrew Shaw’s return games to the United Center, and Danault has been completely overlooked by the fan base both times. You’ve got to feel for the guy.

Andrew Shaw

Cap hit: $3,900,000 through 2021-22 (age 26)

I definitely could see him taking a hometown discount to come back once his current deal expires. Chicago loves him, and he loves Chicago (along with shinpads … man, I miss 2013). The question would be whether or not the front office wants him. He provided things that most players couldn’t, and maybe by then he’ll get his emotions under control.

Marko Dano

Cap hit: $850,000 through this season (age 23)

He was supposed to be the next big thing. The “overlooked piece” to the Saad/Anisimov trade. Look at what he’s done since. Will he return? Yeah … NO!

Andrew Ladd

Cap hit: $5,500,000 through 2022-23 (age 32)

At that salary, with that term, given his age and production, no way. Zero chance. Not even if the Islanders retained salary. Especially since he wasn’t too impressive in his return stint here. But flying back and forth from Chicago to St. Louis because his wife was having a baby when he had a playoff game, that was pretty impressive.

Defensemen

Nick Leddy

Cap hit: $5,500,000 through 2022-23 (age 26)

The one that got away… He’s been deemed “elite” by his coach this season. But at that cap hit, zero chance. Not until it expires at least, which isn’t for a while. Maybe he does a Campbell-type thing? I wouldn’t be against it.

Dustin Byfuglien

Cap hit: $7,600,000 through 2021-22 (age 32)

Isn’t this a dream? His success in the playoffs was something I still reminisce over. Anisimov, Ryan Hartman and Richard Panik are nothing compared to him as far as going to tough areas and working the front of the net goes. At almost $8,000,000 in cap hit, there’s no way he returns until his contract expires. But like Leddy, maybe he returns on a Campbell-type deal? Come back, Buff!

Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Cap hit: $825,000 through this season (age 26)

I actually could see this happening. For as much as the fan base loved to criticize TVR while he was here, he would look great on the third pairing right now. He is extremely affordable, young and he was loved by the Blackhawks personnel.

Niklas Hjalmarsson

Cap hit: $4,100,00 through 2018-20 (age 30)

This trade was a shock, but was completely due to the fact that he’s up for a big raise once his contract expires. While everyone in Blackhawks land would love to have him back, this makes it next to impossible for the foreseeable future.

Johnny Oduya

Cap hit: $1,000,00 through this season (age 36)

I mean, he was on a pairing with Erik Karlsson at one point this year, so maybe … I’m kidding. He’s old, and he showed close to nothing during his second stint here. He will not be back for a third.

Goaltenders

Scott Darling

Cap hit: $4,150,000 through 2020-21 (age 29)

#LemontNativeScottDarling will not be back anytime soon. I really liked him as a person and a player, and he deserved the raise he got. While he is forever cemented in Blackhawks lore, his cap hit and poor performance this season make a return unlikely.

Antti Raanta

Cap hit: $1,000,000 through this season (age 28)

I’ve actually seen some Blackhawks fans call for his return since Darling was traded and the backup situation has been a little shaky. I wouldn’t be against it. It wouldn’t cost much of anything to get him here, and at the least it would create a healthy competition for the backup role.

Next: Blackhawks’ January Schedule Will Provide Ultimate Test

That’s all I’ve got, ‘Hawks fans. What are your thoughts? Who do you want to see Bowman bring back next, if anyone? Friendly reminder that the trade deadline for this season is Feb. 26, 2018.

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