Let the season run its course
The last option at the deadline, and in my opinion the way the Blackhawks should go, is to become sellers at the deadline.
While missing the playoffs is not what most fans want to hear, it may put the ‘Hawks in the best possible position. First off, by missing the playoffs, it would put them in a better position to get a higher draft pick. Nothing is guaranteed, but it’d offer a higher chance at a better young player than if they make the playoffs.
Then would come the question of what kind of return could they get for some of the players that may not return. With quite a bit of young talent, and the plan of young prospect Dylan Sikura joining the team after his NCAA season is over, there are plenty of players the ‘Hawks could try and get a return for.
More likely to be sold
Da Windy City
Kempny, while not fitting in to the Blackhawks’ system, is still a young player who could bring value in a trade. A team that is looking for a young offensive defenseman and has time to develop him could be smart to grab him. He could bring a young prospect or a late-round draft pick, or be part of a bigger deal depending on what Bowman can get done.
Lance Bouma is becoming expendable with the players and prospects the Hawks have. The role he plays could easily be filled. He could already be replaced if they ‘Hawks recalled John Hayden back to the NHL. To a playoff team in need of an energy player who can bring the body and kill penalties, he could return a prospect or late-round draft pick.
The Patrick Sharp experiment has failed. While he has done better as of late, it is unlikely he returns next season. For a young team looking for veteran playoff experience, he could gain a late-round pick. Though his speed has declined and he is a shadow of his former sel,f he still does have value. His spot could be filled by the young Sikura.
With defense always needed in the NHL, Franson could bring a small return as well. Only under contract until the end of the season, he wouldn’t bring much, but a team needing a reliable defenseman could be willing to pay for his services.
Less likely to be sold
There are some players who may be very unlikely move targets, but could have extremely high returns. While moving Jonathan Toews is extremely unlikely and extremely deterring to the fan base, the return could be incredible.
The only reason this would even be talked about is salary. Toews is not producing anywhere near the way you would expect from a $10.5 million-a-year player. The intangibles such as his defense, his faceoff skill,and his leadership are what makes him valuable.
The return you could get for him on top of freeing up $10.5 in cap space would easily be a roster player, prospect and draft picks. Depending on if and where they traded Toews, it would affect the return. Extremely unlikely this happens, but if the Blackhawks miss the playoffs, it could be a possibility.
The ability to get rid of Seabrook seems extremely unlikely, but it’s a hope to say the least. If there was a way to unload him, I think anyone would take the deal. The only teams this may be an option for are young teams looking for a veteran defenseman with Stanley Cup experience. Unless the ‘Hawks package him with a pick, prospect or another roster player, this is far-fetched.
The trade deadline is fast approaching, and the ‘Hawks have options. But what they do this deadline may pave the way for the future.
If Bowman thinks this team has playoff and Stanley Cup aspirations, he may try to make something happen. If he is OK with taking the loss and gearing up from the future, then he will let the season run its course, develop the young kids and go for it again next year or the year after.