When the Chicago Blackhawks’ asking price for Ryan Hartman was revealed Monday morning, it was assumed he wasn’t going anywhere. Lo and behold, he’s now gone before noon — and to the Nashville Predators.
The Chicago Blackhawks have made their first serious trade since acquiring Anthony Duclair for Richard Panik. On Monday morning, the Blackhawks moved Ryan Hartman to the Nashville Predators, along with a draft pick, in exchange for two draft picks and a prospect.
The big part of this haul is a first-round pick. This was something rumored to be a necessity for the Blackhawks to part with Hartman. The thought among speculators was no team would actually give up a first-round draft choice on a player of Hartman’s unproven caliber.
But the Predators apparently feel they can get that much better with Hartman in the fold. What the Blackhawks officially acquired was a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick, both in 2018, along with hulking forward Victor Ejdsell.
What does it mean?
Well, the Blackhawks are actually moving toward a sort of rebuild here. They now have eight draft picks in the 2018 event, and with the losses piling up, they’re angling toward the first overall pick via lottery.
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Chicago presently has two first-round picks, two third-round selections and one choice in each of the last four rounds. This can be very valuable for a rebuild, if general manager Stan Bowman uses his picks wisely.
Ejdsell checks in at 6-foot-4 and is a 22-year-old Swede. The Blackhawks had him on their radar before, so Bowman is familiar with this kid. He’s tallied 30 points in 44 games in the Swedish Hockey League this season.
It’ll be interesting to see if he can make the jump to the AHL next season. I’m also curious how he fits in the Blackhawks’ plans to get faster. This obviously makes them younger, but is Ejdsell a quick big man?
Regardless, they have cut loose a forward in Hartman who had limited foot speed. While he endeared himself to many Blackhawks fans with his bruising style, the Blackhawks are obviously trying to move away from that. And considering Hartman has struggled to produce offensively even while playing with guys like Patrick Kane, he became expendable.
I think the Blackhawks won this trade, especially getting a first-round choice in it. The youth and speed movements are serious ones for Bowman and the Blackhawks, as shown here. Hartman was getting shoved down and even out of the lineup, and doesn’t fall in line with what the Blackhawks are looking to do in the near future.
Additionally, forward Lance Bouma cleared waivers and is now with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs.