Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks’ 2 Trades Far Worse Than Saad-Panarin Deal

By Colin Likas
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 02: Phillip Danault #24 of the Montreal Canadiens prepares for a face off during the second period against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on March 2, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 02: Phillip Danault #24 of the Montreal Canadiens prepares for a face off during the second period against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on March 2, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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August is always a good time for random NHL hot takes — since nothing of note is going on in the league — so let’s look at one involving a recent Chicago Blackhawks trade

The Chicago Blackhawks are roughly a year removed from reacquiring Brandon Saad by way of trading Artemi Panarin to the Columbus Blue Jackets. It’s a move that still frustrates fans, primarily because Saad had a rough 2017-18 and Panarin continue to be a solid point producer with the Jackets.

Of course, with little of note going on in the hockey world this month, such trades as this one can be brought up.

Fans can feel however they want about this. I’m not going to break down every NHL trade over the last two years to compare to a deal that has not even close to played itself out at this point.

That being said, I think it’s fair to bring up two more recent Blackhawks trades that just barely fall outside this window. (For the record, the “two year” timeline dates to the P.K. Subban for Shea Weber trade, which occurred June 29, 2016.)

One of these Blackhawks deals I’m going to discuss happened less than a month before the Subban-Weber trade, while another happened a few months prior. But both are in that very close two-year timeframe, and both are far, far worse than the Saad-Panarin deal.

Phillip Danault for two rentals

On Feb. 26, 2016, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman attempted to fortify his offense by acquiring Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann from Montreal in exchange for Phillip Danault and a second-round draft pick.

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This was a dodgy trade from the start, as Danault had been pictured as the future Marcus Kruger (whose own future with the organization was uncertain at best). Danault was a promising, low-cost youngster being shifted for what could very well be temporary assets.

That’s exactly what Weise and Fleischmann wound up being, and neither of them were good temporary assets. Coach Joel Quenneville never fully trusted either guy, and they combined for seven points across the end of the 2015-16 regular season and playoffs.

Danault, meanwhile, has proven a valuable asset for the Habs. He posted 40 points in 2016-17 and 25 last season while also flipping the ice to the tune of a 54.2 Corsi-for rating.

The Blackhawks were absolutely fleeced in this deal, and Bowman making it hurt both the short- and long-term stability of the organization.

Teuvo Teravainen as a sweetener

This deal happened on June 15, 2016, as the Blackhawks were trying to find a taker for Bryan Bickell‘s contract. Bickell’s play had deteriorated precipitously (it was unknown he’d soon be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis), and the Blackhawks had to get his $4 million per season contract off the books.

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Carolina agreed to take it if Teuvo Teravainen was thrown in. The skilled, shifty forward was on the fast track to being a regular top-six presence for the Blackhawks in the very near future, but the Blackhawks felt he was expendable in this case.

That couldn’t have proven more incorrect, as the team could badly use the 106 points he’s collected in two seasons with Carolina, including 64 in 2017-18. They could also use his speed and solid hands in the ever-changing NHL.

The Blackhawks got two draft picks out of this deal. One became Artur Kayumov, and the other went toward Evan Barratt. Not exactly the best turnaround for a guy who could be helping the Blackhawks in a big way right now.

Give Saad-Panarin another year

Chicago Blackhawks fans obviously aren’t going to be thrilled with how Saad played last year, and that’s fine. But I think the overtly negative reaction to the whole Saad-Panarin trade is based on a few things out of Saad’s control:

  • The Blackhawks were going to be pretty bad regardless of what Saad did
  • Panarin was a bona fide fan favorite in Chicago

5 Reasons Blackhawks Fans Should Be Excited, Part I. light. Read

That’s just the nature of the business sometimes. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think Saad can have a legitimate bounceback season in 2018-19. I’m not sure that really saves the Blackhawks from another missed postseason, but hopefully it eliminates some of this talk about the “worst trade in the last two years.”

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