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Chicago Blackhawks Open to Trading Top Defensive Prospects

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LONDON, ON - FEBRUARY 13: Adam Boqvist #3 of the London Knights skates out with the puck in the first period during OHL game action against the Guelph Storm at Budweiser Gardens on February 13, 2019 in London, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
LONDON, ON - FEBRUARY 13: Adam Boqvist #3 of the London Knights skates out with the puck in the first period during OHL game action against the Guelph Storm at Budweiser Gardens on February 13, 2019 in London, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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A rumor hit today saying the Chicago Blackhawks would be willing to move one of their top four defensive prospects if the right deal presented itself.

According to Jay Zawaski of 670 The Score, the Chicago Blackhawks are open to moving one of their four biggest defensive prospects. That’s Nicolas Beaudin, Adam Boqvist, Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell.

Obviously, there’s an overabundance of defensemen in the organization since Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are not open to being traded anywhere.

While Zawaski says that the ‘Hawks are not against trading these guys, he was careful to clarify that they aren’t actively trying to move them either. Take a look:

So, if the right deal came along the ‘Hawks would be willing to use these guys as a trade chip. Fortunately, it seems as if general manager Stan Bowman has learned from his past mistakes and is actually waiting for that deal.

Unfortunately, the “right deal” in question doesn’t have an obvious definition as the Chicago Blackhawks are in an intriguing situation.

They might be good enough to make the playoffs, but they’re still lightyears away from competing with teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning or Calgary Flames.

One top-four defensemen or top-six forward doesn’t change that reality, so  finding the “right deal” in question might be harder than you’d think.

After the Columbus Blue Jackets acquired Matt Duchene in a trade, it seems as if both Duchene and Artemi Panarin are both off the table as targets before the deadline as Columbus is going all in on a Stanley Cup push.

Chicago is opening to trading these defensive prospects, but who could be a match?

Potential Trade Targets

Like Zawaski said, the Blackhawks are willing to move one of these guys if they’re making a move that makes them better now and in the future. Essentially, think a Dylan Strome-type of deal. A pending UFA in a good situation is certainly possible, but it doesn’t seem like the most likely scenario.

The ‘Hawks really have two needs at this point, a top-4 defensive defensemen and a top-nine scorer. A skilled player like Mats Zuccarello would look good on the Blackhawks third line. He’s a UFA on a New York Rangers team trying to rebuild and, if the ‘Hawks felt they could lock him up again next season, he could be a good fit.

The current asking price is one the Blackhawks could match, too:

I haven’t seen any connections between Chicago and New York, so that may not be likely.

Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel have yet to be moved, either.

The pending defensive free agents aren’t all that great and as a result the thought is if the Blackhawks want to improve defensively, they’ll have to do so via trade. Making that move now to help a playoff run certainly makes sense.

Then again, if trading for a top-4 defensemen was easy, everyone would be doing it. Sellers seem to be in control this deadline, so the asking price might be high.

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Regardless, if the Blackhawks can trade one of these guys for another top-4 defensemen that will help them in both the present and in the future, I’d be happy. The trade deadline is inching nearer every second and while the Blackhawks will probably stay quiet, these guys being on the table is certainly something worth keeping an eye out for.

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