Chicago Blackhawks: 3 Potential Trade Deadline Deals
By Nikos Michals
Last February, Stan Bowman had to be “wowed” to make a move at the trade deadline, according to Scott Powers of The Athletic. What about this season?
Wonder what he is thinking now after the Chicago Blackhawks starting the season 1-2-1. It hasn’t been pretty. After Friday’s lackluster 3-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets, Head Coach Jeremy Colliton had some words that really summed up the Hawks’ season so far and I agree with this statement.
"“We haven’t quite decided we’re willing to do the right thing all the time, every shift for 60 minutes,” coach Jeremy Colliton said bluntly."
After a stellar opening period to start the Jets game, it looked like the team went on autopilot which allowed the Jets to sneak back in and win the game in overtime. Winnipeg may have not started right, but they finished, which is what Chicago has been struggling to do for a while now. Before I get into the way too early “LET’S TRADE EVERYONE” piece, just know that these are guesses, not facts. Let’s get into it!
Erik Gustafsson to the Jets
Gustafsson saw his ice time almost drop 10 minutes, as he went from averaging 24 minutes through the first two games of the season to 16 in Friday’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets. With Gustafsson being moved off the top pairing with Keith and his play dipping early, one has to wonder just where he sits with Head Coach Jeremy Colliton going forward.
"“No one’s perfect. We’re not going to be perfect. We’re going to make mistakes, but the mistakes we make should be when we still have the intention to do the right thing. I don’t think he did that all the time tonight.”"
Some strong words from the coach on the team’s defense and the play of Gustafsson in that loss. With words like that and the obvious benching of “Gus” during that game, it blatantly shows the leash is already short here, so he may find his way out of town sooner than later. My guess? The Winnipeg Jets.
Winnipeg is still reeling from the losses of Tyler Myers (VAN), Ben Chiarot (MTL), and Dustin Byfuglien (likely retired). Although the loss of Chiarot is minimal, he was still a veteran blueliner who was very familiar with the system that Jets’ Head Coach, Paul Maurice, runs.
Also, Dmitri Kulikov, who was on personal leave, returned to the lineup, but I wouldn’t necessarily call that an upgrade. As of now, per Daily Faceoff, the Jets’ defense looks like this:
Josh Morrissey (50.5 CCF%) – Tucker Poolman (53.4 CCF%)
Carl Dahlstrom (50.9 CCF%) – Neal Pionk (43.4 CCF%)
Anthony Bitetto (46.6 CCF%) – Dimitri Kulikov (48.6 CCF%)
If you’re wondering who half of these guys are, you wouldn’t be alone. Adding Erik Gustafsson to this lineup would automatically make him a top-pairing defender.
Although he has one year left on his contract, the Jets are in “win now” mode with all of their top players in their primes. Trading for a guy like “Gus” might cause them to trade a top prospect for success sooner rather than later.
The only catch is that they only have 3 picks in the upcoming 2020 NHL draft and have traded away their 1st round pick in each of the last 2 seasons, so they may be hesitant to move a pick. In that case, the Blackhawks may look to get a prospect and roster player instead with the possibility of bringing up Adam Boqvist. That prospect would be defenseman, Declan Chisholm, who plays for the Peterborough Petes in the OHL.
Chisholm was drafted by the Jets 150th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. The 19-year-old plays a solid two-way game on the backend; he has strong skating abilities and is capable of playing in all situations on the ice. He has spent the past two seasons in the OHL with the Peterborough Petes, tallying 80 points in 122 games played.
- Declan Chisholm (ELC)
- Tucker Poolman (2 YL @$775K)
- 2nd Round pick (2021)
- Erik Gustafsson (1 YL @$1.2 Million)
If all else fails, the Jets can sign John Scott.
This is not going to happen. The only way this happens is if Corey Crawford waives his no-movement clause and submits his ten team list. I highly doubt this happens but, with his shaky start to the 2019-20 season, he might be on his way out. Although, “Crow” doesn’t seem so worried about his start.
"“I can’t dwell on anything,” Crawford said on Friday at Practice, “The more you dwell on stuff, the more you let it carry over. Carryover into practice, carry over into morning skate. You know what I mean? It kind of builds up and then your confidence just isn’t where it should be.”"
It’s hard to doubt that Crawford can bounce back by looking at his resume, but he is an older goaltender with a concussion history. This does bring his value down.
IF they were to trade him, the ‘Hawks aren’t in playoff contention by the trade deadline or are offered the right deal by a contender, in which case it would be hard to say no to moving him. For this trade, the ‘Hawks would have to retain half of his salary, but wouldn’t need to get a goalie in return since they have Collin Delia signed for 2 more years after this season.
I also think Robin Lehner is going to get re-signed long term with the Chicago Blackhawks after this season, considering his age and how good he was last year. There’s no reason for him to not do it this season.
Again, the only way Crawford gets moved is if this team has an Ottawa Senators’ locker room type implosion and everything goes wrong for the Blackhawks. With that being said, here is my best guess on where he would go, the Philadelphia Flyers.
I am saying the Flyers only because I don’t trust Brian Elliott to make it through the rest of the season after his poor performance in 2018-19. The Flyers could end up waiving or trading him, leading to an opening for Crawford to be traded there, to be the backup and an insurance option if young goaltender Carter Hart struggles.
- 2nd (2021)
- 3rd (2020)
- Crawford – Half Salary Retained (1 YL @ $3 Million)
Last, but not least is Brendan Perlini. When Perlini was acquired in the Nick Schmaltz trade last season, with Dylan Strome, he quickly became an afterthought as Strome excelled in his new role as the 2nd line center with the Chicago Blackhawks. Since that time, Perlini has been healthy scratched and almost didn’t start the season with the ‘Hawks due to a contract dispute.
They eventually settled on a one year contract that brings him back to RFA status at the end of this season. After only playing in one game so far this season, Perlini has seemingly been replaced by Alexander Nylander for the last LW position on the team.
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Not sure if it is just Coach Colliton not giving Perlini a shot or Perlini wasting his opportunities. Might be a mixture of both, but so far this season, Brendan Perlini hasn’t impressed enough and has been sitting. Since joining the Blackhawks midway through last season, he has averaged 10:30 of TOI in 47 games played.
While he did score 12 goals during that span, Perlini just isn’t getting the ice time and the players to help him grow into the scoring winger. It was this potential that saw him get drafted 12th overall in 2014 by the Coyotes.
That leads me to the assumption he could find himself on his 3rd team soon. The one team that I feel that could use the former 1st round pick is the Edmonton Oilers. While the Oilers have started the season out on a tear, they could always use more help on the wings and Perlini could provide that.
The thing the Chicago Blackhawks could use is a solid bottom-six forward that can help their dreaded penalty kill, which has been a weak point for the last couple of years. That forward would be Riley Sheahan.
Sheahan is a stud on the draw, and being good in the dot on the penalty kill is a luxury, not every team possesses. Having Sheahan would definitely help there.
In the last three seasons, Sheahan ranks 27th overall in PK faceoffs won, with 192 (with the leader Ryan O’Reilly at 388 and Toews at 159, 42nd placed). Sheahan ranks 25th overall in the NHL for PK faceoff percentage, with a 48.9 winning percentage.
If you don’t get what I am saying by all of this, it means having Sheahan on the Blackhawks would help. A lot. The Blackhawks won’t be getting a stud back in return for Perlini, but they do get a piece that could prove valuable if the PK continues to sag.
- Riley Sheahan
- 3rd Round Pick (Islanders 2020)
- Brendan Perlini
I know they have only played 3 games, the defense is almost all completely new pairings, and whatever other excuses you want to fill in here. This Blackhawks team could still go on a run and make the playoffs. I don’t think they will win a Cup, but could surprise a team with a tough first-round matchup.
These potential trades are just here because all 3 of these players are playing on expiring contracts. With these trades, the Chicago Blackhawks could end up looking something like this by season’s end:
*We will see where Nylander ends up. The odds of him being sent to Rockford seem high and Kirby Dach could see his way into this lineup soon.