Connor Murphy right now checks all of the boxes for what a team wants in a defenseman. He is arguably the Blackhawks’ best defenseman, and he might also have the most trade value out of anyone on the blue line.
The Blackhawks are in a tough spot. While watching the team compete in the playoffs this past August was fun, I do not think that it was an indication of success to come next season. Chicago needs to continue to build assets for their future, and trading away Connor Murphy might help them continue to do that.
Olli Maatta might be great offensively, but his defensive play is not great. Calvin de Haan can be a great player in the ‘Hawks own end, but he is having a hard time staying healthy. Finding teams willing to add either of those two guys might be difficult, but there is one member of the Blackhawks blue line that might garner some interest from other teams.
Chicago is not going to trade away a player like Adam Boqvist or Ian Mitchell. Those guys are going to be the future of the Blackhawks blue line. However, they also will have a hard time finding a trade partner for a guy like Brent Seabrook or Duncan Keith, barring those guys even agreeing to a trade.
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The Blackhawks are going to want to change the look of their blue line next season by giving guys like Ian Mitchell and Adam Boqvist more playing time. Throw in a player like Nicolas Beaudin as well, and this blueline is all of a sudden pretty crowded.
I have talked in the past about how buying out Olli Maatta would be a waste, and I still believe that. So, maybe testing the market on a guy like Connor Murphy would make sense for the Blackhawks.
Murphy carries a 3.85 cap hit for the next two seasons, and moving him would give the Blackhawks almost four million in cap space to work with. Every dollar of cap space will matter to the Blackhawks as they try and get all of their key free agents under contract.
While having Murphy leave the Blackhawks will hurt the team next season, it will allow them to add another asset for this team further down the line. Plus, it will open up a roster spot on the blue line for the younger players. But as we all know, Stan Bowman is general manager of the Blackhawks, and there is no way he will give up winning now even if a move will help the team further down the line, so expect to see Murphy back next season.