No one really understands what’s going on with the Chicago Blackhawks right now, and there isn’t any indication that things will become clearer soon.
Whatever Stan Bowman has planned, it’s one big secret. However, if this isn’t actually a rebuild, and recent actions say it isn’t, how about the Chicago Blackhawks do something crazy and bring Patrik Laine to Chicago?
It seems improbable to think that Chicago Blackhawks would be able to make that kind of a deal, but the assets are there. More importantly, even as recently as yesterday, TSN reported that both Winnipeg and Laine seem to want this kind of split to happen.
By relying on completely untested goaltending, Chicago has taken a very risky path forward. Making this decision makes it easier to reconstruct the lineup. Even with the tandem of Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford last year, Chicago was in what, 24th place in the league? Clearly, good goal-tending didn’t really do much to make the team as competitive as the organization would have liked.
Truthfully, except for the goalies, no one really got the job done. Lehner and Crawford did what they could, but it wasn’t enough. The team was bad, and barring a few exceptions just about everyone could be on the block for a deal. This is what makes pursuing someone like Laine worthwhile for Chicago.
The 22-year-old former #2 overall draft pick apparently doesn’t want to be in Winnipeg. Who knows what happened. If Bowman can make a deal work, due diligence would mean he’d at least have kicked the tires on getting something done.
Who would Chicago have to include in that deal to acquire the big winger? Well, with Strome not yet having signed, why not him? Dach’s arrival and recent signings have made Strome more expendable. Perhaps a sign and trade deal would be in order, but Strome wouldn’t be enough on his own.
The cost would be richer and you’d have to imagine someone like de Haan or Murphy would need to be a part of the deal. Picks or prospects would likely get Winnipeg’s attention, but with Chicago appearing poised to embrace a bad season or two, trading away the team’s future doesn’t seem to be the best option. It all depends on Winnipeg’s ask for their star forward, but Chicago should avoid moving players they’ll need in a few years.
Realistically, the chances of a deal like this happening are probably pretty low. If Laine goes anywhere, the team would need to accommodate his cap hit. A team like Ottawa has a ton of cap space and a lot of players that they could deal to bring Laine to the Canadian capital.
He’ll be an RFA in 2021-2022 and will have arbitration rights. You’d have to assume he’s going to ask for a lot of money in his next deal. That being said, Bowman could still bring the Finnish forward to the Windy City. By moving Strome and one of Murphy or de Haan, Chicago would clear out the clutter a bit, making room for younger players while also clearing salary. It’s certainly within the realm of possibility that a deal like this could happen.
If Bowman can pull this off, then it would quite a bold stroke for Chicago. It would also mean the team isn’t committing to fully rebuilding. The possibilities for having Laine in the mix with Chicago’s forwards like Kane, Toews, Kubalik, and DeBrincat could be quite a thing, but only if it happens. One can dream…