News broke of a deal between the Blackhawks and the Panthers Thursday afternoon. On its surface, this wasn’t really an earth-shattering deal between the two clubs. However, it’s at least a win for Chicago.
In an odd twist, the Chicago Blackhawks set up a trade with the Panthers, but it had nothing to do with Dale Tallon. Stan Bowman and Bill Zito swung a deal that saw 5 players and a draft pick exchanged between the two teams. Is this a good move for Chicago? Yes.
The Blackhawks used cap space to take on a bad contract, and secure assets in return. On paper, that’s exactly what this deal looks like. Chicago gave up Lucas Carlsson and Lucas Wallmark, and in return landed Brett Connolly, Riley Stillman, Henrik Borgstrom, and a 7th round pick. Connolly is the bad contract Chicago received.
As was noted by Mark Lazerus and others, Connolly is due 3.5 million this year and beyond, and could be yet another player to expose at the upcoming expansion draft. Chicago can absorb that kind of a cap hit while taking on two younger players, Stillman and Borgstrom. That 7th round pick probably won’t amount to much, but it’s still one more pick in the draft. It could always be bundled into something else should Bowman want to make another deal.
It’s not clear at this point whether any of these players will amount to much for the Blackhawks. Borgstrom was a first-round pick, so maybe? Stillman is only 23, and that’s kind of a wash for Carlsson who will now suit up for Florida.
Essentially, the Blackhawks gave up very little in exchange for assets. Carlsson is an NHL-ready 3rd pairing defenseman. He could suit up and play tonight.
Unfortunately for him, he wound up too far down the depth chart this year, and there just wasn’t a consistent spot in the line-up for him. It’s good that he’ll get a shot somewhere else. Dealing Wallmark for anything is like finding a fiver on the sidewalk.
He signed in the off-season as an unrestricted free agent on a very affordable deal. It didn’t work out in Chicago, but he’s back in Florida where he’s played previously. Any time a GM can trade a cheap free agent signing and get more than “future considerations” is a win in my opinion.
This might not even be the last move Chicago makes before the deadline, but it was a good deal to make. The players joining the Blackhawks won’t negatively impact the team, nor will Chicago feel the loss of the players they gave up. By both sides, this was a decent trade.