The NHL Trade deadline is rapidly approaching, and the Chicago Blackhawks, like previous seasons, will be sellers, aiming to acquire draft picks and prospects in exchange for pending UFAs the team will not re-sign. Here are three of the most intriguing pending UFAs on the Blackhawks roster as well as potential trade partners:
Acquired in a cap dump from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2021 off-season, the 33-year-old Johnson has been a decent middle-six contributor for the Hawks since his arrival. Johnson is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, has a nose for the net, and can play any forward position. His playoff experience and positional versatility could draw some interest from playoff hopefuls, however, not at his current $5 million cap hit. With the Hawks retaining half his salary, it is possible a team such as the Colorado Avalanche could make a move for him to bolster their bottom-six. The Avs could offer the Blackhawks a mid-round draft pick for Johnson’s services. It must be noted that Johnson is currently on Injured Reserve and his recovery will impact his chances of being traded.
Beauvillier was acquired by the Hawks earlier this season for a conditional fifth-round pick after struggling early with Vancouver. He has had mediocre production (6 points in 15 games) in more ice time since joining Chicago, and the Hawks have played him all over their lineup in an effort to jumpstart his offense. If he can regain his form and put up points closer to the half-a-point-per-game clip he has maintained for most of his career, he could have some suitors. The Carolina Hurricanes are a potential fit as they should have the cap space to acquire him and have a history of taking on struggling offensive players such as Max Domi and Jesse Puljujärvi at the deadline. Beauvilier’s current status on the IR complicates a possible trade at the moment, but the Hurricanes could offer a low-to-mid tier prospect for him. It is also plausible that the Hawks re-sign Beavillier after the season, especially if he finds some more offense, as his speed fits coach Luke Richardson’s system and, at 26, he can compliment the Hawks younger, rebuilding roster.
Mrázek, who was dealt from Toronto to the Hawks at the 2021 Draft, has performed commendably this season behind a porous Chicago defense, posting a 3.04 GAA and a .906 SV%. He likely does not fit into their long-term plans due to his age, 31, but the Hawks may be interested in keeping him around while Arvid Söderblom, Drew Commesso, and Adam Gajan continue to develop. Cam Talbot has been stellar between the pipes this season for the Los Angeles Kings, however, they may look for a more proven backup than David Rittich or Pheonix Copley at the deadline. Mrázek would likely fetch a mid-round pick from LA.