What Assets Do Contenders Have to Offer the Chicago Blackhawks to Take On Salaries to Facilitate Trades?

The salary cap space the Hawks have to offer to help contenders up against the cap will be the franchise's best way to acquire more draft assets or prospects.

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This year's trade deadline should not be as crazy as it was for the Chicago Blackhawks last season.

General manager Kyle Davidson made nine trades before last year's trade deadline. Among those trades was Davidson sending arguably the Blackhawks' greatest player in franchise history, Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers.

He also traded Max Domi, Jake McCabe, and Sam Lafferty for future assets. The final result was the Blackhawks barely won after the deadline. It allowed them to get good odds to win the NHL Draft Lottery which the organization did and went on to draft Connor Bedard as the No. 1 overall pick.

At this trade deadline, the Blackhawks do not have many desirable veterans a contender wants. Nick Foligno, Jason Dickinson, and Petr Mrazek all came off the market once the franchise extended them.

That has left Tyler Johnson and Colin Blackwell as the only players on the roster a playoff-vying team might want. There is a chance a contender may want Anthony Beauvillier, Jaycob Megna, and Taylor Raddysh. Regardless, none of those five players are going to bring back a premium draft pick.

What could net the Chicago Blackhawks a future top-100 pick is using the salary cap space they have to take on a bad contract to help a contender clear some room to add help. Agreeing to take on a portion of a player's salary cap hit is another way. The Arizona Coyotes got a 2025 third-round pick from the Rangers in the Kane deal as the Coyotes took a slice of Kaner's cap hit.

As this season has shown, the Blackhawks are still a long way away from contending. So adding more draft capital is needed to keep acquiring prospects to build a great team with.

The Hawks have seven picks in the first three rounds of this year's draft. They also only have a sixth-round choice after that.

Chicago has four picks in the first two rounds next year, but the third-round choice has conditions on it that may see that pick sent to Toronto as part of the Jake McCabe deal. The Hawks also have two fourth-round selections, a sixth, and seventh-round pick next year. The Hawks have five picks in the first three rounds in 2026 and own the rights to all their picks except their seventh-round choice that year.

While the Hawks have an impressive amount of assets, they can always use some more. That is why utilizing their salary cap space to help a contender make a move is one way to add more draft picks. They could in theory also take on a prospect although it will probably be the signing rights to a European player unlikely to come over.

Let's take a look at the assets contending teams without a lot of cap space have that might want to see if the Blackhawks will help them out with a deal by retaining some salary...

Toronto Maple Leafs

CapFriendly.com has the Leafs with hardly any cap room at the trade deadline. We know Davidson likes doing business with the Maple Leafs.

Toronto owns the rights to their first-round pick this year and in 2026. They do not have a second-round pick for the next three years. They do not own the rights to their 2024 third-round choice but do have the New York Islanders three-round pick. The Maple Leafs also have six picks between rounds four through seven this year with three of them coming in the fifth.

Usually, those are not the picks that produce stars and sometimes are nothing more than ways to put together an AHL roster. At the same time, the Hawks have just their sixth-round choice this year, and getting a fourth or fifth could not hurt. They could use those picks to draft say a Russian player to stash in the KHL to develop. Also, you never know when you might find the next Dustin Byfuglien. He was an eighth-round choice when drafts used to last that long.

Toronto has all their picks in 2026 except in the second round. Depending on how desperate they are, that 2026 third-round choice could be used to get the Hawks to take on some salary cap charges.

The Maple Leafs have the 28th-ranked farm system in the NHL according to the Athletic's Scott Wheeler (subscription required).