It was a busy trade deadline for newly named general manager Kyle Davidson. When he was named the GM on March 1st, he made remarks about the Blackhawks heading in the direction of a rebuild. March 21st was the beginning of that
While losing a valuable piece in Brandon Hagel wasn't pleasant with some players and fans, it brought back multiple first round picks and a couple young, unproven wingers who could thrive in a bigger role with the Blackhawks. Hagel's absense from the top six leaves a hole that needs to be filled, but who will step into that role?
Taylor Raddysh was a part of the Hagel trade, and has a huge connection to some current Blackhawks. Raddysh played for the Erie Otters of the OHL and was linemates with Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat, where the trio lit up the score sheet. Raddysh didn't get a lot of opportunity while in Tampa due to their great offensive depth, but could be a candidate to step up in a larger role in Chicago.
Sam Lafferty was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in early January, and has mainly been a fourth line presence for the Blackhawks. He had flashes of being an offensive contributor prior to the deadline, but now figures to have a bigger role now. Lafferty has had flashes of offensive upside and has been able to create some great scoring chances, but has trouble putting the puck in the net. With a new role on the team for the final stretch of the year, he can try to prove he belongs in this lineup for the future.
Lastly, Kevin Lankinen has a chance to prove himself yet again. After trading Marc-Andre Fleury to the Minnesota Wild monday morning, Lankinen now assumes the full time starter role. Lankinen had a very strong rookie season last year and has shown a lot of flashes even as a backup this season. Still only 26 years old, he has a chance to earn himself the starting job for the next couple years as the front office tries to evaluate the goaltending position and find their goalie of the future.