Yesterday the Vancouver Canucks dealt center Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders for LW Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Raty, and a conditional 1st round (top 12 protected) pick in the 2023 NHL draft. This was one of the big names out there and now he has been traded more than a month before the deadline. Will this open up the market for the Chicago Blackhawks?
Sure, there are still big names out there like Timo Meier, Ryan O'Reilly, and Jakob Chychrun. However, will teams not want to pay these "Horvat" type of prices and instead pivot towards someone like Chicago defenseman Jake McCabe.
McCabe has 2.5 years remaining at a 4 million cap hit. In terms of the going price for top 4 defenseman in the prime of their career goes, this is actually a bargain. Chicago is also in the unique position to help a team that may be cap strapped by retaining salary. It would not only be a benefit to the team trading for McCabe, but also help the Blackhawks reach the cap floor for the 23-24 season.
Per Frank Seravalli with the Daily Faceoff (www.dailyfaceoff.com) McCabe has drawn interest from a couple of contending teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, and Los Angeles Kings. A potential fit is undeniable, however would these teams give up a 1st round pick in 2023 for McCabe?
There is a history of injuries when it comes to McCabe as well as his game is mainly defensive. He wouldn't provide any power play help or scoring punch to a top 4. So will toughness and defense from an experienced player that can be depended on for around 20 minutes a game be enough to give up that valuable asset? We will see, however what is certain is that the NHL is now open for business.
Timo Meier, to me, is the likely next big domino to fall. The price is likely to be more than what was paid for to acquire Horvat. After a Meier deal, expect Chcago and Kyle Davidson to become a very busy team.