How the NHL trade deadline neither helped nor hurt the Blackhawks

Expected to sell more at the 2024 NHL trade deadline, the Chicago Blackhawks stood idle for the most part while the rest of the league joined the frenzy.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Chicago Blackhawks
Columbus Blue Jackets v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

When you’re one of the worst teams in the NHL, you’re expected to be a major seller at the NHL trade deadline. But the Chicago Blackhawks did next to nothing, which considering the circumstances surrounding the team, it was a so-so strategy. 

When the trade deadline took effect on Friday afternoon, general manager Kyle Davidson made just one move the day before, trading Anthony Beauvillier for a fifth-round pick in 2024. This meant veterans Tyler Johnson, Colin Blackwell, Nikita Zaitsev, and Ryan Donato will finish the season in a Blackhawks uniform. 

None of the above players had been productive enough to warrant much in the way of snagging a reasonable return, so Davidson opted to keep everyone in town sans Beauvillier. 

The Blackhawks mostly stood idle at the NHL trade deadline

This strategy is one that did little to help the Blackhawks, so why not do all you can to make a deal for pending unrestricted free agents like Johnson, Zaitsev, and Blackwell? You may not have gotten much more than a late draft pick for them, but you’re at least walking away with something regarding veterans who most likely won’t be around next season. 

However, if Davidson opts to re-sign the trio in the offseason, then keeping them around makes more sense unless he did get an offer worth trading in the days leading to the deadline. It would also make sense to keep Donato around if his name came up in trade talks, as he won’t become an unrestricted free agent until after next season. And he could ultimately become a decent asset on someone’s lower lines, meaning he could draw interest in the offseason or next year. 

Overall, the Blackhawks situation is one that neither helped nor hurt them, as some of what Davidson did made sense, but if he ultimately doesn’t keep his pending unrestricted free agents around, then why not at least get something, even a seventh-round pick? Who knows? You may strike the draft’s biggest steal with that pick in time.


(Information provided by Cap-Friendly)