One Year Later, Did The Chicago Blackhawks Win The Patrick Kane Trade With The New York Rangers?

It has been one year since the Hawks traded arguably their greatest player.

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
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Vili Saarijarvi

Saarijarvi is playing overseas in the Swiss National League for the SCL Tigers. He has 33 points on the season with 26 assists. That production places him among the top 10 in points among Chicago Blackhawks prospects.

The problem is the Finnish defenseman gave playing in the States a try and did not produce much. He played in the AHL from 2017-2020 first for the Grand Rapids Griffins when he was a part of the Red Wings' system and then finished up with Tucson Roadrunners when he was sent to the Coyotes. He scored two goals and registered 32 assists during those three years in the minor leagues.

He elected to return to Finland after the 2020 season. Usually, when a prospect goes back overseas, they rarely come back, especially the older ones.

He is 26 and the Blackhawks have plenty of defensive prospects and a deep defensemen draft to add more. Chicago Sun-Times Blackhawks beat writer Ben Pope ranks three defensemen, Wyatt Kaiser, Ethan Del Mastro, and Nolan Allen, among his top 10 that are already at Rockford. Isaak Phillips and Louis Crevier are also young defensemen who have bounced back and forth between Rockford and Chicago.

2022 first-round pick Sam Rinzel is currently at Minnesota and he is considered the Hawks' third-best prospect according to the Athletic's Sam Wheeler. Needless to say, Saarijarvi would have an uphill climb to crack the NHL roster someday.

Although the last time someone checked in with Vili, he did mention he would welcome a return to America. Considering he did not get an invite to last summer's 2023 Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase from the Blackhawks, Saarijarvi is likely to be an answer to the trivia question of who the Hawks acquired in the Kane deal.