On October 7th, just before the season began, Kyle Davidson made a deal that sent defenseman Riley Stillman to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for forward Jason Dickinson and a 2024 second-round pick. Now that both players have had a chance to make an impact with their new clubs, let's first consider the reasoning behind it, and then how each player involved has impacted their team through roughly fourteen games of the season thus far.
We'll start with Chicago. This was a very smart rebuilding move by Kyle Davidson. First, he recognized that Dickinson was a player that had struggled and was falling out of favor in the season prior in Vancouver. This meant that with a $2.6mil cap hit, Dickinson would be considered a cap dump that the Canucks would be looking to move. This is because prior to the beginning of the season, many people viewed them as a team that could be able to compete for a wild card spot down the stretch. As a rebuilding team, the Blackhawks were willing to take on that salary in order to receive yet another draft pick, this time a second rounder. Davidson also identified that Dickinson had played well prior to signing with the Canucks in his time with the Dallas Stars. This is important because at the time that Dickinson was on the Stars, the team used a defensive structure similar to, if not the same, as Luke Richardson planned on using in Chicago.
Now on Vancouver's side of the trade, as mentioned before Dickinson was a player they wished to move and were willing to give up that second-round draft pick in order to do so. They targeted Riley Stillman because he is a young physical defenseman at a cheap cap hit and the Canucks needed depth on the blue line due to both Tyler Myers and Travis Dermott beginning the season on injured reserve. Considering the logjam of defensemen in Chicago, the move made sense.
Although only having played only eleven games for Chicago due to first a visa issue and now an illness, Dickinson has made a big impact on the team. The 27 year old forward has four goals and three assists for seven points including one powerplay goal, one game winning goal, and two short-handed assists in those eleven games. His stat line is even more impressive when you take into consideration his sixteen hits and ten blocks.
Now let's take a look at the other side of the trade. In Riley Stillman's nine games played in Vancouver, he has no points, sixteen hits, and eight blocks. It may be difficult to compare a defenseman to a forward, but Stillman is only averaging 13:48 per game which is third pairing minutes and was a healthy scratch for two games. He has struggled during even strength play and currently has a negative seven plus-minus (currently the worst of any Canucks defender).
So far it seems that Kyle Davidson won this trade for the Blackhawks, but only time will tell. Stillman is still a young defensemen and the whole Canucks team is struggling this season. Dickinson has had a great start, but is his current play sustainable? Who knows, but nevertheless, he has been an excellent addition to this Blackhawks team on both sides of the rink. As always, Lets Go Hawks!