Rumor Roundup: Hawks Today, Hawks Tomorrow?
After last night's loss to St. Louis, the Chicago Blackhawks saw themselves drop into the top 10 selection area. This IS who we thought they were (yes, Dennis Green joke). We all believed before the season that this team just didn't have the talent to stay competitive. This may be the start of that narrative.
I believe that the Blackhawks were ready to begin the season and put their best foot forward. This "was" the advantage and now other teams are seeing their midseason strides take full affect, rendering our advantage null and void on November 17th.
So, what now? Trade everyone! Call up every single prospect!! Well, no let's not do that. However, if Kyle Davidson has proven anything about his strategy, our leadership will strike while the iron is hot. That is right now. The Toronto Maple Leafs are Stanley Cup contenders. They have Auston Matthews with an uncertain future (signed only through next season) and the coach and GM are both on the hot seat.
Not only that, but a key defensive piece in Jake Muzzin is now likely out for the season. They need a player like Connor Murphy (or Jake McCabe). According to NHL Headlines (https://www.nhl.com/news/toronto-maple-leafs) Muzzin is out with a cervical spine injury. Murphy would offer the Leafs a steady defensive defenseman that can handle big minutes. The price? I'm sure Davidson would ask for a 1st or at the very least prized forward prospect Matthew Knies. More likely, my opinion, the Blackhawks would take a 2nd and 3rd or a combination of Rasmus Sandin and a 3rd in exchange.
A rumors website (www.nhlrumors.com) also speculates, based on the reporting of Jonas Siegel with The Athletic (www.theathletic.com), that Murphy may have ties to Toronto. Siegel is on twitter @jonassiegel and is a fantastic follow to watch the beat of the Maple Leafs and what they may currently be thinking.
What about Jonathan Toews? Certainly our captain has had a good start to the season. Not only is he just destroying the competition in the faceoff circle, but he is scoring as well. Toews currently has 7 goals in 16 games on a 20% shot percentage. Leadership, faceoffs, and goal scoring would be enticing to any number of teams. I'm looking squarely at Boston and Colorado for Toews. Any deal would have to be approved by Jonathan, however I think a 23' or 24' 1st (with stipulations) would get Kyle Davidson's yes as quick as he can type or speak the word.
I know that Patrick Kane is on everyone's radar this season. I, for one, don't believe he will move on. This team means too much to him. He is a historian when it comes to the sport. I firmly believe he wants the Blackhawks records (likely acheivable in 3-4 seasons) as well he wants to finish his career with one team (an original 6 at that). Until I'm proven otherwise, I do not see Kane moving on from Chicago.
Other candidates to be on trade lists would be Max Domi and Andreas Athanasiou. Both players have played right up to expectation. I believe they are 3rd line players on likely 16-24 teams around the league. That is their value to me. Typically, that will net you a 2nd or a 3rd round pick. I believe that if / when our brass gets an offer that resembles that value they will make the exchange. It will almost assuredly come sometime around the March 3rd trade deadline.
The rumors will continue to be out there for the Blackhawks, especially as we see their record start to diminish. It would be unwise to trade all of our veterans, but I do see Kyle Davidson being aggressive when it comes to teams in need. The last 6 games of this month (@ Bruins and Stars, hosting Oilers, Pens, Canadians, and Jets) will see Chicago fall even further down the standings. It's early, but make no mistake about it.... deals are coming.