3 sound moves the Blackhawks should make at the trade deadline

With just 33 points on the season, the Blackhawks are thinking more about the NHL Draft coming up this summer than acquiring anyone spectacular at the trade deadline.

Feb 15, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks forward Colin Blackwell (43) passes the
Feb 15, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks forward Colin Blackwell (43) passes the / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
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Injuries decimated what was already a rebuilding Blackhawks team, so unless they are interested in acquiring a high-potential piece at the trade deadline like Kaapo Kakko, Chicago has players like Tyler Johnson, whose contracts are expiring next season and would make solid trade pieces. Therefore, don’t be surprised if they try to move others who could warrant solid returns, or at the very least, help create more cap space for 2024-25. 

Other than Johnson, who else makes sense to move before the trade deadline? To make this exercise simple, we won’t list anyone who is currently slated to be a restricted free agent, especially since many of those players could be solid fits around Connor Bedard. Instead, we will look to move older, more established talents whose presence elsewhere could help a team in contention reach the playoffs and compete for a Stanley Cup.  

There is also one high-potential player other than Kakko who the Blackhawks should strongly consider acquiring if they want to further maximize their rebuild. 

Ryan Donato is a versatile player who can help fuel another team’s bottom-six

The Blackhawks wouldn’t get much for Ryan Donato, but this is all about creating space for the future. So, putting his $2 million cap hit onto another team would work well here. Donato wouldn’t fare well on the top-six, but the lower lines are a spot where the versatile forward can slide in and play a gritty role. 

Teams seeking an edgy skater with a strong defensive approach would be interested in adding Donato, whose 36 takeaways are about to match a career-high set during his time with the Seattle Kraken in 2021-22. He’s also been one of the more physical forwards for Chicago this season, landing 61 hits.