With only three teams left, there are multiple former Blackhawks that are still chasing the Stanley Cup. Of note is Brandon Hagel, who was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for two first-round picks and then some. It would have been nice if one of those picks was for this year, but they aren't. If Chicago really wants to select a player out of the first round, there are teams they could partner up with.
The Blackhawks have basically come out and said, "we'll trade anyone", but will the league's GMs take notice? In my opinion, the shocker for the Hagel deal was the return, but if Hagel is worth two-firsts, then logic dictates that there's probably someone on Chicago's roster that is worth a first as well. This upcoming draft has been a talking point because some people believe it to be not particularly deep talent-wise, though not everyone agrees. For example, Marco D'Amico argues that it isn't a weak group as others have suggested. The thing is, it appears teams tend to agree that the draft is weak because multiple teams have come out to say that they would trade away their first-round pick for an impact player.
The Ottawa Senators, in particular, should be on Kyle Davidson's list of teams to call because Chicago has players that would be a good fit. In an article published on the NHL's site, Senators GM Pierre Dorion was quoted saying,
""I think we have to look at everything," Dorion said Wednesday. "Maybe this is the year that we move pick seven to get an impact player that can help us right away. We're not going to get a guy that's a pending (unrestricted free agent) in a year's time; I don't think that would be really smart for us to do. But if we can get a guy that we know we will have some control over for more than a few years, that's something we'd definitely look at. "It's no secret that we have a lot of good young players, but adding an impact player, someone that can help us get to that next level, that's something we would definitely look at.""- Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion
I've enjoyed seeing Connor Murphy play for the Blackhawks, but I'd send him north for the 7th overall pick. It's not personal, it's just business. Murphy has several years remaining on his deal and he is a respectable top-four defenseman. That makes him exactly the kind of player that Dorion is looking to add. In my opinion, Ottawa has completed its rebuild and is going to be trying to be a contender in the next couple of years. Dorion's comments kind of confirms that trajectory.
It isn't only Ottawa that would trade away their first-round pick. TheNew Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders might be open to trading and would also move their picks. The Devils have the number two overall pick, and the ask for that may be a bit steep. Also, the Senators still seem like the best choice with what they are asking for. Chicago has too many defensemen as it is, and as likeable as Murphy has been, trading him for the 7th overall pick would solve two problems at one time. A roster spot would be freed, and Chicago could participate in the 2022 draft.
We should all prepare for a long season next year, but if Davidson handles this well, things could turn around very quickly. This off-season should be a busy one as the team will likely be set up to fail in an effort to land a top pick in the draft next year. The first step in that direction could be a deal to secure a chance at selecting a talented young player in the 2022 draft.