Why the Blackhawks Shouldn't Trade Jason Dickinson

Montreal Canadiens v Chicago Blackhawks
Montreal Canadiens v Chicago Blackhawks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

A one time 1st round pick (29th overall in 2013 to the Dallas Stars) turned cap casualty (traded to the Blackhawks on October 7, 2022) Jason Dickinson is now viewed as a valuable player (again) in the NHL.

Back in 2021 Dickinson signed a 3 year / 7.95 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks. The cap hit of 2.65m per year was too much to justify to Vancouver as they included a 2nd round pick (in this upcoming 2024 draft) with Dickinson to acquire D Riley Stillman (no longer with the Canucks). Chicago, able to easily take on the cap hit and with room for the player, has now found itself with a player that is not only producing on the ice, but (recently) even wearing the "A" for the Hawks.

It's this leadership and dependable play that has led me to the conclusion that the Blackhawks should not trade Jason Dickinson at this years deadline. At the present moment the 28 year old versatile forward has 15 points (10 goals) in 32 games which would be on pace for a 38 point season (per 82). That would mark a second straight season with a new career high in points for the 6'2 Ontario native.

Realistically Jason Dickinson, a pending UFA, could fetch another 2nd round draft pick at the deadline however to what outcome for the Blackhawks? Typically a 2nd round pick (and likely late 2nd at that in the 50-64 pick range) is a dart at the board in terms of NHL projection. The Blackhawks already own 14 picks in the top 2 rounds over the next 3 drafts as it is. In my view, having a leader in the locker room and on the ice is invaluable at this juncture of Chicago's rebuild.

Jason Dickinson
Toronto Maple Leafs v Chicago Blackhawks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

As the Blackhawks get younger and younger as their past, present, and future 1st round picks get their chances in the NHL that reliability of a veteran center like Jason Dickinson should help stabilize a team looking for examples on how to be a professional. With cap room to spare and a player well liked in the locker room, resigning Dickinson to a deal should now become a priority for GM Kyle Davidson and his staff.

Dickinson shouldn't break the bank at that, he is at best a good two-way 3rd line center with PK experience and some offensive upside yet to expose to the league. A slight upgrade in a deal is all I would expect from the Blackhawks, but one that gives him a stable place to play in a lineup as the team tries to regain its place among the NHL's elite franchises.

If I were both sides in the deal I believe a deal at 3 years x 3 million per is exactly the type of contract where both sides can feel confident in getting a fair accord done. That would keep Jason Dickinson in town until he is 31 making all years played during his prime playing years. If the Blackhawks then want to revisit his value at the 2027 trade deadline. Until then though, for me, he shouldn't be going anywhere.