After acquiring Andrew Ladd on Thursday night, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was asked if he’d be looking for anyone else as the trade deadline loomed.
“There are still a few days to go,” Bowman said. “It’s our job to continue to look to see if anything makes sense to improve the team.”
Apparently, he found something.
The Blackhawks acquired Dale Weise and Tomas Fleishmann from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Phillip Danault and their second-round pick in the 2018 NHL draft. In two days of acquisitions, the Blackhawks have now given up their first-round selection of the 2016 draft as well as their second-round pick and conditional pick in the 2018 draft.
The 27-year-old Weise is in the final season of his current contract ($1.025 million). The right winger has 14 goals and 12 assists in 56 games with the Canadiens. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Canadiens will retain 30 percent of Weise’s salary in the deal.
Fleischmann, a left wing, has 10 goals and 10 assists in 57 games with Montreal. Fleischmann was invited to the Canadiens’ camp on a professional tryout last fall and made a strong impression, signing a one-year deal worth $750,000.
The additions of Weise and Fleischmann provide forward depth for the Blackhawks, who, despite a great record this season, haven’t had that usual four-line rotation throughout it. The second line of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane has been tremendous from start to the present. The top line has had a few good spurts but it took until December for Andrew Shaw to take and hold that left wing spot.
Ladd was brought in to join Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, who should return in the next week or so from a lower-body injury. Weise and Fleischmann will be expected to bolster the third and fourth lines. The Blackhawks have been looking for more consistency and production from their bottom six, and these two could provide that.
For Danault, going to the Canadiens will be somewhat of a homecoming; Danault hails from Victoriaville, Quebec, about two hours from Montreal. The 23-year-old Danault, the Blackhawks’ 26th overall selection in the 2011 NHL draft, got his big chance with the team this season in the wake of Marcus Kruger’s fractured wrist in mid-December.
Danault had five points in 30 games with the Blackhawks this season. He centered the third line for a good part of his time with the Blackhawks before moving to the fourth line in recent games.
The Blackhawks made three additions prior to last year’s trade deadline – Andrew Desjardins, Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen. With this year’s deadline still a few days away (Monday at 2 p.m. central time) they’ve already brought in four: Ladd, Weise, Fleischmann and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, whom they got from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Rob Scuderi earlier on Friday. The Blackhawks are looking for their fourth Stanley Cup in the past seven seasons. They’ll find out soon enough if these moves lead to that.