We’ve hit the All-Star break, where Patrick Kane will ultimately be the Blackhawks’ lone representative this weekend in Nashville. Jonathan Toews, who’s been ill for several days, will not be attending. Because of that, he’s also suspended for Tuesday’s game in Colorado.
C’est la vie.
But in our latest mailbag the All-Star Game and all its glitz isn’t what’s on your mind. Nope, it’s the trade deadline, which hits at 2 p.m. CT on Feb. 29. Several of you asked if the Blackhawks acquire someone around that time. The Blackhawks have decent cap space right now ($2.49 million, via generalfanager.com), so a move could be made.
— Kevin Ford (@KFord1957) January 27, 2016
— Spencer (@spencer_wpg) January 28, 2016
Stan Bowman, talking about the deadline on Tuesday in Carolina and said it’s probably too early to say what the Blackhawks may do. They’re still working in some younger guys, and if things are going well over this last month, the Blackhawks won’t be devastated if they don’t make a move.
Also, a lot of teams are still vying for postseason spots, and who gets close to that and who falls further out of the race will determine potential trade partners.
“There [are] still a large number of teams who aren’t at that point yet. You don’t know exactly what the pool of players who are going to be available, so we have some ideas on players that might become available, and we’re going to do our work over the coming weeks and follow them and have an idea of who we want to approach,” Bowman said. “And then it just becomes is there a match and does it work, do you have what they are looking for. So I can’t characterize it yet.”
And there’s one more trade-related question involving current roster players.
— Spike T. (@sp1ke36) January 27, 2016
That I wouldn’t advise. Yes, the Blackhawks have dealt prospective defensemen in the past but those guys aren’t doing much elsewhere. You can still get an experienced guy for a pick or prospect — the Blackhawks got Johnny Oduya for a second- and third-round pick at the 2012 deadline. Not every guy in your defensive group is going to have years of experience. You need to keep some youth for the present and future.
Now, onto the rest of the mailbag:
@TramyersCSN what big news do you think will break while you are on vacation and how excited should we be?
— Scott Kennedy (@ScottTKennedy) January 27, 2016
This is probably a stay-cation more than a vacation, but nevertheless I don’t see much happening these next few days. Besides, moves never happen unless I’m at yoga — please see the news of Toews missing the All-Star weekend — or in the case of Toews and Kane’s signing a few summers ago, on an airplane.
— Emily Seto (@emmers712) January 27, 2016
Morning skates are pretty dull. It’s really just a chance for players to get their legs going in the morning and to roll the forward lines. A few teams did away with them this season and I wondered a few months ago if the Blackhawks would do the same. But since they never practice — and why would you with this schedule — the Blackhawks will continue having skates.
— Dan Gray (@HesDeadJim_) January 27, 2016
— Jenn Bennett (@jenzy75) January 28, 2016
There’s a lot of time to figure this one out. As Bowman reminded us on Tuesday, Marcus Kruger is on schedule after December’s wrist surgery but that schedule still doesn’t have him returning until around the start of the playoffs. So Dennis Rasmussen and Phillip Danault are good for a while.
@TramyersCSN given Shaw's status at the end of this year, what's his future with the team? Extension? Saad-type trade?
— Tom Burns (@the_tom_burns) January 28, 2016
Yes, Andrew Shaw will be a restricted free agent this summer. Bowman, when asked about keeping Shaw, said, “we want to keep all our guys.” The GM is happy to see the year Shaw is having on that top line, too. A lot is going to depend on how much the salary cap rises, and the way the Canadian dollar is going, it probably won’t be much.
[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
It’s possible he gets lost in the cap crunch. Or perhaps the Blackhawks offer him something like they did Kruger this offseason: a little bit of a raise now, knowing a bigger deal could come later). I don’t foresee a Brandon Saad-type trade. No offense to the scrappy Shaw but they’re two different players commanding two different prices and, if that scenario plays out, trade packages.
— Taylor (@TaylorWFUGA) January 28, 2016
I think Scott Darling is secure. Darling’s having a decent season (5-4-2 with a 2.61 goals-against average and .911 save percentage), winning three of his last four outings. The Blackhawks aren’t going to be trading for a backup goaltender. The schedule lightens following the break, so Corey Crawford’s going to be getting the bulk of the outings. Darling came in to save the day in the 2015 first round vs. Nashville but Crawford is obviously going to be the guy in the playoffs.
— Leo (@motelgin) January 28, 2016
There’s no personal giddiness — again, fan of the game, not of the team — in seeing which players emerge from the minors. But there is curiosity on who will rise through the ranks. At some point, and by that I mean when he’s ready and when the Blackhawks have a legitimate spot for him to play ample minutes in, I’d like to see what Marko Dano can do. Again, I don’t think he’s ready yet and, more important, the Blackhawks don’t either. I’d also like to see Ville Pokka at some point.
— Alex Quigley (@alexquigley) January 27, 2016
I told you I’d answer this, Alex! Unfortunately I have never had the supposed goodness of Pizza 73. Considering how many times I’ve been in Western Canada, I don’t know how I haven’t had it. But you’ve talked me into it. I’ll report back following my next trip to Calgary.