Blackhawks

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Blackhawks

The Blackhawks were looking for a way to unload Bryan Bickell’s contract, but it was going to probably cost them more than that. On Wednesday, they made that deal.

Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen were traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a second-round pick (50th overall) in this year’s NHL draft and a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft.

Bickell had one year remaining (a $4 million cap hit) on the four-year, $16 million deal he signed out of the 2013 Stanley Cup season. Teravainen is entering the final year of his deal ($894,166).

The Blackhawks now have approximately $61.8 million tied up in players for next season, according to generalfanager.com. Bowman said at the team’s closing meetings that he wanted to keep Andrew Shaw in the fold. Artemi Panarin, who had a fantastic rookie season with the Blackhawks, would become a restricted free agent following the 2017-18 season. Trading Bickell and Teravainen could give the Blackhawks the chance to keep both.

Teravainen was coming off a great 2015 postseason but he struggled this past regular season. He was moved around the lineup plenty, and at the trade deadline general manager Stan Bowman said he acquired Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann to give Teravainen the chance to settle in at third-line center. But that never materialized.

The 21-year-old Teravainen is entering the final year of his entry-level deal.

“We wish him well and it was a tough deal from that perspective when you have to give up a young player. By the same token, I like the fact that we’re acquiring some draft picks in this draft. And when we host the draft, the goal is to keep this thing going and have young players coming in,” Bowman said of Teravainen. “Even though Teuvo is young, it’s hard when you have young guys who are entering the final year of his first contract and then things get tricky when players get raises. We’re always looking for that next way.”

 

Bickell had a tremendous 2013 postseason, leading to him signing his current deal. But his play has steadily declined over the past three seasons. It reached a head last season when Bickell was sent to the Rockford IceHogs twice. After his first stint, on which he put up great offensive numbers, Bickell was recalled by the Blackhawks. But he didn’t get the same results in Chicago and was sent back to Rockford.

Will this end up being good or bad the Blackhawks? The biggest plus is it gives them the cap space they certainly needed. It also gives them a second-round pick this season (prior to this, they didn’t have a selection until the third round) and a third-round pick in 2017. But will trading Teravainen, specifically, be costly? Maybe what we saw in his game last season wasn’t just a blip; maybe he’s not going to be the player the Blackhawks hoped he would be. But if Teravainen gets his game back to the 2015 postseason level, it will be the Hurricanes’ boon.

The Blackhawks had some needs, especially with money. The salary cap may not be rising much this coming season. If they wanted to keep Shaw and Panarin, they had to make a big move to do so. Now they’ll see if it ends up being worth it.