Blackhawks

Hawk Talk: All quiet so far on trade deadline day

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Hawk Talk: All quiet so far on trade deadline day

Monday, Feb. 28, 2011
Posted: 9:54 a.m. Updated: 11:45 a.m.
By Chris Boden
CSNChicago.com

Four hours prior to the NHL's 2 p.m. (Chicago time) trade deadline, it's not a big surprise things have gone slowly around the league. We're for the most part, standing still with teams bottle-necked in Hillside on the inbound Ike for the move or two that'll open things up. Save for Radek Dvorak moving from Florida for Niclas Bergfors & Patrick Rismiller, nothing's happened since St. Louis shipped Brad Boyes to Buffalo last night. But every year, the action picks up over these final hours.

Stan Bowman continues working the phones with an even more urgent need for a defenseman after Jordan Hendry went down with a lower body injury last night. Joel Quenneville said more details should be known today. After needing help from two people to get off the ice, the eye test tells you it's an injury that needs weeks more than days to heal. With Nick Boynton gone and John Scott the only player on the present roster who's played defense before, other teams know they can hike up the price to do business. The GM has said he isn't interested in dealing anyone off the current roster, leaving the Hawks with between 1-12 and 2 million of salary cap space to add to their roster, prorated to about a quarter-season of any player's salary.

Atlanta's Mark Stuart appears to be off the potential acquisition list after the Thrashers recently acquired him from Boston. TSN's Bob McKenzie reports this morning he's on the verge of signing a three-year extension. Save for Colorado (Matt Hunwick?) and Edmonton (Ladislav Smid?) don't expect anyone from the West to help the Hawks out, particularly with just about everyone else still in contention. While the Blues now appear to be sellers, you wouldn't think they'd want to help a division rival's cause. From that standpoint, options have dwindled, at least until some more dominoes start to fall today.

We'll keep you updated throughout the day as things happen, yours truly here in Chicago, and Tracey Myers in Minnesota. Bowman is expected to remain unavailable to the media until he arrives at the Xcel Energy Center prior to tonight's game with the Wild.
Trade Winds? Not Even a Gentle Breeze

Approaching two hours ahead of the NHL trade deadline, Dale Tallon and the Florida Panthers have been the only busy team. It hasn't been the Booths and Weisses who've been sent packing, but Radek Dvorak and Dennis Wideman, and both went to fellow Eastern Conference teams (Atlanta and Washington, respectively). While that may be great if Stan Bowman would want to go back and get Marty Reasoner to help up the middle and on the penalty kill, defensive help remains elusive at this point. He and the Blackhawks are up against many other contenders seeking the same thing, with more salary cap space, and perhaps with more to offer besides minor leaguers and draft picks, or at least high draft picks. Thus far, nibbles haven't turned to bites. The longer it goes, the more likely it is that something will open up, but a couple of more deals would have to happen first.

Bowman said prior to Jordan Hendry's injury last night he'd be confident with his present team going forward, based on the progress they've been making, but the blue line got even thinner since. At this point, however, no one else in the West has gotten better, either, in hat's been a quiet countdown to 2 p.m. so far.

Chris Boden is the host of Blackhawks Pre and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet.

What Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan trades mean for future of Blackhawks defense

What Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan trades mean for future of Blackhawks defense

After finishing 30th in goals against average (3.55) and 31st in penalty kill percentage (72.7) this past season, the Blackhawks are clearly making it a priority to patch up their defense this summer. And that's been evident with the acquisitions of defensive-minded defensemen Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta.

But it raises some interesting questions about the future of the Blackhawks blue line.

With the de Haan and Maatta additions, the Blackhawks now have five defensemen under contract through at least the 2021-22 season: Brent Seabrook ($6.875 million cap hit), Duncan Keith ($5.538 million), de Haan ($4.55 million), Maatta ($4.083 million) and Connor Murphy ($3.85 million). That's $24.8 million tied up to five guys.

The money isn't the primary concern, though. It's the limited amount of roster spots available. The Blackhawks don't have to immediately figure out how it's going to work a year from now and beyond, but it makes you wonder how the cards may eventually be shuffled.

Let's run through the situations:

— Erik Gustafsson had a breakout season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He's obviously not part of the five current players under contract after next season, putting the Blackhawks in a spot where they have to consider trading him or be comfortable with letting him walk for nothing if he isn't re-signed. (They could always trade his negotiating rights after next season and pull off a sign-and-trade as well, if it came to that).

And even if Gustafsson is re-signed, the Blackhawks would then have six players locked up for the 2020-21 season and on, and that's enough to submit a lineup.

— Henri Jokiharju, who was drafted No. 29 overall in 2017, is probably ready to take the next step and become an everyday player. Where does he fit into the long-term plans?

— Adam Boqvist, who was taken No. 8 overall in 2018, likely needs one more year in the OHL before making the jump to the NHL, which would put him on a timeline to become part of the Blackhawks next season. Does he occupy that sixth spot if another one isn't opened by then?

— Nicolas Beaudin, who was drafted No. 27 overall in 2018, is expected to start the upcoming season in Rockford after four years in the QMJHL but might be NHL-ready by the 2020-21 campaign.

— And then there's Ian Mitchell, who's returning to Denver for his junior season and will serve as the team's captain. He's said all along that he intends to sign with the Blackhawks once he's finished with college, but does the organization value him enough to create a spot for him when he's ready?

To make things a little more complicated, the Seattle expansion draft is set to occur in 2021 and the same rules will apply as Vegas in 2017.

The Blackhawks have the option to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters and one goaltender. All players with no-movement clauses at the time of the expansion draft (and who decline to waive them) must be protected; Keith and Seabrook have a NMC. And all first- and second-year pros are exempt; Jokiharju would have to be protected.

As of this moment, the Blackhawks are likely to use the eight-skater option, but they will also have valuable forwards to protect. They're going to lose a good player one way or another, and it's probably going to come from the defensive group. All of this comes into play when weighing roster decisions for next season and beyond.

As stated above, the Blackhawks do not have to make an immediate decision on the future of their blue line corps. They can play out the 2019-20 season with the group as currently constructed. But the decisions the Blackhawks have to face next season could impact how Stan Bowman operates the rest of this summer and throughout the upcoming campaign.

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WATCH: Blackhawks draft pick Kirby Dach throws out the first pitch at Wrigley in his first trip to Chicago

WATCH: Blackhawks draft pick Kirby Dach throws out the first pitch at Wrigley in his first trip to Chicago

Kirby Dach was taken by the Blackhawks with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft on Friday.

On Monday, the Blackhawks introduced him to the city of Chicago. Dach took his first trip to Chicago for his introductory press conference.

Later in the day, the Canadian threw out the first pitch at the Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Dach didn't throw a strike, but it wasn't a blooper reel pitch either.

Watch Dach's first pitch in the video above.

 

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