Blackhawks

NHL Trade Deadline review: Around the Western Conference

NHL Trade Deadline review: Around the Western Conference

Western Conference contenders:

Minnesota Wild

GM Chuck Fletcher pushed his chips to the front of the table by acquiring Martin Hanzal and Ryan White — and also a 2017 fourth-round pick — from Arizona, and managed to give up none of their top prospects or blue liners to get it done. They sacrificed a 2017 first-round pick, a 2018 second-round pick, a 2019 conditional pick and center Grayson Downing, with the Coyotes retaining half of Hanzal's salary.

The Wild strengthened their center depth, which alleviates some pressure off Eric Staal and Mikko Koivu, and pushes Erik Haula to the fourth line. It makes them deeper, more balanced and certainly even harder to deal with.

While they paid a steep price, can you blame them? The West is as wide open as it's been the past decade, and other contenders in the West were in on Hanzal, preventing him from going to a rival. It was worth taking a shot.

Chicago Blackhawks

GM Stan Bowman worked his magic this February, electing to add depth players rather than go for the home run. He first acquired Tomas Jurco for a third-round pick in hopes of sparking his true potential, and giving coach Joel Quenneville another option on the Blackhawks' four-line rotation.

The one that really reinforced the Blackhawks as serious contenders was the reacquisition of defenseman Johnny Oduya. There's instant familiarity there after he helped anchor the top-four on the blue line during their Stanley Cup runs in 2013 and 2015.

It allows every member on defense to shift back into place, and it further strengthened their six-man group that's the deepest it's been in years.

San Jose Sharks

The Sharks had been quiet up until Tuesday night, when they acquired Jannik Hansen from Vancouver in exchange for prospect Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2017 that could turn into a first if San Jose wins the Stanley Cup.

Another steep price paid, but if the Sharks win the Cup, will anyone complain? It will be worth it for a franchise seeking its first Stanley Cup.

They realize Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, both of whom are 37 years of age, are approaching the 18th hole of their NHL careers, and must take advantage before they hit free agency this offseason.

Western Conference playoff teams:

Nashville Predators

The Predators made a few tweaks leading up to the trade deadline, making a late depth move by adding winger P.A. Parenteau in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick in 2017. They also acquired center Vernon Fiddler in February from New Jersey for a fourth-rounder in 2017.

They've been trending in the right direction as of late, so making a big splash — something GM David Poile is used to doing — didn't seem necessary. And it wasn't.

Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks jumped out ahead of everyone else by trading for Patrick Eaves before it got to a bidding war, in exchange for a conditional 2017 second-round pick that can become a first-rounder if he plays in at least 50 percent of the games in the first two rounds of the playoffs, and they advance to the Conference Final.

He bolsters an already-deep forward group, stabilizing their four-line rotation and taking some of the load off the top-two lines, particularly Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf up the middle. 

Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers made an interesting swap with Montreal, an Eastern Conference contender, acquiring forward David Desharnais for defenseman Brandon Davidson. Desharnais is a skilled center who's not afraid to stick his nose into the dirty areas. 

It was a wise decision for the Oilers not to be aggressive at the deadline, and risk mortgaging the future. They know this is a process, and there was no reason to go all-in here despite a favorable path to a long playoff run.

But it also would have sent the wrong message had they simply stood pat, so giving Connor McDavid and his group up front another forward wasn't a bad idea.

Western Conference bubble teams:

St. Louis Blues

After watching David Backes and Troy Brouwer walk for nothing last offseason, the Blues couldn't afford to see that happen with Kevin Shattenkirk. Despite being in the playoff hunt, the Blues shipped Shattenkirk — along with goaltender Pheonix Copley — to Washington in exchange for a 2017 first-round pick, a 2019 conditional second-round pick, center Zach Sanford and center Brad Malone. The Blues also retained 39 percent of Shattenkirk's salary.

Perhaps the thought would have changed if the Blues didn't enter the deadline on a four-game losing streak after previous winning six in a row. But GM Doug Armstrong didn't really have a choice other than to acquire assets for next year.

Calgary Flames

The Flames opened up the trading period by landing defenseman Michael Stone to shore up their defense. They finished by adding winger Curtis Lazar, who could slide into their top-six.

They're fighting to stay above water, and have been riding a roller coaster all year after a rough start. These moves will probably get them into the postseason, but they're going to have a tough draw in the first round no matter where they finish.

Los Angeles Kings

The Kings felt they needed insurance in goal despite Jonathan Quick returning from a 59-game absence, so they went out and got Ben Bishop from Tampa Bay for Peter Budaj, who is tied for the league lead with seven shutouts, along with a prospect and draft picks. Two of the three Vezina Trophy finalists are now sharing one crease.

The question mark wasn't necessarily that they acquired another No. 1 goaltender. It was about not using their resources and cap space to address their scoring needs.

They eventually did that, by adding 39-year-old winger Jarome Iginla to play alongside Anze Kopitar on the top line. It appears to be a good fit, considering the Kings don't play a fast game, and he will certainly give the power play a little boost. But you have to wonder how much gas he has left in the tank, and whether he consistently play at a high level against the opponent's top units.

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

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AP

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

The Blackhawks announced Monday that they have officially agreed to terms with forward Dominik Kahun, defensemen Lucas Carlsson and Darren Raddysh and goaltender Kevin Lankinen on entry-level contracts.

Kahun ($925,000 cap hit), Lankinen ($925,000) and Raddysh ($730,000) each signed two-year deals that run through the 2019-20 season while Carlsson's is a three-year deal that runs through the 2020-21 campaign and carries a cap hit of $792,500.

So who are these guys? Let's meet them:

Carlsson

Drafted in the fourth round (No. 110 overall) by the Blackhawks in 2016, Carlsson set a career-high with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 44 games this season with Brynäs IF of the Swedish Hockey League. He was tied for fourth among all blue liners with seven goals.

Carlsson, 20, doesn't have major upside, but he's a reliable, well-rounded defenseman and that's what drew the attention of Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley.

“When he’s on the ice, he makes things happen," Kelley told Scott Powers of The Athletic last summer. "I think what impressed the Sweden under-20 coach was Lucas’ ability to challenge in all three zones. He’s an active defensively. Offensively, he challenges. He keeps plays alive.”

Kahun

The 22-year-old forward spent the last four seasons with EHC München of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany's top professional hockey league, where he established career highs in assists (29), points (41) and tied a personal best with 12 goals, leading Munchen to their third straight championship in 2018 after recording four goals and 10 assists in 17 playoff contests.

He raised eyebrows at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, where he compiled five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games and won 55.4 percent of his faceoffs (41 of 74), helping Germany capture a silver medal.

“He has made an enormous step this year, has become much more stable and mature," German national team coach Marco Sturm said after the Olympics. "I am sure that he would grab it in the NHL,” Sturm told the Hamburger Morgenpost.

Most recently, Kahun had a goal and two assists in seven games for Germany during the IIHF Men's World Championship. He's 5-foot-11, 176 pounds whose known to be a solid two-way player and can play center but may need some time to adjust to the smaller ice surface and NHL style of speed and physicality.

Lankinen 

Lankinen is 23 years old and coming off a season in which he was in the discussion for the Urpo Ylönen trophy, annually awarded to the top goaltender of the Finnish Elite League, after registering a league-best 1.33 goals against average and .946 save percentage in 15 games with HIFK.

He missed a large portion of the season because of an injury, but it didn't stop him from turning in a strong postseason, guiding his team to a bronze medal after posting a 1.99 GAA and .936 save percentage in 13 playoff games. The year before that, he led the league with seven shutouts in 42 games, backstopping his team to a silver medal.

This is a low-risk, medium-sized reward signing for the Blackhawks, who could use some more young goaltending depth in the pipeline, especially given how this season unfolded with the big club.

Raddysh

The Blackhawks signed Raddysh to a one-year AHL contract last June, and he turned it into an NHL one after a strong season with the Rockford IceHogs.

Raddysh, 22, accumulated 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 66 regular-season games with the IceHogs, and has appeared in each of the team's playoff games en route to the Western Conference Final.

Last season Raddysh was named the OHL's top defenseman after scoring 16 goals and 65 assists for 81 points in 62 games for the Erie Otters, where he was teammates with current Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. He's the Otters' all-time leader in assists (143) and points (184) among defensemen.

Raddysh might be nothing more than a depth defenseman, but his development is worth monitoring because the offensive production is there and that's something the Blackhawks lacked this past season from their back end.

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

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AP

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

Days after putting his Gold Coast condo on the market, Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa revealed to a Slovakian newspaper that he is moving back to his hometown country and doesn't plan on returning to the NHL.

"I will not play hockey anymore," said Hossa, who missed the entire 2017-18 campaign due to a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat it. "I have a valid contract with Chicago for the next three years, but I have only one health and it does not allow me to return."

Because he has three years left on a deal that carries a $5.275 million cap hit, Hossa is not expected to sign his retirement papers until the contract is completed or else it would result in salary cap consequences.

The news is not surprising, but it officially allows the Blackhawks to move on without him in the fold roster-wise and toy around with some options this summer.

The first is stashing his contract on long-term injured reserve, as they did last season when they utilized the in-season preference.

The second, which Hossa wondered could happen, is finding a trade partner that would absorb the remainder of his contract, usually done by lower payroll teams aiming to reach the cap floor.

And it wouldn't be difficult trying to find a buyer, considering Hossa's actual salary is $1 million per year over the next three seasons. Hossa, of course, has a no movement clause but it's likely he would waive it given his status at this point.

The good news for Chicago is, the three-time Stanley Cup winner didn't rule out joining the Blackhawks organization in some capacity after his contract expires in 2020-21, whether it's in a front office role or as a team ambassador.

In 19 NHL seasons, Hossa accumulated 525 goals and 609 assists for 1,134 points in 1,309 regular-season games, and added 149 points (52 goals, 97 assists) in 205 postseason contests. He's one of 45 players in league history to net at least 500 goals in his career.