The Blackhawks and Vegas Golden Knights are thinking outside the box by reportedly discussing a trade that would benefit both sides for different reasons as the June 21 expansion draft looms.
According to TSN's Frank Seravelli, the Blackhawks would allow the NHL's new franchise to select defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk in the draft, if Vegas also takes Marcus Kruger in a trade.
For Chicago, it would mean getting out from underneath Kruger's $3.08 million cap hit over the next two years, and using van Riemsdyk as a sweetener to do it — a tactic the Blackhawks have used in the past, most notably in 2015 when they attached Teuvo Teravainen to Bryan Bickell that sent both to Carolina.
For Vegas, it would mean acquiring a young, promising and inexpensive defenseman and a two-time Stanley Cup winner who has the ability to shut down opponents' top players, despite coming with a fairly heavy price tag.
Insider Tracey Myers detailed Tuesday that the Blackhawks will be forced to make some tough decisions after NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly admitted Monday he expects the salary cap to stay flat or go up slightly from the current $73 million, depending on whether or not the NHL Players' Association agrees to exercise the five-percent inflator.
If it remains stagnant, the Blackhawks are projected to be $4.5 million over the ceiling, according to CapFriendly.com, which is why a deal like this makes sense for a Chicago team looking to shed salary.
NHL teams must expose at least two forwards and one defenseman that have played at least 40 games in the 2016-17 season or more than 70 games in the 2015-16 season and 2016-17 seasons combined, and must still be under contract for the 2017-18 campaign. They can protect either seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters — regardless of position — and one goaltender.
All signs point to the Blackhawks choosing the former option.
They are expected to protect Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Artem Anisimov — all of whom have no-movement clauses — along with Richard Panik and Ryan Hartman up front, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson on defense and goaltender Corey Crawford. First- and second-year players are exempt, which includes Artemi Panarin.
Jordin Tootoo, Michal Rozsival and Jeff Glass are eligible to be exposed, limiting the Golden Knights' pool to pick from if you eliminate Kruger and van Riemsdyk from the equation.