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Chicago Blackhawks: 9 Trades with Non-Contenders to Revitalize the Hawks

Jim WeihofenCorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2017

Chicago Blackhawks: 9 Trades with Non-Contenders to Revitalize the Hawks

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    As the days wear on toward the NHL trade deadline, it becomes clear that the Hawks, while good, have a flawed roster. A supposed Stanley Cup contender, the Chicago Blackhawks haven't had a victory since a 3-1 win over Florida back on January 20.

    While the Hawks can score, they also give up goals at an alarming rate—including a 27th-ranked penalty kill. The areas of need are obvious.

    That said, non-contending teams will be looking to deal their players for younger guys, some already in the NHL, some not. How I defined "non-contending" is a team not currently in a playoff spot, and if near a spot, having a negative team plus/minus, as that isn't a winning formula.

    All cap hits are courtesy of capgeek.com, and all trades are cap-compliant, as tested by their trade generator.

9. Montreal Canadiens

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    Hawks acquire: D Hal Gill, W Travis Moen

    Canadiens acquire: W Bryan Bickell, D Sean O'Donnell, C Byron Froese

    More a complimentary move than a true shake-up, acquiring a couple of expiring contracts in Hal Gill and Travis Moen would improve the Hawks in a pair of areas of need.

    Gill would step in and likely cause something of a logjam in the defense, as his leadership and shut-down abilities would be highly helpful.

    Odds are with the acquisition of Gill, Niklas Hjalmarsson would be moved in a second deal.

    Moen, a hard-working winger, would provide grit and energy, and he can kill some penalties. In other words, everything we were sold on about Bryan Bickell but never got.

     

    Hawks' New Depth Chart

    Stalberg - Toews - Kane
    Sharp - Morrison - Hossa
    Moen - Bolland - Shaw
    Brunette - Mayers - Kruger
    Frolik

    Keith - Seabrook
    Gill - Hjalmarsson
    Leddy - Montador
    Scott
    Lepisto

8. Tampa Bay Lighting

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    Hawks acquire: F Dominic Moore, F Nate Thompson, D Pavel Kubina

    Lightning acquire: C/W Michael Frolik, W Bryan Bickell, D Sami Lepisto, 2012 sixth-round draft pick

    I'll go ahead and say this trade could actually happen, since only one member of Bowman's beloved "core" is involved. One has to wonder how far out of favor Frolik has fallen this season.

    Looking to the Lightning, who have had a disastrous season, the Hawks could find a few cheap answers.

    In Dominic Moore and Pavel Kubina, they find expiring veteran contracts. Thompson is a $900,000 cap hit next season.

    Moore and Thompson are veteran, physical, checking line-type players. Thompson, 27, is more physical and can win faceoffs, though he'd likely wind up on the wing. Moore, 33, can also win faceoffs and provides insurance for Dave Bolland. He might just wind up as the No. 2 center—he's only a couple years removed from a 45-point season.

    In Kubina, the Hawks get a big two-way defenseman who can really bolster the lineup.

    As it becomes more and more obvious that Nick Leddy just isn't cut out for big minutes (nor is anyone not named Keith, Seabrook or Hjalmarsson), Kubina steps into the second defensive pairing and gives the team a needed boost.

     

    Hawks' New Depth Chart

    Stalberg - Toews - Kane
    Sharp - Moore - Hossa
    Thompson - Bolland - Shaw
    Brunette - Morrison - Mayers
    Kruger

    Keith - Seabrook
    Kubina - Hjalmarsson
    Leddy - Montador
    O'Donnell
    Scott

7. New York Islanders

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    Hawks get: G Evgeni Nabokov

    Islanders get: G Ray Emery, C Chris DiDomenico, 2012 fourth-round pick.

    This is a very simple trade, and the only one proposed here in which the Hawks only acquire one player. But man, is he ever a big one.

    With Stan Bowman seeming to think that the defense will fix itself, an upgrade in net becomes imperative. Nabokov's one-year deal with the Islanders pays him less than Ray Emery's contract will pay him.

    Bowman is clearly sold on Crawford long term, so keeping him around would only make sense. As an expiring veteran contract on a team that is well out of contention, trading Nabokov for whatever they can get makes the most sense for the Islanders.

    There's really no point in posting a depth chart here, as Nabokov becomes the No. 1 and Crawford the backup.

6. Winnipeg Jets

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    Hawks acquire: F Nik Antropov, D Tobias Enstrom, D Zach Bogosian

    Jets acquire: D Niklas Hjalmarsson, D Dylan Olsen, D Sami Lepisto, C Brendan Morrison, W Bryan Bickell, C Byron Froese, 2012 third-round draft pick

    This is the move with the longest-term vision in mind.

    Antropov is the oldest at 31, Enstrom is 27, and Bogosian is all of 21.

    All three have their contracts expire after the 2012-13 season, when Antropov and Enstrom will be unrestricted free agents and Bogosian an RFA.

    Antropov provides a superior option at the No. 2 center spot than Brendan Morrison, due to his size and age. His skill set meshes perfectly with what the Hawks need from their second-line center: a setup guy who can win some draws and keep opponents honest.

    Antropov is also a left-handed shot, which Marian Hossa seeks in a center.

    Enstrom gives the Hawks the big-minute offensive defenseman that they've lacked all year after trying to force Nick Leddy into a role he just isn't ready for. With Enstrom's acquisition, Leddy can slide back to the third pairing, where he can learn and grow as an NHL defenseman.

    Eventually, Leddy would take over the second pairing with Zach Bogosian. Bogosian, the No. 3 overall pick in 2008, is a big, fast, young defenseman who has a world of upside and is already showing his worthiness at the NHL level.

    Combined with Seabrook, Keith and Leddy, Bogosian could give the Hawks the hands-down best defensive core in the game.

    To make the deal worthwhile for Winnipeg, it will cost the Hawks.

    Hjalmarsson, Lepisto, and top prospect Dylan Olsen all find their way out of town. On the surface, this seems like a loss for a team with defensive struggles. However, Bogosian is a long-term answer on the second defensive pairing, making both Hammer and Olsen expendable.

    Enstrom teams up with him on the second pairing, improving the Hawks' defensive issues for the next 18 months.

     

    Hawks' New Depth Chart

    Stalberg - Toews - Kane
    Sharp - Antropov - Hossa
    Shaw - Bolland - Frolik
    Brunette - Mayers - Kruger
    Ben Smith

    Keith - Seabrook
    Bogosian - Enstrom
    Leddy - Montador
    O'Donnell
    Scott

5. Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Hawks acquire: W Rick Nash, F Vaclav Prospal, C Samuel Pahlsson

    Blue Jackets acquire: C Dave Bolland, C/W Michal Frolik, W Jeremy Morin, W Bryan Bickell, 2012 first-round draft pick

    Reports from Hockey Buzz's Ecklund say that the Hawks are one of three teams really gearing up to acquire Rick Nash.

    He won't come cheap, hence Morin's inclusion in this deal.

    Even with the struggles Columbus has had this season, it still need a young top talent to give up its captain and former No. 1 overall pick.

    Prospal and Pahlsson haven't given up, as Prospal led the Jackets in scoring for a couple of months, with Nash only just overtaking his spot as the team's scoring leader (Nash has 34 points on the season, Prospal 32).

    Kane hasn't done a whole lot this season, but lining up with Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa can only lead to good things, and his best production of the season has been at center.

    Giving up a first-round pick, Dave Bolland and Jeremy Morin definitely seems like a steep price to pay, but players like Rick Nash don't come around often, and Bowman has to take the opportunity to grab such an elite talent.

     

    Hawks' New Forward Lines

    Stalberg - Toews - Nash
    Sharp - Kane - Hossa
    Prospal - Pahlsson - Shaw
    Brunette - Mayers - Kruger
    Morrison

4. Phoenix Coyotes

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    Hawks acquire: C Daymon Langkow, W Shane Doan, D Rostislav Klesla, D Adrian Aucoin

    Coyotes acquire: C Brendan Morrison, C/W Michal Frolik, C Byron Froese, W Jeremy Morin, D Sami Lepisto, D Niklas Hjalmarsson, D Shawn Lalonde

    To say Phoenix is a team going nowhere is a bit of a lie.

    The more they lose, the more likely they are to become the pride and joy of Hamilton, Ontario.

    A team with a good number of veterans and not much else, the Coyotes would be smart to make a move—a big one—to help revitalize the failing franchise.

    On defense, the Hawks revamp the second pairing. Adrian Aucoin, the former Hawks captain, adds a defensive element to pair up with youngster Rositslav Klesla.

    Aucoin is a free agent after this season, Klesla after 2013-14, at which point Nick Leddy will be more than ready for big minutes—or so we hope.

    The second line gets a big boost as well. Langkow is a huge upgrade over Brendan Morrison, and Doan is the current Coyotes captain.  The pair, both 35, have no-movement clauses in their contracts.

    However, both are smart, lead-by-example players and know an opportunity when they see one. The chance to join a Stanley Cup contender will be enough for both to waive their clauses.

     

    Hawks' New Depth Chart

    Sharp - Toews - Kane
    Doan - Langkow - Hossa
    Brunette - Bolland - Shaw
    Stalberg - Mayers - Kruger
    Bickell

    Keith - Seabrook
    Klesla - Aucoin
    Leddy - Montador
    O'Donnell
    Scott

3. Calgary Flames

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    Hawks acquire: C Olli Jokinen, D Cory Sarich, D Scott Hannan, G Miikka Kiprusoff

    Flames acquire: C/W Michael Frolik, W Jeremy Morin, D Niklas Hjalmarsson, D Sean O'Donnell, D Shawn Lalonde, G Corey Crawford, 2012 second-round draft pick

    While the Hawks have already completed one trade with Calgary, they only swapped Brian Connelly—in whom they clearly have no faith to do anything in the NHL—for Brendan Morrison, who may not be able to do anything anymore in the NHL.

    However, this should not stop the Hawks to look to Calgary for more bolstering. It's a flawed team, but one with expiring contracts on solid NHL players.

    Both Cory Sarich and Scott Hannan bring a defense-first mentality to the Hawks, both have expiring deals after 2012 and both would be a great addition in Chicago.

    The No. 2 center job could be much better filled by Olli Jokinen than Brendan Morrison.

    Lining up with any combination of Viktor Stalberg, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa would make Jokinen a solid addition. Plus, Calgary is being rumored to be in the running to acquire center Jeff Carter from Columbus, making Jokinen potentially expendable.

    The gem here is Miikka Kiprusoff. A true No. 1 workhorse goalie, Kip is exactly what you want from a starting netminder. Though he has a no-movement clause through the end of this season, a chance to join the Hawks could be seen as too much to turn down.

    Having not posted a save percentage below .900 nor a GAA above 3 since the 2002-03 season with San Jose, Kiprusoff would hide some of the team's defensive shortcomings.

    He would also make Corey Crawford extremely expendable.

     

    Hawks' New Depth Chart

    Hossa - Toews - Kane
    Stalberg - Jokinen - Sharp
    Brunette - Bolland - Shaw
    Kruger - Morrison - Mayers
    Ben Smith

    Keith - Seabrook
    Sarich - Montador
    Leddy - Hannan
    Lepisto
    Scott

    Kiprusoff
    Emery

2. Anaheim Ducks

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    Hawks acquire: RW Corey Perry, C Saku Koivu, D Toni Lydman, G Jonas Hiller

    Ducks acquire: W Jeremy Morin, C/W Michael Frolik, C Brendan Morrison, C Chris DiDomenico, D Sami Lepisto, D Shawn Lalonde, G Ray Emery, 2012 fifth-round draft pick

    This season, Anaheim was supposed to be competing for first place in its division.

    Instead, the Ducks are mired in the "competition" for the No. 1 overall draft pick.

    Needing to get any value for their veterans, the Ducks would be wise to take the Hawks' offer, assuming they felt they were getting fair market value.

    The goaltending upgrade is obvious. Hiller's put up better numbers than Crawford this season with a much worse team in front of him. Hiller hits free agency after 2012-13, and the Ducks likely won't turn it around this season or next, so trading Hiller makes a lot of sense.

    Toni Lydman is also a free agent after 2012-13, and at 34, he can't possibly be in the Ducks' long-term vision. A shutdown defenseman, Lydman could easily slide into the second pairing with Niklas Hjalmarsson and give the Hawks a true shut-down pairing.

    Saku Koivu is a veteran leader who fills the No. 2 center void perfectly for the Hawks. A physical playmaker who can win faceoffs with regularity and lead on and off the ice is exactly what this team needs.

    The gem of the deal is Corey Perry, hence the massive haul for Anaheim (namely Jeremy Morin).

    Perry has been linked to the Canucks for about a month, and stealing him from underneath their arch rivals would be a massive victory for GM Stan Bowman. Perry provides a true scoring power winger who can take the Hawks right over the top.

     

    Hawks' New Depth Chart

    Hossa - Toews - Kane
    Sharp - Koivu - Perry
    Shaw - Bolland - Brunette
    Stalberg - Mayers - Kruger
    Bickell

    Keith - Seabrook
    Lydman - Hjalmarsson
    Leddy - Montador
    O'Donnell
    Scott

    Hiller
    Crawford

1. Edmonton Oilers

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    Hawks receive: C Shawn Horcoff, RW Ales Hemsky, C/W Ben Eager, D Tom Gilbert, D Ladislav Smid, G Nikolai Khabibulin

    Oilers receive: RW Patrick Kane, LW Bryan Bickell, D Niklas Hjalmarsson, D Sami Lepisto, G Ray Emery, D Shawn Lalonde, D Dylan Olsen, C Chris DiDomenico, D Ivan Vishnevisky, 2012 seventh-round draft pick

    Well, here it is. The mega-deal.

    The trade that takes the Hawks well over the top, solving every problem with the roster in the transaction that will surely take its place as one of the biggest deadline deals of the salary-cap era.

    First off, the no-movement clauses.

    Yes, Kane and Horcoff both have NMCs. However, it's been rumored that Kane is unhappy with the constant shuffle between wing and center, and the Oilers could promise him that No. 1 RW spot next to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the next decade. Horcoff could join a contender for what might be his last shot at a cup run.

    Second, the Hawks totally revamp their defensive corps.

    Yes, giving up Lalonde and Olsen is a tough pill to swallow, but Gilbert and Smid offer a bona fide No. 2 pairing that can roll with any forward lines in the league.

    Neither are unfamiliar in Chicago, as Smid was supposedly going to be the main piece of the supposed Brent Seabrook trade this time last year, and Gilbert played for the Chicago Steel of the USHL as a teenager.

    In net, the Hawks welcome back a familiar face and true No. 1 goalie in Nik Khabibulin. In his last season as a Blackhawk, Khabi made it to the Western Conference Finals against Detroit in tandem with Cristobal Huet.

    Again pairing up with a goalie looking to be a No. 1, the fight between Khabi and Crawford would force the absolute best out of both, helping with the goalie problem we now face.

    Trading Kane would be a difficult task. However, this is what's best for the team.

    They maximize his value, and in due time, Jeremy Morin will take his place. Hemsky immediately steps into Kane's spot with Jonathan Toews and Viktor Stalberg, and likely plays the same skilled playmaker role as Kane.

     

     

    Hawks' New Depth Chart

    Stalberg - Toews - Hemsky
    Sharp - Horcoff - Hossa
    Mayers - Bolland - Brunette
    Kruger - Morrison - Eager
    Frolik

    Keith - Seabrook
    Smid - Gilbert
    Leddy - Montador
    O'Donnell
    Scott

    Khabibulin
    Crawford

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