Citing a source, Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald claims that the Blackhawks have expressed interest in both center Frans Nielsen and top-four defenseman Mark Streit. The 'Hawks originally had their sights set on defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky before he signed a multi-year deal with the Islanders.
The Islanders are said to be interested in Rockford defenseman Dylan Olsen and forward Jeremy Morin—who was just recently called up by the Blackhawks.
Frans Nielsen is a solid point producer who can be scoring threat if he was paired up with Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp. However, he lacks in the faceoff circle—winning only 45 percent of all his draws this season.
With Dave Bolland struggling to put up points with Kane as his winger, general manager Stan Bowman may try to acquire a second-line center before the trade deadline on April 3. Nielsen is an upgrade and would allow Bolland to move back to his more accustomed role as a shutdown center on the third line.
The 'Hawks are also looking to bolster their blue line, especially after the lackluster performances of Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson these past few games.
Islanders defenseman Mark Streit would be an excellent addition if Bowman was able to pull it off. But as it looks at the moment, the Islanders may ask a little bit more in return for the valuable commodity of a top-four defenseman.
The Blackhawks are 4-5 in their last nine games and have yet to beat a playoff-contending team in the second half of the season. Considering that the 'Hawks started out 21-0-3, there is still enough wiggle room to stay atop the Western Conference.
Winger Patrick Kane has acknowledged that the 'Hawks have been struggling, but that adversity was due (via Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times):
We know what the problem is. We haven’t been playing that great. We’ve been giving up leads late. [But] I think it’s sometimes good to face a little adversity, build our group up better as a team. If we go through it now, hopefully we learn from it, and it doesn’t happen [in the playoffs].
However it has to happen, this team needs a jump-start to get it back on its record pace that propelled it to No. 1 in the NHL.
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