The Chicago Blackhawks have a hole they could fill on their roster. To do that, GM Stan Bowman needs to have something to offer in a possible trade before the April 3 trade deadline.
As lofty as the 'Hawks perch is in the Western Conference standings, it isn't a secret that Chicago could stand to improve up the middle, especially on the second line. This team may be looking to upgrade at that position or at least find a player who can win faceoffs.
To do that, Bowman may have to part with a NHL-ready prospect. To me, that would mean one of three players. Draft picks and other sweeteners may have to be tossed in to get the player the 'Hawks are looking for, but here are the three pieces we could well see in another organization if Chicago elects to make a deal.
Smith has been ready for an NHL roster in each of the last two seasons, but has been slowed by injuries. A concussion kept him from making the team in 2011-12. A broken bone in his hand as the lockout ended is the only reason he isn't in Chicago right now.
Smith is a leader who can skate in a variety of roles. I'd love to see him on the 'Hawks roster soon. If he can make it through camp in one piece, he should be on a NHL roster next fall.
Morin, who opened the scoring Sunday in Detroit, seems to have finally shaken the cobwebs from his head after missing parts of two seasons after a concussion suffered in January of 2011.
That said, Brandon Saad could make him expendable.
Morin possesses many of the attributes that has Saad doing so well this season. Morin had 27 goals in 59 games for Rockford before his call-up Saturday. His value may be high enough to another club for Bowman to improve the Blackhawks as the playoffs loom.
If the soon to be 22-year-old center isn't going to be given the chance to showcase his game for the 'Hawks, he may be used to obtain someone who will.
Pirri leads all skaters in Rockford with 56 points and that includes 37 assists. If there is currently a player in the organization who could get the puck to Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, he would be that player.
Does the top brass believe that Pirri can be a top-six center in the immediate future, or will they be willing to use a stopgap solution until prospects like Phillip Danault or Mark McNeil are ready? The answer to that question may dictate where Pirri winds up in the next few days.
I would imagine any substantial move Bowman would contemplate would involve one or more of the above names. Bowman may not be able to find the right upgrade as the market for offensive centers is pretty thin.
We could see all three of these players in Blackhawks sweaters, perhaps as soon as the end of the month. Until Wednesday afternoon, they are still potential trade pieces if the right deal comes along.
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