The NHL trade deadline has come and gone. The Chicago Blackhawks made two moves on Monday afternoon that confirmed that they were in fact sellers at this year’s deadline. It was a different feeling, to say the least. Most people can’t even remember the last time the Hawks were the ones giving away assets at the deadline.
General manager Stan Bowman confirmed that the Hawks were in fact sellers. Spoiler alert–he wasn’t happy about it.
“It’s disappointing for sure but…you can’t feel sorry for yourself. You’ve got to sit here and try to plan for the future. And I think what we’ve been able to do here today is position ourselves to get some really high-value assets.”
Bowman also expects certain things out of both the young and veterans players next season.
“If they’re young players, they’ve got to find a way to expand their arsenal. For the veteran players who were better in previous years, they’ve got to find a way to get back to that level. I’m looking at improvement from across the board.”
For now, it’s hard to say exactly where the Hawks go from here. Unfortunately, their window may be closing sooner than anyone had originally thought. This season has been a disaster. There is a lot of disappointment around the organization as there should be.
Those who thought there was a big market for Brent Seabrook or Artem Anisimov were foolish. No team in their right mind wanted to take on those contracts. Deals in the offseason could be an option, but it’s going to be difficult to move one of these guys, let alone both.
Let’s dissect each trade the Hawks made on Monday.
Ryan Hartman and a 2018 5th Round Pick to Nashville for a 2018 1st Round Pick, 4th Round pick, and Victor Ejdsell
Playoff teams overpay for players at the trade deadline. The Hawks have been there and done that. Monday was their opportunity to take advantage of team’s that were willing to overpay. They did just that with the Nashville Predators, who gave up a first and fourth-round draft pick and Victor Ejdsell to get Ryan Hartman.
To put that in perspective, the San Jose Sharks traded for Evander Kane for pretty much the same thing. Now, Kane is a much more skilled player. However, he can be a head case and locker room issue at times. Hartman doesn’t have the same skill, but he is a guy that does the little things right and makes your team better. Is he worth a first and a fourth-round draft pick?
Probably not–we know playoff teams will overpay in hopes of making a run come April. I see this deal as the Hawks got a first round pick for a bottom six forward. They also lost a versatile depth player that could have been resigned this summer for little money. It’s not ideal that the Hawks traded Hartman to a division rival either. With that being said, it’s believed that Nashville was the only team to offer a first-round draft pick, which is ultimately why Bowman took the deal.
He hinted at that when he met the media on Monday.
“The things that were being proposed to me weren’t really appealing at all. In the case of Nashville, they made a really strong offer. The value we were getting for him, it was a really tough deal to pass up.”
As things sit today, the Hawks have two first round picks in this year’s draft. It’s tough to say if trading Hartman was the right move. Obviously, getting a first-round pick helped, but he was a solid player that was only getting better. Hartman was clearly the Hawks’ best trade chip and the Predators proved that.
Their coach, Peter Laviolette, said Hartman has “grit and sandpaper” in his game. He should fit in nicely there and will have a shot at winning a Stanley Cup.
The last part of this deal is Victor Ejdsell, who the Hawks actually liked last year. He’s a big forward at 6’4″ and 215 pounds. In 44 games this year in Sweden, he scored 17 goals. He was a throw-in, but the Hawks seemed to have interest in him, which is, overall, a good thing. Bowman said Ejdsell is close to being NHL ready, which means we could see him sooner rather than later.
Again, trading Hartman was a tough, tough move to make. The first round pick should make it worth it in the end.
Tommy Wingels to Boston for a 2019 Conditional 5th Round Pick
This deal was made at the very last second. It was a move many of us saw coming. Tommy Wingels has been awesome for the Hawks this season. He’s scrappy, solid on the forecheck, can score goals, and contribute on the penalty kill. Wingels is a player that I could see returning to Chicago next season. The Bruins are really going to enjoy him.
I would say he was the Hawks second best trade chip. The one thing to watch here is that the draft pick is conditional. Meaning that if the Bruins advance past the first round or Wingels resigns with Boston, the pick turns into a fourth-rounder.
Monday was a weird day overall. Being a seller at the deadline sucks–there’s no way around it.
In other news, the Hawks did call up Matthew Highmore from the AHL. He will get a chance to prove himself in the NHL for the remainder of the season. He doesn’t have the skill of an Alex DeBrincat, but he does know how to play “his game.” He crashes the net and is always around the puck (Brandon Saad should take notes). Highmore is also the Ice Hogs leading scorer.
Patrick Kane, myself, and Hawks fans across Chicago were not big fans of being sellers at the deadline. It’s the unfortunate reality of the situation.
“It’s different. A different feeling…Usually, at this time of year, you’re looking toward some of the bigger names on the trade list and seeing if we’re getting any of them.”