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Analysis Blackhawks Editorials

Trying To Understand the Henri Jokiharju-Alex Nylander Trade

We knew the Blackhawks had more moves to make this offseason. No one thought one of those moves would be trading a young defenseman, who most thought was ready to play in the NHL on a consistent basis, but when Stan Bowman is running your team moves like these tend to happen. 

We knew the Blackhawks had more moves to make this offseason.

No one thought one of those moves would be trading a young defenseman, who most thought was ready to play in the NHL on a consistent basis, but when Stan Bowman is running your team moves like these tend to happen. 

It’s hard to understand why the Blackhawks would be “ok” with trading a young defenseman when their current situation on defense is less than ideal. If the season would start today, the Hawks’ d-pairings would look something like this:

Keith-Murphy 

De Haan-Seabrook 

Maatta-Gustafsson 

Keep in mind the Hawks till need to make a few moves to get under the cap. Also, that d-unit isn’t very good. In fact, it stinks. It could use a young player…say Henri Jokiharju? Oh wait, he’s gone now. 

Listen, I somewhat get the logic behind this move. 

Bowman needed to make a decision between Jokiharju, Boqvist and Mitchell. There was A TON of talk last about how Jokiharju was going to win rookie of the year and that he was going to help the Blackhawks’ defense turn things around and blah, blah. 

That all changed when coach Q was fired. For whatever reason, Colliton’s system didn’t really work for Jokiharju, at least at first anyway. Still, when your one injury away from having Patrick Kane play defense, you probably shouldn’t trade a young d-man when you’re trying to salvage something for Kane and Toews. 

Yes, again, it comes down to Kane and Toews because those are the only two players that matter right now. Getting them back into the playoffs needs to be priority No. 1 right now, and it’s clearly not. 

Kudos to Stan, for building, what feels like a promising team for the future. Sorry, that’s not what matters right now. 

Let’s also stop hating on Alexander Nylander as well. Like Dylan Strome, Nylander has underperformed since being drafted No. 8 overall in 2016. The hope is a change of scenery and a new, young, offensive minded head coach can get the most out of his game. 

It’s safe to say the talent is there. 

Nylander can do just about anything on the ice and with the puck. His upside is a top six forward in the NHL. Someone who could potentially play with Toews on the top line. Hell, it would be fun to see Nylander-Toews-Kane at some point next season. 

Clearly, the Blackhawks had questions about Jokiharju. Still, it’s tough to give up a potential core d-man when you don’t have one or two that have already proved themselves in the NHL. Let’s not forget that their current unit is dicey, at best. 

I hope the Hawks avoid extending Bowman. At this point he doesn’t deserve one, especially if the team misses the playoffs for the third consecutive year in the Toews and Kane era. Talk about a joke. 

If the Hawks don’t make the playoffs this season, Bowman should absolutely be fired. No questions asked. 

This trade, like the Strome deal, has the potential for a lot of upside. It also is a move that can get you fired. I’ll say this – Stan Bowman has balls, but how long before his risks ruin one of the greatest eras that professional hockey has ever seen?

Nick is the editor-in-chief at TheLoopSports.com & owner of TheChalkTLS.com. He is also a Chicago Sports fanatic. For more fun, follow him on Twitter @PetroTLS

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Nick is the editor-in-chief at TheLoopSports.com & owner of TheChalkTLS.com. He also is a fantasy sports junkie, DFS player, and prop play guru. He considers himself a football expert but dabbles in a bit of everything, including trying to sell his own "soul" on eBay. For more fun, follow him on Twitter @PetroTLS. 

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