Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Two Teams The Blackhawks Could Take Advantage Of In Trade Talks


From the beginning of GM Kyle Davidson’s tenure with the Blackhawks, he’s made it clear that his intention is to weaponize the Blackhawks’ cap space. He’s got a lot of wiggle room, as Chicago has almost $42 million in space, almost $3 million ahead of the Ducks at second-most. In any salary cap league, including the NHL, cap space can be a GM’s best friend or his worst enemy. In the Blackhawks’ situation this offseason, that cap space can be used to pry bloated contracts from teams where finances are tight and be able to extend their own players when the time is right. Last year, for example, players like Nikita Zaitsev were brought aboard, and the Blackhawks were able to acquire talent for a roster that desperately needed it while simultaneously building up a barrage of draft picks.

This offseason, there are several teams with limited available resources that Davidson and the Blackhawks could take advantage of. As they look to potentially make a trade to bolster their roster, these teams may be primary targets.

Vancouver Canucks

When attempting to take on large contracts from cap-needy teams, the first team that comes to mind is easily the Canucks. The only team currently above the salary cap ceiling, Vancouver currently projects $668,750 over the cap, according to CapFriendly. While the Canucks currently sit in the 11th slot in the NHL Draft in June, the Blackhawks have made it very clear that they’d like to trade up into that area with their second first-rounder at 19th overall. The pick swap, along with taking a cap dump from the Canucks, would make all too much sense for both sides.

With four second-rounders at their disposal, the Blackhawks wouldn’t need to take a massive contract like Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s (4 years remaining, $7.26 million annual cap hit) to make the deal happen. That would be a hard no from Davidson, who’s stated in the past that he wants to maintain his team’s cap flexibility down the road. Instead, the Canucks could send over the contract of a player like Tyler Myers, who will earn $6 million this season but then will hit unrestricted free agency. The 33-year-old likely wouldn’t offer much productivity on the defensive line, but the Blackhawks have the space to make it work.

New Jersey Devils

According to CapFriendly, the Devils have almost $50 million in cap hit already, with only 12 players locked up. Nine contracts on the offensive front alone expire this summer, and the team will have to resign a few big names as well, including Jesper Bratt and Timo Meier. There will be more than a few cap casualties in New Jersey, and the Blackhawks should take advantage.

Unlike the hypothetical Canucks deal, the Blackhawks can’t move up in the first round in a “deal with the devil”(s), as the team is without their first and third-round picks. However, there’s plenty of talent to grab from this team, including players like Yegor Sharangovich and Jesper Boqvist.

With Davidson and the Blackhawks set to play cap games this summer, priority number one is maintaining flexibility. The Hawks have one of the strongest prospect pools in the NHL coming up, led by 17-year-old Connor Bedard, and they’ll hopefully need to sign some big contracts a year or two down the road. However, it’s always smart to fill up their cap space with short-term deals, offloading those deals from teams that are tight on room, and gaining value, whether in talent or in the draft, in return.


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Big Mark
Big Mark
May 26, 2023 5:05 pm

I love the idea to trade up to #11 with Vancouver, if this can be done with one 2nd round pick, and a $6M D-man cap hit for one season. The Hawks are doubtfully going to the playoffs next year.

Rose Chrissy
Rose Chrissy
May 26, 2023 11:50 am

talent or in the draft, in return

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