The Chicago Blackhawks are "actively seeking" to acquire a defenseman via trade, according to the Chicago Tribune's Chris Kuc. The report has also been confirmed by 670 The Score's Jay Zawaski, who adds that the team would likely be targeting a bottom-pairing option to add an underwhelming group.
The Hawks have started the 2015-16 season with Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Trevor Daley, David Rundblad and Viktor Svedberg as their seven defensemen. The top three are obviously stalwarts on the roster, but beyond that, there are still some things to sort out early in the season.
TVR scored his first NHL goal Saturday night against the Islanders and has looked better after an ugly debut next to Daley, who's been a work-in-progress so far. Those five guys seem safe, but with Rundblad and Svedberg rotating in the sixth spot early on, the team could be hoping to add another option there.
The current alternatives in the system are Ville Pokka, Erik Gustafsson and the still-recovering Michal Rozsival. With all that in mind, you can see why the Hawks would at least ask around and see if there's any way they can improve the situation. Zawaski mentioned a waiver claim as another possibility, too.
It's worth remembering that the salary cap will continue to tie the Hawks' hands, though. The team currently has $350,000 in salary cap space, per General Fanager, so even if Svedberg is demoted to Rockford, you're still only talking about $925,000 in free space to fit a new player. Maybe the team tries again at swapping Bickell's contract for another highly paid player who plays on the blue line. Still, unless this turns out to be a much bigger move than it sounds like, expectations should be tempered as to what kind of player the team could add.
The Hawks already went last season without a complete complement of steady defensemen, so it sounds like they're trying to be proactive this time around in avoiding that. Keith and company need their legs later in the year after all. We'll see if anything comes of this or the team sticks with what's in house.