Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was active early and often in the 2016 NHL trade deadline season. Bowman started making his moves before most other teams, getting three big deals done in 24 hours on Thursday and Friday. Bowman used the most of his cap space and assets to help improve his team without having to sacrifice much from their existing NHL roster. Here's a breakdown of each move the Blackhawks made at this year's trade deadline.
Andrew Ladd (Feb. 25)
Blackhawks receive: F Andrew Ladd (36% salary retained), F Matt Fraser, D Jay Harrison
Jets receive: F Marko Dano, 2016 first-round pick, 2018 conditional pick
The good: The Blackhawks addressed one of the most glaring holes in their roster by adding Ladd to play the top line left wing with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. Ladd's familiarity with and fit in Joel Quenneville's system is undeniable and made him their number one trade target. He is the perfect fit for what the Blackhawks needed in a top line winger -- he plays a strong two-way game, has a good scoring touch, and can create pressure in front of the net. This move will certainly help the Blackhawks down the stretch and into the playoffs.
The bad: The price. In a vacuum, giving up a first-round pick is not the end of the world, but when you consider that the Hawks also don't have a second-round pick this year, losing that pick hurts a lot more. The real hurt here comes from losing Dano, though. The 21-year-old winger was one of the Blackhawks top prospects after being acquired from Columbus in June, and was considered by many to be a future core player. Having to trade him to a division rival for a rental is a tough pill to sallow.
The grade: B+. Bowman identified his man early on, and he went out and got him. This move may have a bit of a negative impact on the future of the team, but its made them a better team now, and that's clearly where the organization's mindset lies.
Christian Ehrhoff (Feb. 26)
Blackhawks receive: D Christian Ehrhoff (15% retained salary)
Kings receive: D Rob Scuderi (50% retained salary)
The good: Getting rid of Scuderi is a huge benefit for the Blackhawks. The 37-year-old defenseman was an ill-advised experiment gone horribly wrong during his time in Chicago before being waived and sent to the AHL. The Blackhawks were able to turn him into Ehrhoff, who is the type of player they need to add to the blue line -- a strong skating, puck moving defenseman. Ehrhoff has been struggled with concussions in recent years and didn't find a fit in LA, but he's likely to fit better in Qunneville's system, and will have a very limited, sheltered role.
The bad: Having to retain half of Scuderi's salary, in some ways, defeats the entire purpose of trying to move him. They still have to pay him more than a million dollars next season, and really only save around $200,000 in cap space compared to storing him in the AHL last season. But hey he's gone so let's not complain too much.
The grade: A. Rob Scuderi is gone, even if his contact isn't. Bowman was able to dump him off on the Kings, which is perfect because they are arguably the Blackhawks biggest competition in the Western Conference. Ehrhoff could prove to be a very effective player for the Hawks, and even if he doens't he will be gone after this season. If he does, he'll likely be cheap to re-sign. It's a low risk move from Bowman with the potential for a big reward.
Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann (Feb. 26)
The good: This trade sets Chicago up as one with one of the NHL's deepest forward groups. Weise and Fleischmann played together on a line in Montreal, so their chemistry should help them as they adjust to playing in Chicago. They will likely slot into a line centered by Teuvo Teravainen and be used as Joel Quenneville's scoring third line, which should help all parties involved increase their production. Both players can kill penalties as well, so there's a lot of flexibility for Quenneville to take advantage of. The draft pick Chicago sent to Montreal isn't until 2018, so there's plenty of time to acquire another second-round pick or a few mid round picks to offset that.
The bad: This is another case of losing a good young player and a draft pick in exchange for winning now. Danault is a good young player with a lot of promise. Unfortunately, given his age, lack of NHL experience until this season, and organizational depth at center, it was hard to imagine him becoming much more than a bottom six player for the Blackhawks in the future. Furthermore, the presence of Marcus Kruger made him expendable, so his value as a trade asset became more than his value as a piece of the team's future. It also would've been nice to see Chicago acquire a depth defenseman in this deal.
The grade: B. Again, the Blackhawks are now set up as one of the NHL's deepest forward groups, if if not the deepest. Weise and "Flash" could end up being huge additions for the Blackhawks, so even with losing Danault and a future pick, this deal could work out in the Blackhawks favor in the end.
Overall grade: A-
The good: The Blackhawks addressed a lot of their needs and wants at this NHL trade deadline. They got a first line left wing in Ladd, added depth scoring and strong wingers for Teravainen, and added a potential solution to their blue line. They did all of this by trading just one roster player, one prospect, and two (maybe three) draft picks. That's excellent execution by Stan Bowman.
The bad: Chicago didn't exactly address their needs on the blue line in the way many would've preferred, and they might be banking hard on Ehrhoff working out. They also had to give up two of their better young players up in these deals, and two high round draft picks. If they win the Stanley Cup no one will question these trades too much, but if they don't it could end up looking very bad for the Blackhawks.
Adam Hess is a staff writer at Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter at @_adamhess.