Can you believe the NHL trade deadline is only six weeks away? Even though the Blackhawks may be in a bit of a slump, there’s no doubt they’ll once again be in the playoff picture, meaning that there should be many possibilities for them come trade deadline day.
Satchel already went into the many different ways the Hawks can tackle this year’s trade deadline but I thought it would be fun to look at who might be available if the Hawks do decide to trade for a player. Even though there might only be a few teams who’ll definitely be selling by deadline day, there’ll still be plenty of options and potential deals to make.
We’ve already heard a few names pop up in rumors, including Gabriel Landeskog and Jarome Iginla of the Avalanche and James van Riemsdyk of the Maple Leafs. Another intriguing name, Dallas forward Patrick Sharp, came up Wednesday, although that seemed like speculation from Elliotte Friedman as much as anything.
Those four represent some of the players who could be targets for the Hawks at the deadline, but they’ll surely cast a wide net looking for upgrades. With that in mind, here are four more players who could be interesting fits if the guys listed above don’t work out.
Since the start of free agency in the summer, I kept saying that Radim Vrbata would make a good pickup for any team and so far he’s done quite well in the desert since signing with the Coyotes. With 10 goals and 18 assists in only 43 games, Vrbata has already passed his totals from last year and looks to break the 50-point mark for the fifth time in his career.
Playing around 17 minutes a night for the Coyotes, Vrbata could add some scoring to the bottom-six or even help chip in on the top two lines. It was only two seasons ago that Vrbata tallied 63 points while playing with the Sedin twins in Vancouver, giving the Hawks the possibilities to move him anywhere throughout the lineup. With only a $1 million cap hit (and potentially $2 million in performance bonuses), acquiring Vrbata could be a good underrated move for Chicago.
As probably the most notable name to really be available at the trade deadline, Thomas Vanek will instantly boost any team’s offense. After a down year in Minnesota that only saw him score 41 points in 74 games (and led to him being bought out by the club), Vanek has enjoyed quite the resurgence in Detroit.
Even though he’s only averaging a little over 15 minutes a game with the Red Wings, Vanek has posted 12 goals and 18 assists in only 33 games, good for the 16th-highest points-per-game rate in the NHL. Carrying a cap hit of only $2.6 million, Chicago would have no problem fitting him in under the cap. The cost to get Vanek will no doubt be a bit high but if the Blackhawks do decide to go for it again this season, adding Vanek could go a long ways to getting better for the playoffs.
Even though he isn’t the flashiest name, Parenteau could make a good deadline pickup for those looking to add to their forward depth. Ideally Parenteau would be acquired to inject some scoring into the bottom-six but he has shown some serious offensive potential in the past, opening up the possibility of him playing on the top two lines if need be.
During his time with the Islanders, Parenteau tallied 120 points in only 161 games while with the Avalanche he scored 76 points in 103 games. On an affordable one-year, $1.25 million contract, Parenteau could be a good depth scorer come playoff time.
It’s unclear what the Coyotes will want to do with Hanzal (they might try to resign him instead of trade him at the deadline) but he could be an interesting option for any team at the trade deadline.
This season he’s had a bit of a down year with only 15 points in 37 games, but in the past three seasons before that, Hanzal averaged at least a 50-point pace in every season. Similar to when the Hawks acquired Antoine Vermette, trading for Hanzal would give the team formidable center depth, allowing Marcus Kruger to center a defensively-sound fourth line while Hanzal centers a more offensively talented third line.