The Chicago Blackhawks have no plans to trade any of their key rookies before the trade deadline, reports Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. GM Stan Bowman specifically mentioned Ryan Hartman, Nick Schmaltz, Vinnie Hinostroza, and Tanner Kero, with Friedman reporting, “At the very least, Bowman said none of them are getting traded.”
The news comes in another report where Bowman insists the Blackhawks won’t be aggressive at the trade deadline. A couple weeks ago, he told a reporter he wasn’t expecting any midseason deals, and talking to Friedman, he gave similar signals.
“We traded for Andrew Ladd last year because we needed a bigger piece,” Bowman said. “I don’t think we need to do that this year.”
The Blackhawks gave up loads of valuable assets (Marko Dano, Phillip Danault, a first-round pick, and a second-round pick) for a series of rentals last season. It didn’t pan out as the Hawks got knocked out by the Blues in the first round of the playoffs. Since then, the organization has initiated a youth movement by filling the lineup with several first-year players.
Hartman, Schmaltz, Hinostroza, Kero, and defenseman Gustav Forsling have all emerged as potentially key contributors this spring. It’s clear Bowman values that youth (and their cheap contracts), so he’s not going to screw up the team’s timeline by making more aggressive win-now moves.
None of this is to say that a trade definitely isn’t happening at the deadline. There are still two weeks until March 1, and a lot of moving pieces could yield an offer Bowman can’t refuse sometime soon. But it sounds like the costs on the trade market are high right now with so few sellers, and the team has already seen some improvement in-season from its rookies.
If anything, it’s more likely we see a deal involving lower draft picks and non-elite prospects such as Mark McNeill, although that would require something worth acquiring to be available at that price. Based on these reports, it doesn’t sound like Bowman will go out of his way to pay a premium to try to find a veteran upgrade.