The Chicago Blackhawks traded AHL forwards Spencer Abbott and Sam Carrick to the Anaheim Ducks for prospect Kenton Helgesen and a seventh-round pick before the trade deadline, the team announced Wednesday.
The move came in right at the buzzer, as we’re well past the 2 p.m. CT deadline for deals. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun was the first to report a minor league move was in the works, and TSN’s Darren Dreger came in a bit later with the details.
Abbott and Carrick, who were both signed as free agents last summer, have played key roles in Rockford this season. Abbott leads the team in scoring with 15 goals and 20 assists in 53 games, and Carrick is tied for second in points with 28 in 57 games. They’ll help Anaheim’s AHL affiliate, the San Diego Gulls, in their playoff run, which is something the IceHogs don’t have a chance at this season.
Other than a one-game audition by Abbott, neither player was ever a factor at the NHL level in Chicago, and they’re both free agents in the summer. So rather than try to re-sign them, Bowman took on an older project in Helgesen and added to his stockpile of draft picks with a seventh-rounder.
Helgesen, 22, was drafted as a defenseman in the seventh round of the 2012 draft, but he’s been playing left wing with the Utah Grizzlies in the ECHL this season. He’s recorded three goals and 10 assists in 38 games, which doesn’t exactly scream NHL potential for someone his age.
The main catch was presumably the draft pick, though, as nobody has drafted more players than the Blackhawks in the past 10 years, and that’s because of moves like this one. Having all those picks also makes it easier to take shots on players, such as Tomas Jurco.
It was a quiet deadline day for the Blackhawks, who made their biggest moves earlier in the week. The team added Tomas Jurco from the Red Wings to bolster its forward depth, then made a bigger splash by bringing back Johnny Oduya in a deal with the Stars.
This move isn’t going to impact the 2016-17 team like the Jurco and Oduya additions, but it’s another example of GM Stan Bowman keeping the pieces in motion. By adding a seventh-round pick in exchange for two AHL players on expiring contracts, this looks like a pretty nifty little move to keep adding lottery tickets to the cupboard.