We don’t always pass along rumors like this one, but it’s too juicy for us to totally ignore it. The Chicago Blackhawks need to make a big trade this offseason to clear up salary cap space, and 670 The Score’s Jay Zawaski reported Friday night a “core player” will be dealt soon.
So let’s try to unpack this before I go to try to enjoy a beautiful Saturday that’ll surely be interrupted by the big trade right when I crack open a beer.
Who might be a “core” player?
To me, this indicates it’s someone with a cap hit larger than Kruger. It’s one of the expensive veteran players that needed to be moved anyway in order to alleviate the team’s salary cap issues.
The most likely candidate is Brent Seabrook. Yes, he has a no-movement clause, but he’s by far the preferred trade option for the Blackhawks if possible. And given Seabrook’s still-strong reputation around the league, it’s conceivable that some team would be willing to take him on.
Given that Zawaski says the deal would be a salary dump for picks and/or prospects, it’s hard for me to see the deal involving a guy like Artemi Panarin or Niklas Hjalmarsson. Those are valuable pieces that theoretically should allow the Blackhawks to get NHL-ready pieces in return.
Seabrook, on the other hand, doesn’t hold so much value given his outsized contract, so it’d make sense if the only deal the Hawks could find would be a salary dump with an underwhelming return.
And while Zawaski crosses off Jonathan Toews’ name, but not Patrick Kane’s, it’s difficult to envision any scenario where the Blackhawks are willing to give up the 2016 Hart Trophy winner right now. Same goes for Duncan Keith and Marian Hossa — the latter partially due to his cap recapture penalty complicating the idea of a trade.
Still, take this with a grain of salt for now
Not that we should cast doubt over Zawaski’s credibility, but this is just one report based on a few sources from someone who typically does not break major news. Until we see the likes of Bob McKenzie or Pierre LeBrun reporting this stuff in detail, it’s reasonable to be skeptical about just how likely all this stuff is to play out.
But Zawaski has been right about reports in the past, and the logic here indicates that what he’s saying makes sense. This IS the kind of deal the Blackhawks need to make sooner or later, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that we’re getting inklings like this in mid-June.
If the Hawks can dump Marcus Kruger and Seabrook over the next week, that’d more or less fix their cap situation for the time being. It’s not a guarantee those are the two players, but it’d make a whole lot of sense.