The Chicago Blackhawks have traded defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman Connor Murphy and forward Laurent Dauphin, the team announced. The move comes just before the start of the entry draft in Chicago on Friday night.
"Niklas' contributions to the three Stanley Cup championship teams are well known but his dependability as a teammate, selfless attitude and the way he represented the Chicago Blackhawks on and off the ice are what made him such a beloved member of the organization," said GM Stan Bowman in a statement.
Hjalmarsson, 30, has two years at a $4.1 million cap hit remaining on his contract. He’s regarded as one of the best defensive defensemen in the NHL. Last season, he recorded 18 points in 73 games. As a left-handed blue liner, he often plays his offside, which gives him extra versatility.
The Blackhawks get two younger players in Murphy and Dauphin for Hjalmarsson.
Murphy, 24, is a 2011 first-round pick who has emerged as a top-four defenseman for Arizona. He’s in the second year of a six-year contract that includes a $3.85 million cap hit, so the salary cap savings here going from Hjalmarsson to Murphy are actually minimal. This was a hockey move, not a cap one.
The Hawks also get Dauphin, a 22-year-old forward with minimal NHL experience. Dauphin recorded 28 points in 38 AHL games last season, and could emerge as a cheap bottom-six option for Chicago next season.