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Blackhawks trade Ville Pokka to Senators

An unceremonious end to a disappointing prospect’s time with the Hawks.

NHL: Preseason-Columbus Blue Jackets at Chicago Blackhawks Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks have traded young defenseman Ville Pokka to the Ottawa Senators for center Chris DiDomenico, the team announced Thursday. The move ends Pokka’s tenure in the organization without ever appearing in an NHL regular season game.

The Blackhawks acquired Pokka a few years ago as part of the deal tat shipped Nick Leddy to the New York Islanders. He was considered the centerpiece to the trade and remained one of Chicago’s top prospects for years, but failed to earn an opportunity at the top level.

Over the past few seasons, the Blackhawks have consistently passed Pokka over in favor of other young blue liners. Gustav Forsling, Jordan Oesterle, Michal Kempny, Erik Gustafsson, Viktor Svedberg, and Carl Dahlstrom are just a handful of the defensemen who got NHL opportunities before Pokka.

Now the team has shipped him out for a player who cleared waivers on the same day. It’s a major fall from grace that shows how little value Pokka had to the Hawks and other teams.

If you’re wondering why the Blackhawks would trade for a player who just cleared waivers, the answer lies in the fact that he’s already been assigned to Rockford. If the Blackhawks claimed him off waivers, he would’ve needed to go through waivers again in order to be sent to the AHL. But by trading Pokka for him, he can go straight to the IceHogs.