The Blackhawks have “no interest” in trading defenseman Erik Gustafsson, a source tells Scott Powers of The Athletic.
The offensive-minded blue liner picked up two primary assists in Chicago’s 5-3 loss to the Avalanche on Friday night at the United Center to extend his point total to 43. The left-handed defenseman’s 12 goals and 43 points rank sixth and 10th in the league, respectively. It is Gustafsson’s first full NHL season after splitting time the past two seasons between Chicago and its AHL affiliate in Rockford.
Powers’ report comes only four days after Mark Lazerus of The Athletic said a source told him “at least 10 teams have expressed interest in Gustafsson.” The Blackhawks signed the 26-year-old to a two-year contract with a $1.2 million salary cap hit last March.
Speculation mounted in January that the Blackhawks might be sellers at the NHL trade deadline (2 p.m. Monday) because they were at hovering near the bottom of the league standings. Gustafsson, who has played a key role to the team’s success on the power play, was touted as a potential trade candidate given what the Blackhawks could receive in return from a team looking for an offensive spark heading into the playoffs.
The Blackhawks, however, have won 11 of their last 14 and are in the playoff hunt. They sit at 61 points just three points back of Minnesota for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference prior to Saturday’s games.