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Blackhawks trading down from No. 3 overall in NHL draft would be unprecedented in salary cap era

Eight trades have been made with top 10 picks since 2005, but none have been done in the top four.

NHL: NHL Draft David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Each year without fail there’s talk from fans about wanting their favorite team to trade up or down in the first round of the NHL draft.

Last year, there was speculation about whether the Canadiens would trade down from No. 3 due to the lack of a top center being ranked in the top five. Montreal kept the pick and selected Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who was ranked No. 6 among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting. Kotkaniemi made the team out of training camp and scored 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) in 79 games.

The NHL draft is a popular time for trades to happen with all 31 teams in one place and building their organizations for the future. It’s an exciting time to see what teams do and how it’ll set them up for next season and for when free agency begins July 1.

Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley said May 31 at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo that any talks about trading down from the No. 3 overall pick would happen in the final week before the trade. This is the only mention of trading down from anyone in the organization. There also have been no reports or rumors about the Blackhawks trading down.

But how often have top 10 picks been traded?

In the salary cap era, eight trades have made with top 10 picks but none have been done in the top four.

(Note: This tweet is from before the 2018 draft, and there were no trades made in the top 10 last year.)

The Panthers were the last team to trade down with a top-three pick, moving down from first overall to No. 3 in a swap with the Penguins in 2003. Florida sent the first pick (Marc-Andre Fleury) and No. 73 pick (Daniel Carcillo) to Pittsburgh for the third pick (Nathan Horton), No. 55 pick (Stefan Meyer) and Mikael Samuelsson.

Rick Dudley, obviously, regrets that move.

What’s Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman’s history of trading in the first round?

This year’s draft will be the ninth for Chicago under general manager Stan Bowman. The Blackhawks have selected nine first-round picks and made five trades, including four the day of the draft, in the first round with Bowman.

In 2010, the Blackhawks selected Kevin Hayes at No. 24 with one of the picks they acquired the day before the draft in an eight-player trade with Atlanta. Bowman wasn’t done though as the next day he traded Chicago’s own first-round pick (No. 30, Brock Nelson) to the Islanders for two second-round picks (Ludvig Rensfeldt and Kent Simpson).

Bowman’s next three trades in the first round were also done the day of the draft.

In 2011, he sent Troy Brouwer to the Capitals in exchange for the No. 26 pick, which he used to select Phillip Danault. Three years later, the Blackhawks moved up seven spots to take Nick Schmaltz at No. 20. The Blackhawks acquired that pick and the 179th overall pick (Ivan Nalimov) from the Sharks in exchange for the 27th (Nikolay Goldobin) and 62nd picks (Justin Kirkland).

Bowman didn’t have a first-round pick the next two years due to trades done at the deadline. He did have one in 2017 with the draft in Chicago and he moved back three spots in a trade with Dallas that also netted a third-round pick, which was used to select Andrei Altybarmakyan.

Could Bowman pull the trigger and trade down?

Yes, but it would be unprecedented for him to do so in the first round with a top 10 pick in the salary cap era. If Bowman is entertaining the idea of trading down he’ll be facing some big questions:


Do you think Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman will trade down in the first round?

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