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Who stays? Who goes? A Blackhawks trade deadline primer

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We run down the Blackhawks active roster to see who may (or may not) be on the move by Monday’s deadline.

Dallas Stars v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL’s 2021 trade deadline is set for this Monday at 3 p.m. ET, although the Blackhawks didn’t wait for that final day to arrive before making a pair of moves with the Panthers in the last week.

It’s a season unlike any other which means the trade deadline — like everything else — has its potential for weirdness. Chicago seems like it won’t be too heavily involved in whatever proceedings happen Monday, as teams with a more long-term focus such as the Blackhawks usually don’t load up at the deadline. Anyone in Chicago dreaming of this year’s apparent trade deadline prize — Buffalo forward Taylor Hall — heading to 1901 W. Madison will only experience that in their sleep.

What of the Blackhawks current roster, though? Who’s potential trade fodder and who’s a lock to be still be with this team late Monday afternoon? Let’s dive in with an examination of all the players currently on the active roster or taxi squad:

Not going anywhere

  • RW Patrick Kane
  • LW Alex DeBrincat
  • LW Dominik Kubalik
  • C Kirby Dach
  • D Adam Boqvist
  • D Duncan Keith
  • G Kevin Lankinen

Hockey fans love to tout the Wayne Gretzky trade as evidence that no player is truly “untouchable.” But it took a perfect set of circumstances for him to be traded. It’s hard to envision a scenario where any of the players above are included in a deal by Monday.

Probably not going anywhere

  • C/LW Pius Suter
  • C/RW Vinnie Hinostroza
  • C David Kampf
  • LW Brandon Hagel
  • LW/C Philipp Kurashev
  • RW/LW Brett Connolly
  • LW/RW Mike Hardman
  • D Connor Murphy
  • D Wyatt Kalynuk
  • D Alec Regula
  • D Riley Stillman
  • G Malcolm Subban

The majority of these players are younger ones who’ve emerged during the 2021 season and have played well enough to warrant further evaluation as potential long-term fixtures in Chicago. The four players acquired from Florida in the last week are also on here because a second trade in a week seems unlikely. If Ian Mitchell was on the active roster, he’d be in this group as well.

Potential trade pieces

The following players are ones who may not be actively shopped on the trade market by GM Stan Bowman but could garner attention from other GMs across the league:

  • C/W Dylan Strome
  • C/W Ryan Carpenter
  • D Calvin de Haan
  • D Nikita Zadorov
  • Madison Bowey
  • G Collin Delia

This is where things start to get interesting.

Strome is on a cheap contract ($3 million AAV) through this season and the next, with the pedigree of a No. 3 overall pick that would likely catch some GM’s eye. With only 11 points (7 G, 4 A) in 29 games this season, though, he hasn’t exactly cemented his long-term status with this franchise.

Carpenter is the type of solid fourth-line veteran that contending teams add to fill out their roster (think John Madden to Chicago in 2010). At $1 million AAV through 2022, he’s also affordable. But he can also ply that trade in Chicago. Fourth-liners tend to have a nomadic existence.

On the blue line, Zadorov is on an expiring contract, which makes him a more attractive option for a GM who thinks they can get useful minutes from the big man. Although de Haan’s contract lasts for one more season, the popular theory in Chicago of exposing him to the upcoming expansion draft for Seattle could be applied elsewhere. The values for each of these players is not exactly at all-time high levels, though.

A similar philosophy related to the expansion draft can be applied to Bowey, although his value — he’s played in just two games this season — is minimal.

In net, Delia has clearly fallen behind Lankinen and Subban on the depth chart. Should some other team believe they can use a 26-year-old goalie with 20 games of NHL experience and an affordable $1 million cap hit, Delia could be on the move. And Delia may be interested in a new organization with the way his playing time disappeared this season.

Most likely trade pieces

  • C Carl Soderberg
  • C/LW Mattias Janmark
  • LW/RW Matthew Highmore

Janmark might be the most valued chip Bowman has at the deadline as a veteran winger with playoff experience and an expiring contract. His mild regression of late (just one point the last 10 games) may have hurt his value while making it less likely he’s a long-term option in Chicago, but there are probably teams who could use Janmark’s services, should Bowman elect to move him.

Soderberg was signed after the long-term absences of Dach and Jonathan Toews were announced, so he may not even be in Chicago had those two not been sidelined. Now that Dach’s back, Soderberg’s playing time has disappeared — he hasn’t played since April 1. At 35, Soderberg’s value isn’t sky-high, but he’s only two seasons removed from scoring 49 points in 82 games.

The emergence of Hagel has left Highmore as the odd man out on the fourth line. Unless other players above him are moved, it’s hard to see where Highmore fits in Chicago’s plans for the short and long-term, which lends itself to trade speculation such as this.