With a multi-year rebuild ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks, this season’s games are not the most meaningful. There’s a good chance none of the players in the opening lineup for the Blackhawks will be a part of the team when they’re contending again.
With a different on-ice strategy comes a different recap strategy for this site. One of the most important things to track this season will be trade values of the current players, though only some of them are truly available.
So, which ones are most likely to be traded right now? That’s who should be tracked, as their value is something teams around the league may actually be gauging. There are roughly 4-7 players who could be gone by this season’s trade deadline:
Andreas Athanasiou, Max Domi, Jack Johnson, Patrick Kane, Jujhar Khaira, Petr Mrazek and Jonathan Toews.
Or, presented in graphical format:
Throughout the season, those players will be graded on the “Brouwer Line,” also known as the “Hartman Horizontal,” the “DeBrincat Derivative” or the “Dach Directrix.” It’s how likely a player is to fetch at least a first-round pick, which all of those players did when the Blackhawks traded them.
Currently, the only sure-fire first-round return would be for Patrick Kane. While Max Domi could be in line for a first-rounder later this season if he performs — and he’ll get every chance while paired with Kane. Other players (see Johnson, Jack) are less likely to fetch that kind of return.
I know what you must be thinking: “JeHossa, where’s this player? Where’s that player? Why aren’t they considered trade bait?”
Let’s clarify a few things. First, the Blackhawks were given pieces to take Tyler Johnson. After a surgery that’s only been performed on him and Jack Eichel in NHL history — neither of whom played particularly well last season — that value has not gone up.
Colin Blackwell, Sam Lafferty and Taylor Raddysh are all on multi-year deals. While it may make some sense to trade one of them if they’re performing well this season, it makes more sense to do so next season. You still need players for the 2023-24 roster and we don’t honestly know when Frankie Naz (this is his name) will be available (after all, maybe the guy wants to graduate college).
I highly doubt the Blackhawks trade one of their multi-year signed veteran defensemen, either. Connor Murphy is valuable to me and to LBR, but after last season, has likely lost value to NHL front offices. Jake McCabe similarly performed less than stellar.
So those seven players presented then are there because they’re on short-term contracts, could have some value to NHL front offices and would bring the Blackhawks some measure of return that would make the trade worth it.
Even Jack Johnson could still be valuable (albeit likely not first-round valuable), if he’s doing slightly well by the midseason, as he’s coming off a Cup-winning roster and is now a guy with a ring who would increase “rings in the room” for a team missing defensive depth. Everybody needs their Michal Roszival or Kimmo Timonen.
On Mrazek, I have confidence he’s not the .888 guy he was last season in Toronto. His save percentages before the 2021-22 season, impacted both by an injury the season before and still impacted by COVID, were .923, .905 and .914. His career save percentage is .909 and I believe he’s somewhere near there instead of where he was last year with the Leafs.
If he’s good this season the Blackhawks need to move quickly. Can’t have a goaltender ruin the tank — just look at how that’s gone for New Jersey.
This graphic will re-appear often throughout the season and is subject to change on a game-by-game basis. It’s also something that should definitely be taken as 100,000 percent serious, all of the time, every time.