Blackhawks open to trading top defensive prospects, per report

Nicolas Beaudin, Adam Boqvist, Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are not off the table.

The Blackhawks are open to the idea of trading one of their prized defensive prospects in Nicolas Beaudin, Adam Boqvist, Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell, reports Jay Zawaski of 670 The Score in Chicago.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has drafted the Four Horsemen in the first two rounds of the last two drafts, with Mitchell being the lone second-round pick in 2017. Boqvist, Jokiharju and Mitchell are all right-handed shots, while Beaudin is the lone lefty among the group.

Veteran defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook both have no-movement clauses, and would have to agree to waive them in order to be traded. Reports surfaced earlier this month that the Blackhawks had or intended to ask both of them to waive their NMCs. When asked about it Keith said “nobody’s mentioned anything to me,” and Seabrook also refuted the report that he had been asked.

Chicago currently has three right-handed defensemen on its roster: Connor Murphy, Jokiharju and Seabrook. Murphy, who is a more defensive-orientated blue liner, has three years left on his contract with a $3.85 million salary cap hit.

Among the Four Horsemen in the defensive stable, only Jokiharju has played in the NHL let alone professional hockey. The 19-year-old Finnish blue liner has no goals and 12 assists in 37 NHL games. Mitchell, largely believed to be the most NHL-ready of the three others, has 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in 25 games during his sophomore season at the University of Denver. The now 20-year-old tallied a goal and two assists in five games while playing top-four minutes for Canada at the World Junior Championship tournament.

Beaudin and Boqvist are both lighting up the scoresheet for their respective junior teams in the Canadian Hockey League. Beaudin ranks second among QMJHL blue liners in assists (47) and points (54) in 45 games for Drummondville, while Boqvist is seventh among OHL defensemen in points (50). The 18-year-old Boqvist, who was drafted eighth overall in last year’s draft, had one goal and three assists in five games for Sweden at the World Juniors. Beaudin, however, was cut from Canada’s training camp for the event.

The NHL trade deadline is 2 p.m. Central time Monday.