Coming into the 2017-2018 NHL trade deadline the Chicago Blackhawks found them in a situation they haven’t found themselves in over a decade, sellers at the trade deadline. The problem being the ‘Hawks didn’t seem to have a ton of assets to move at the deadline, aside from some depth forwards such as Tommy Wingels, Lance Bouma and Patrick Sharp. One name that popped up as we neared the trade deadline was forward Ryan Hartman, who had noticeably struggled a year removed from a 19 goal season. The ask according to hockey insiders for Hartman was a first round pick plus which seemed like a high price for someone who seems to be a bottom six forward.
Enter the Nashville Predator, who according to ‘Hawks general manager, blew the ‘Hawks away with a deal for Hartman and a 5th round pick for Nashville’s 1st round pick, a 4th round pick and forward prospect Victor Ejdsell. With the acquisition of Hartman the Predators look to be loading up for another Stanley Cup final run and paid a heavy price for it and only time will tell if the known commodity of Hartman out weights the unknowns of draft picks or the undrafted free agent Ejdsell.
According to reports the ‘Hawks attempted to sign Ejdsell last season after his MVP season in the Swedish Elite’s second league and has continued to play extremely well in the SHL with HV71 putting up 30 points in 44 games. In post deadline press conference Bowman eluded that Ejdsell could possibly be in North America next season but need to get him into camp before they make that determination.
The Blackhawks weren’t done as they made a deal right at the 3pm ET deadline in which they sent energy forward Tommy Wingels to the Boston Bruins for a conditional 5th round pick, the condition being if the Bruins make it out of the first round of the playoffs or Wingels resigns with the Bruins the ‘Hawks would then receive a 4th round pick instead. This is a deal that is pretty cut and dry, Wingels has been a great player for the ‘Hawks and has filled a ton of roles for them, however he is a UFA at the end of the season and although it sounds like there is a good chance the ‘Hawks bring him back why not gain an asset for the future?
The final piece of news on the Blackhawks front today was the recalling of forward Matthew Highmore for their AHL affiliate the Rockford Ice Hogs. Highmore has had a great first pro season leading the Ice Hogs in goal scoring with 21 goals and 35 total points. Highmore free agent signed in the offseason as an overager from the QMJHL where he played for the Saint John’s Sea Dogs and an extremely productive season in which he led the Sea Dogs to the Memorial Cup.
As the season continues to play out and the ‘Hawks continue to fade from the playoff picture don’t be surprised to see players return from the AHL such as John Hayden and Gustav Forsling but also see some new faces such as Anthony Louis and even highly touted prospect Dylan Sikura who is currently finishing his season at Northeastern.
Although the ‘Hawks are poised to miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-2008 season, the future is not as bleak as many might paint it to be. The ‘Hawks will have cap room for the first time in years, a focus on developing team speed to catch up with the rest of the NHL and hopefully better luck with a healthy netminder. Even though playoff hockey is not in this teams future getting a chance to evaluate their future talent will keep watch Blackhawks hockey for the rest of the season.