June 13, 2017
Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has a very tough few weeks ahead of him as he will once again have to make some major moves to get his roster under the NHL’s hard salary cap. Even with the rumored trade/expansion draft selection of Marcus Kruger and Trevor van Riemsdyk the Hawks will still be right up against the cap while still needing to sign a backup goaltender and at least one more forward.
This has led to a ton of trade speculation, including a lot buzz about a “core player” being traded. We have had heard numerous rumors over the past few days about either Brent Seabrook or Niklas Hjalmarsson getting moved. We have even had trade talk about Artem Anisimov, but if Kruger is all but gone trading another center makes very little sense.
The Blackhawks current “core players” right now includes Anisimov, Corey Crawford, Hjalmarsson, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Artemi Panarin, Seabrook and Jonathan Toews. Jay Zawaski’s original report said Toews is not being traded and after sending Scott Darling to the Carolina Hurricanes the Blackhawks are not trading Crawford.
Another issue when looking at this group is that every player except one has either a modified or a full no-movement clause in their contract. Various insiders have reported over the past couple of days that Bowman has not asked any player to waive their clause.
That leaves just one player remaining…….Artemi Panarin.
While trading Panarin is less than ideal, it might make the most sense at this time. The Blackhawks will be very inexperienced on the blue line next season so losing a Seabrook or Hjalmarsson could be disastrous considering how much Joel Quenneville enjoys playing young defensemen.
The Blackhawks have more options at forward within the organization right now than on defense. Plus, trading Panarin will give Bowman major cap relief and a huge return. There is no doubt Bowman could get a monster haul for Panarin, much better than for say Seabrook or a Hossa.
While I am not advocating actually trading Panarin, it might be Bowman’s easiest and most rewarding option.