We all know how rumours have been getting louder in Chicago ever since general manager Stan Bowman sent out a letter to the season-ticket holders to let them know the team was committed to a rebuild after trading winger Brandon Saad and allowing veteran goaltender Corey Crawford to leave in free agency this month. The decision was especially hard to swallow for players like captain Jonathan Toews, star forward Patrick and veteran defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.
While it is believed that these star players are set to stay with the team and are on board in this rebuilding process and mentor younger players, we wonder if one of them will be tempted to ask for a trade now that team insider Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Sports explained how the Hawks could address a surplus of players on their roster if everyone is healthy to start the season.
If Dylan Strome is re-signed and Andrew Shaw and Zack Smith are both medically cleared to play, the Blackhawks will have 15 forwards for just 12 spots available. A healthy Brent Seabrook will also result in a crowded blue line with prospects like Ian Mitchell and Wyatt Kalynuk hoping to crack the roster.
That means a trade will happen to take place.
Roumeliotis does not put any name down on the table for which player could be pushed out the door or maybe if someone will “volunteer” to be traded elsewhere. Here is how the team insider prudently puts it:
“[It] appears to be that the Blackhawks will let training camp sort itself out before they start penciling in their Opening Night roster. If somebody clearly gets squeezed out, that’s when a trade could be explored.”
We somewhat got the feeling in the past months that Shaw (head) and Smith (back) were heading to the long-term injury reserve. That would indeed help the Hawks.
As for Seabrook, he claims that he is fully recovered from shoulder and hip surgeries and intends to play.
Let’s see how crowded it gets on the full roster and if a trade must take place. The Hawks go seek a draft pick or prospect if they go that route.
It has been a tough couple of years from the Hawks, who still managed to defeat the Edmonton Oilers in the qualifying round of this year’s playoffs before falling to the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. However, no one can ignore the fact that the Blackhawks have not advanced past the first round of the postseason since winning the Stanley Cup in 2015.