Welcome to January. It’s time to start talking about March.
March 3, and the days and weeks leading up to it, could become a watershed moment for the Blackhawks. They could trade Patrick Kane, the most electrifying player in franchise history and perhaps the greatest American-born player in hockey history. They could trade Jonathan Toews, the embodiment of the Blackhawks’ golden age, the face, voice and captain of the franchise. And in return, they could land some draw capital that could potentially lead to the next Kane, the next Toews.
Or absolutely nothing could happen, which could be just as momentous.
But Kane and Toews aren’t the only Blackhawks who could be had before the March 3 trade deadline. General Manager Kyle Davidson is still in teardown mode so he can eventually go into backup mode. And after knocking out Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach last summer, it’s clear there are no untouchables.
This trade chart, which is ranked by how much buzz we’re hearing about different players, will be updated with news, notes and thoughts throughout the next two months, so bookmark it and check back regularly. . Here’s how things look right now, starting with the top prize:
1. Patrick Kane, reaches the cap of $10.5 million
Kane may not have a statistical season like Kane, but there are many in the league who believe he is still capable of playing at an elite level, especially if he plays with d other elite players.
The Blackhawks played their last home game of 2022. There are 13 games left at the United Center before the trade deadline. Time may be running out to see Patrick Kane play like he did last night in Chicago. https://t.co/gyG5i187Ac
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) December 24, 2022
What the Blackhawks probably want: First-round draft pick and a decent prospect.
What they can probably get: Kane probably isn’t going to waive his no-move clause for just anyone, so the team or teams he’s interested in will have some leverage. Still, someone is expected to pay the price for a first-round pick and prospect for Kane. If a team doesn’t have their first-round pick, the Blackhawks will look for an elite prospect. The Blackhawks should keep half of Kane’s hit cap.
Commercial probability: The Blackhawks prepare as if Kane and Toews won’t ask to be traded. But in Kane’s case, there have been more signs that he might want to leave lately. Time will tell, but it would be surprising if Kane was still with the Blackhawks at the trade deadline. Davidson and Pat Brisson, Kane and Toews’ agent, are expected to speak in January.
2. Jonathan Toews, $10.5 million
Toews had a surprising rebound season. He is on the pace for 20 goals and 50 points. Considering he’s still dominant in faceoffs, he could be an attractive veteran center at the trade deadline, much like Antoine Vermette was for the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup run in 2015.
What the Blackhawks probably want: First-round pick
What they can probably get: There are a lot of variables that could go into trading Toews. On the one hand, Toews has to want it, and we’ll get to that shortly. Second, a team is less likely to want to take half of Toews’ success. A third party may have to join the trade or the Blackhawks may have to take a player back for the trade to work. The trade market could also determine Toews’ desire.
Commercial probability: Of Kane and Toews, the Blackhawks are more skeptical that Toews will ask for a trade. A major part of his identity is as captain of the Blackhawks team. He is used to this role and enjoys it. If he goes somewhere else, he’s not that guy anymore, at least by the trade deadline. If he chooses to sign with another team next season, he may find a way to return to that role. Right now, it’s hard to imagine Toews asking Davidson to look for a trade. Neither Kane nor Toews are expected to re-sign with the Blackhawks, traded or not this season.
3. Max Domi, $3 million
Domi was signed specifically to be returned at the trade deadline. The thought process was that he could enjoy lots of ice time, play in the best power play unit, and play alongside Kane. If Domi worked well enough, someone could see his upside, especially at $3 million on an expiring contract.
What the Blackhawks probably want: First-round pick
What they can probably get: The Blackhawks’ initial asking price could be a first-round pick for the top three on this list, but it’s likely only going to be met for Kane. Domi might be able to bring back a second-round pick depending on the rest of the market. He’s been one of the Blackhawks’ best players this season.
Commercial probability: The Blackhawks should find a suitor in Domi at the deadline. The question will be just the return. Will it be a second- or third-round pick he’s looking for?
The Blackhawks signed Athanasiou for the same reason Domi did. He was another player that Davidson thought could get a bigger and better opportunity and then get traded. Athanasiou had his moments, but he wasn’t as consistent as Domi. Still, his breakthrough speed makes him a potentially attractive piece for a competitor looking for some scoring depth.
What the Blackhawks probably want: Second-round draft pick
What they can probably get: Athanasiou is more likely to bring back a mid-round draft pick given he has just seven goals in 32 games. Maybe he’ll get a fourth-round pick? If a team is looking for an offensive end to play a role in the last six, he would be a good fit.
Commercial probability: It’s possible the Blackhawks won’t have much interest in him at the deadline.
Statistically speaking, Johnson is having an abysmal season, with some of the worst underlying numbers in the league. But veteran defenders are still a valuable commodity at the deadline. And Johnson’s experience winning the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche last season, combined with his reputation as a great teammate and positive force in the locker room, could convince a team to take a flyer on him.
What the Blackhawks probably want: A mid-round draft pick.
What they can probably get: A late choice, or even just “future considerations”.
Commercial probability: There’s a good chance Johnson will get the deal, even if it’s just a favor for him. The Blackhawks can’t reasonably expect anyone to get him a fourth or fifth rounder, but he’s obviously not a long-term option for the team at 36, and trading him will allow the Blackhawks to have a better look. to some of their younger defenders down the stretch.
For the plummeting Blackhawks, veteran Jack Johnson’s attitude matters just as much as his ability.
My Raleigh Story: https://t.co/mvRxpFlQzy
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) December 28, 2022
Khaira has been one of the Blackhawks’ most consistent forwards, physically and defensively. In a team consisting of the last six players, he is one of the few who can fulfill this role realistically and competently in a top team.
What the Blackhawks probably want: A mid-term choice.
What they can probably get: The Blackhawks got a fifth-round pick for Ryan Carpenter last year. It could be a similar value for Khaira.
Commercial probability: Khaira is unlikely to be traded, but some teams sometimes look for players like him at the deadline.
Jones’ contract isn’t quite the albatross it might seem. The Blackhawks will need it just to hit the salary floor in the next season or two, and by the time they’re able to fight again, the cap will have increased significantly, meaning $9.5 million. for a #2 or not. .3 defender (as developed by Kevin Korchinski and others) will simply be an overpayment, not a disaster. That said, Jones was a Stan Bowman add-on, not a Kyle Davidson add-on, and that’s a complete teardown, so the Blackhawks would definitely listen to any offers.
What the Blackhawks probably want: Not having to withhold a salary for the next seven seasons.
What they can probably get: Not as much as you might think, unless they keep their salary.
Commercial probability: Virtually zero. There has been no discussion with any team regarding Jones, and the Blackhawks likely won’t agree to having $4.75 million in dead money on their balance sheet for the next seven years.
Maybe on the set
Sam Lafferty, $1.15 million: The Blackhawks are open to hearing offers from almost anyone on their roster. Of the players signed beyond this season, Lafferty is one that might make sense to someone. He has a low hit count and has proven he can be an effective bottom-six and shorthanded hitter.
Ian Mitchell, $925,000: Mitchell has been in and out of the roster since being recalled from Rockford on Dec. 1. The Blackhawks look set to move on from the former second-round pick as he approaches his 24th birthday. As a restricted free agent who won’t get much of a raise (if any) on his entry-level contract, he might be worth a mid-to-late-round pick for a non-competitor.
Taylor Raddysh, $758,333: Raddysh is another player who might spark some interest due to his play and low cap. It’s not entirely clear if he’s part of the Blackhawks’ future.
(Photo: Matt Marton/USA Today)