The NHL Trade Deadline is approaching fast. March 3 has been circled on the Chicago Blackhawks calendar since the date was announced as the deadline for the 2022-23 season. The biggest players that the Blackhawks have had to worry about all season have been Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. The two pillars of the organization are on expiring contracts that would garner impressive returns for the club as they look to rebuild the organization from the top-down and bottom-up.

As we sit here in late-January, the two have yet to have their fabled meetings with Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson and their joint agent Pat Brisson. These meetings have been rumored to be happening this month since prior to the Christmas Holiday break. So far, no meetings. Recently, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported that a decision is expected to come from both players around mid-February, just about two or three weeks before the trade deadline. Frankly, it’s time for both players to give Davidson and Blackhawks fans an answer. One way or another, these two have had all summer and season to contemplate their futures and as difficult as a decision as it is, the limbo cannot continue much longer.

With that in mind, here are eight players that the Blackhawks could offer teams that are looking to contend this spring.

Jan 1, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) shoots and scores against the San Jose Sharks during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

1. Patrick Kane

2022-23 Stats: 42 GP, 8 G, 22 A, 5.6 Shot%
Contract: Eight years, $10.5M AAV (expires 2022-23)
Trade Protection: Full No-Movement Clause

Analysis: Kane has been the prized possession of the Blackhawks all season when it comes to their top trade pieces. Unfortunately, Kane has been a shell of himself this season with just eight goals in 42 games played. While he leads the team in shots with 143 as of January 23, he’s shooting a career-low 5.6-percent. Chicago is likely still going to hope to get a major haul for the future Hockey Hall of Famer, but injury concerns are starting to emerge surrounding Kane’s “nagging injury” that has hampered him the past few seasons, and a knee injury that caused him to miss three games earlier in January.

Kane and Toews both control their futures with the organization completely. Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has said that he will not force either player to waive their no-movement clauses, so it’s not a given that either will be traded by March 3, though the general consensus is that both will opt to be traded with Kane being more likely to waive than Toews.

Team(s) to watch: Colorado, Edmonton, NY Rangers, Carolina, Dallas

Oct 23, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks forward Max Domi (13) celebrates his power play goal in the second period against the Seattle Kraken at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

2. Max Domi

2022-23 Stats: 45 GP, 14 G, 18 A, 55.5 FO%
Contract: One year, $3M AAV
Trade Protection: None

Analysis: Behind Kane on everyone’s mind this season when it comes to trades has been Captain Jonathan Toews. But in my eyes, he’s been surpassed by Max Domi. After signing a one-year deal this summer for the sole purpose of being flipped by the March 3 trade deadline, Domi has done everything right this season. He leads the team in goals (14) and points (32), while also playing in every game. It was unclear where Domi would fit into the Blackhawks lineup this summer, either at wing or at center, but with a 55.5-percent win-rate at the faceoff dot, he’s solidified himself as a centerman this season.

As with almost every forward on this list, the Carolina Hurricanes have emerged as a team with a need up-front after losing Max Pacioretty to injury earlier this month. Domi spent time with the Hurricanes last season in a bottom-six role. If Carolina wants to fill the hole in their lineup left by Pacioretty, but doesn’t want to pay “Patrick Kane prices,” they could look to Domi to be a cheaper option.

Team(s) to watch: Carolina, New Jersey, Dallas

Oct 30, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews (19) celebrates with defenseman Filip Roos (48) after scoring a goal in the second period against the Minnesota Wild at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jonathan Toews

2022-23 Stats: 44 GP, 13 G, 14 A, 63.4 FO%
Contract: Eight years, $10.5M AAV (expires 2022-23)
Trade Protection: Full No-Movement Clause

Analysis: While it feels less likely that Toews wants out of Chicago compared to Kane, there’s still a feeling that he is going to be on the move before March 3. Toews started the season hot and made everyone think, even if just for a moment, that the physical limitations he experienced last season after missing all of the 2021 season were behind him, but that hasn’t been the case.

At 34-years-old, turning 35 in April, Toews is no longer the player he was in his prime. That’s no surprise. The surprise, though, comes from the fact that he is still playing at a level becoming of a second or third-line center on a contending team. As of January 23, Toews leads the NHL with a 63.4-percent win-rate at the faceoff dot and ranks third on the Blackhawks with 27 points in 44 games this season. There are plenty of teams that could use someone like him, in a more limited role than he is playing in Chicago this season, where he could be extremely effective.

Team(s) to watch: Colorado, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Carolina, Boston

Jan 6, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jake McCabe (6) celebrates with the bench after scoring a goal in the second period against the Arizona Coyotes at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

4. Jake McCabe

2022-23 Stats: 42 GP, 2 G, 11 A, 93 Blocks, 94 Hits, +5
Contract: Four years, $4M AAV (expires 2024-25)
Trade Protection: Seven Team No Trade List

Analysis: Jake McCabe has become a favorite of the CHGO Blackhawks crew and for good reason. There are few players who can come to the rink day after day in this kind of season and give the same 100-percent effort every time. Jake McCabe does that.

He’s not the most dynamic scorer, but that’s never been his game. What he does is bring a trustworthy, shutdown-style of play to the blue-line and a willingness to use his body in ways other defensemen don’t. Plus, McCabe is the only Blackhawks player of consequence this season to be a plus-rating (+5) on a team that has a -55 goal differential.

The hang-up could come with the term left on his current deal, which runs through the 2024-25 season. But with just a $4M AAV cap hit, there are teams that want to contend that would be more than happy to improve their defensive core with a guy like him at less than higher-market prices.

Team(s) to watch: Toronto, Edmonton

Sep 27, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Andreas Athanasiou (89) during warmups before the gameagainst the St. Louis Blues at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

5. Andreas Athanasiou

2022-23 Stats: 44 GP, 10 G, 5 A, 12.2 Shot%
Contract: One-year, $3M AAV
Trade Protection: None

Analysis: Like Domi, Andreas Athanasiou was brought to Chicago for the purpose of being traded at the trade deadline. He signed an identical one-year deal worth $3M AAV, but hasn’t had the same level of success as Domi has. Granted, Athanasiou has played as expected this season. He has shown the speed and willingness to drive to the net to create individual chances that he always has had in his career. Whether or not he finishes those chances is another story.

A team willing to part with a mid-round pick could add a player with speed like Athanasiou’s into their bottom-six forwards group and instantly improve it. He could also provide an element of offense to a team’s penalty-killing unit with his transitional speed.

Team(s) to watch: Carolina, Dallas

Jan 17, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy (5) skates against the Buffalo Sabres at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

6. Connor Murphy

2022-23 Stats: 45 GP, 4 G, 2 A, 99 Blocks, 94 Hits
Contract: Four years, $4.4M AAV (expires 2025-26)
Trade Protection: Ten Team No Trade List

Analysis: Most of what I said about Jake McCabe also applies to Connor Murphy. They play similar styles, but Murphy has less of that resting “don’t mess with me” face than McCabe. Another shutdown-style defender, Murphy has never played in a “real” Stanley Cup Playoffs series in his career with stints in Arizona and Chicago post-Cup era.

Again, like McCabe, Murphy has term left on his current contract that see him coming with a $4.4M AAV cap hit through the 2025-26 season. That is probably a bit longer than most teams would like for a player like him, but the Blackhawks could potentially retain on Murphy, given how the rest of their trade deadline moves play-out, to make the term easier to handle.

Team(s) to watch: Toronto, Edmonton

Jan 14, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks forward Sam Lafferty (24) skates against the Seattle Kraken at United Center. Seattle defeated Chicago 8-5. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

7. Sam Lafferty

2022-23 Stats: 39 GP, 6 G, 9 A, 14:41 TOI
Contract: Two years, $1.15M AAV (expires 2023-24)
Trade Protection: None

Analysis: When Kyle Davidson took over as interim, and later full-time, general manager, one of his first moves turned out to be one of his best in his young tenure. Davidson traded Alex Nylander for Sam Lafferty early last season, one-for-one, and the returns have been through the roof when comparing what each player has done, pound-for-pound, since the deal. Lafferty is a guy that Davidson and head coach Luke Richardson love to have in the lineup and in the locker room.

Which also makes him the kind of player a contending team would love to have, for cheap, in their own bottom-six forwards group. His contract is not a hinderance whatsoever with just a $1.15M AAV cap hit for this season and next. His speed and effort levels on the forecheck make him a sneaky option for a true Stanley Cup contender to add.

Team(s) to watch: Toronto

Dec 31, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Alex Stalock (32) makes a glove save against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

8. Alex Stalock

2022-23 Stats: 14 GP, 6-6-1, .918 Save%, 2.70 GAA, 1 Shutout
Contract: One year, $750,000 AAV
Trade Protection: None

Analysis: Deadline trades involving goaltenders are rare, but not unheard of. If you asked me at the beginning of the season which goaltender I thought would be the best for the Blackhawks in 2022-23, I might have said the goalposts.

It has, in fact, been Alex Stalock. Here’s the issue with Stalock this season: he can’t stay healthy. And that becomes a big problem when trying to move someone, especially a goalie, at the trade deadline.

Still, his .918 save-percentage (on this Blackhawks team) is tied for eighth-best in the NHL among goalies to play at least 12 games this season. He also has the only shutout for the Blackhawks this year. Some teams could be looking for help in their goaltending backup role, or an injury could surface between now and March 3 that makes a contender desperate. The caveat is if Stalock himself will be healthy by then, too.

Team(s) to watch: Seattle, Edmonton

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