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The NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone, and the Chicago Blackhawks tried to take full advantage of a seller’s market. Kyle Davidson, just three weeks removed from having the interim tag removed from his title, has the daunting task of rebuilding this franchise. The NHL’s youngest general manager showed right off the bat that he will be aggressive and make tough moves to mold this team into what he envisions is a success.
Now that the smoke has cleared, the CHGO Blackhawks team of myself, Mario Tirabassi, and Jay Zawaski is here to grade Davidson’s first deadline.
Brandon Hagel, 2022 & 2024 fourth-round picks to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Boris Katchouk, Taylor Raddysh, and 2023 & 2024 first-round picks
Greg: If Davidson wanted to make a big splash with his first pre-deadline deal, he certainly accomplished it. The only way Hagel should have been traded was if the deal was too good to pass up. Getting two first-round picks and two NHL-ready forwards for a player leading the league with a 22.3 shooting percentage is cashing in on a player while his value is at an all-time high. There is no doubt that Hagel was very popular with Blackhawks fans and his teammates, but these are the tough decisions that need to be made to get a rebuild done. This was an excellent way for Davidson to add valuable assets to his arsenal. Grade: A
Mario: When we talked about if Davidson was offered a deal he cannot pass up, this is the kind of deal we were talking about. For all of the good he has done in his young career and how much he endeared himself to the fanbase, Hagel ultimately was not part of the rebuild plans. Chicago rolled the dice on Hagel as an unsigned free agent and hit it big. They turned it into two young(ish) NHL-ready players and two future first-round picks. Not much you can complain about in the long run. I’m happy for Hagel to get a chance to win a Cup this year with Tampa Bay, and so far, Raddysh and Katchouk look decent. Grade: A-
Jay: As we’ve said all along, we love Hagel. Everyone does, but eyebrows were raised when the rumors of the Blackhawks landing a first-round pick and a prospect started leaking out weeks ago. The Hawks ended up getting a pair of first-round picks and a pair of prospects who have already had an impact on the NHL club. Yes, because these picks belong to Tampa, they will likely be lower in the first round, but multiple picks can be used to trade up to a higher/better pick. I will say, because of his contract, Hagel was tempting to keep, but this was too big of a package to pass up. Grade: B+
Marc-Andre Fleury to Minnesota Wild for conditional 2022 second-round pick (will be become a first-round if Wild make Western Conference Finals and Fleury wins at least four games)
Greg: The Blackhawks had the best goaltender on the trade market, which shrunk on them as we got closer to the deadline. Davidson needed to get some return for Fleury instead of losing him for nothing this summer. The team turned Mikael Hakkarainen into, at the very least, a second-round draft pick. It is hard to be upset about that. Fleury will make it a lot easier to cheer for the Wild in the postseason, as the better they do, the better this trade becomes. Grade: B
Mario: Will he, or won’t he? For months, that was the question surrounding Fleury as the Blackhawks fell from playoff contender to sellers at the trade deadline. Fleury came to the Blackhawks for free this summer with the purpose of leading them to the postseason. That wasn’t going to happen, and Davidson’s job was to get as much as possible for Fleury from a team he was willing to be away from his family for. Minnesota didn’t want to part ways with their first-round pick. They ultimately might. Chicago got a conditional second-round pick in the 2022 draft in return, which could become a first-round pick if Fleury leads the Wild to the Western Conference Finals. It could have been more from another team, but Fleury held the cards. Grade: B+
Jay: The Blackhawks’ options were limited, with Fleury being able to dictate where he went. The Hawks were hell-bent on getting a first-round pick, and they did (sort of). Blackhawks fans should become Wild fans IMMEDIATELY! I can’t give the trade an A because it’s not a first-round pick, but the Hawks were able to get a solid deal done with limited options. Grade: B+
Ryan Carpenter to Calgary Flames for a 2024 fifth-round draft pick
Greg: There were very low expectations in what the return in a Carpenter deal would bring, so a fifth-round pick is a fair return. Calgary gets a great veteran is who made for Stanley Cup Playoff hockey and a reasonable price. The fun part for this trade will see how many times the pick gets traded before the 2024 NHL Entry Draft gets here. Grade: C
Mario: Carpenter is a hard player to play against in the postseason. His game is built for the playoffs, but he’s never been able to properly showcase that with the Blackhawks. He goes to a Calgary team that will be very, very tough in the West. He’s a depth player, and the Blackhawks couldn’t expect much more than what they got for him. Grade: B
Jay: I mean, it’s hard to give an A to a 2024 fifth-round pick, but we have to grade on the curve. The Hawks weren’t going to get much for a 4th liner with an expiring contract, but the Blackhawks got something, which matters most. Grade: B
Overall Trade Deadline grades
Greg: Davidson started the deadline with a bang but ended with a whimper. The Hagel and Fleury deals were great. Not getting anything for Calvin de Haan is a failure. Defensemen go for a premium on deadline, and looking at some of the other trades made, it is disappointing that the veteran blueliner is still in Chicago. I am not that upset over not moving Dominik Kubalik as he is a restricted free agent and can still be traded in the offseason. I was ready to give Davidson an A for his first deadline, but getting nothing for de Haan makes that impossible. Grade: B
Mario: For as good as Davidson handled the trades of Hagel and Fleury, the Blackhawks are left with more on their table at the end of today than they should have, and it’s disappointing. Davidson was aggressive with moving Hagel, which was difficult to swallow but ultimately a necessary move. If he and Minnesota go deep into the postseason, Fleury could get the Blackhawks a first-round pick from the Wild. But having Calvin de Haan and Dominik Kubalík on the roster on March 22 is a missed opportunity by Davidson. While I’m pleased with how he handled his first trade deadline, I’m left wanting more. Grade: B
Jay: The Hawks accomplished their goal of adding draft picks, as well as a couple of prospects with NHL miles on them already. That said, leaving today with pending UFA de Haan still on the roster feels like a loss. The same can be said for Kubalik, though if he has a resurgence late this season, his value could grow around draft time. Unlike de Haan, he’s an RFA. Teams might be looking for an affordable option for some scoring depth. Grade: B
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