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Brandon Hagel was a player who made the most of the opportunity given to him by the Chicago Blackhawks after not getting an opportunity with the team that originally drafted him.
Hagel, 23, endeared himself to the fan base and was one of the up-and-coming stars of the team right as the Blackhawks turned to a rebuilding mode. Hagel was probably going to be part of that rebuild, too.
But on Friday afternoon, much like Hagel made the most of the opportunity to play for the Blackhawks, Chicago made the most of the opportunity to get a major return by trading Hagel.
The full trade breaks down like this:
- The Blackhawks send Hagel, along with their fourth-round picks in 2022 and 2024 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- The Blackhawks receive Tampa Bay’s first-round picks in 2023 and 2024, along with young players Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk.
This is the kind of move that new Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson is going to have to be comfortable with if he is going to actually lead a successful rebuild. Hagel is a good player. He is a promising young talent. He is also not a superstar who will lead a team to a Stanley Cup. Arguably, besides Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane, Chicago doesn’t have any of those kinds of players on this roster or in their prospect system. The purpose of the rebuild is to find those kinds of players and to build around them with the long-term goal being at least one Stanley Cup victory.
Hagel’s ceiling on a contending team like the Lightning is likely as a second-line versatile wing. He’s a player that every team would love to have and competitive teams need. But at this moment in time, the Blackhawks felt that upgrading two draft picks and getting two players around his age and ability in return for him was what they needed instead.
While the first-round picks from the Lightning will likely land in the late 20’s or even in the 30’s, it’s better to have those picks than the fourth-round picks Chicago gave up. As far as Raddysh and Katchouk go, they are both signed through 2023-24 at identical $758,333 AAV cap hits. Both were selected by Tampa Bay in the second round of the 2016 draft, with Katchouk at 44th overall and Raddysh at 58th overall. Both players also made their NHL debuts with the Lightning this season.
Here’s a fun fact: Raddysh now joins his former Erie Otters teammates Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome in Chicago. Now all Kyle Davidson needs to do is acquire Connor McDavid and the whole gang is back together.
Best of luck goes out to Hagel as he gets to chase a Stanley Cup with the Lightning. And best of luck to Davidson as he continues to make tough decisions for the long-term success of the Blackhawks.
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