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Chicago Blackhawks Trade Deadline Big Board 2.0: Uncertainty Clouds Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane Futures

Mario Tirabassi Avatar
February 16, 2023

At one point in time, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were the top trade targets that the Chicago Blackhawks had to offer the other 31 NHL teams. That “one point in time” was essentially the past 11 months. Since the NHL All-Star break came and went, things have transpired for both players that have clouded their immediate futures with the Blackhawks.

Now, as we sit just about two and a half weeks away from the March 3 NHL Trade Deadline, the possibility for Kane and Toews to fetch huge trade returns seems all but out the window. The possibility of both being guaranteed to be traded is also becoming more slim by the day and outside of a miracle on the ice, the Blackhawks may find themselves in a situation where Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson either has to take a terrible trade to get what he can for the both of them, or run the risk of not trading either of them because the return is not worth it.

Only time will tell and that time is starting to run out on Toews and Kane to make their decisions, which would only help Kyle Davidson do his job. Once those dominoes fall, the rest can find their place among the trade market.

With that all in mind, here is the second edition of the CHGO Blackhawks Trade Deadline Big Board.

Feb 14, 2022; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (88) is congratulated by his team mates on his goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the second period at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. Patrick Kane

2022-23 Stats: 49 GP, 9 G, 26 A, 5.7 Shot%
Contract: Eight years, $10.5M AAV (expires 2022-23)
Trade Protection: Full No-Movement Clause

Last Ranking: 1 (-)

Analysis: For as much as his trade stock has fallen around the league, Patrick Kane remains the Blackhawks’ biggest trade asset. But it’s a title he holds only due to his name being Patrick Kane. A blind, side-by-side comparison of Kane’s production this season to, say for instance, Max Domi’s, would support a team choosing Domi over Kane. His reputation precedes him, but now that will only go so far.

Injury concerns around the league have intensified surrounding Kane and his “nagging injury” that he has reportedly dealt with for the better part of the last three seasons. Now it appears to have caught up to him. No matter how much Kane himself tries to downplay what is bothering him, it clear that he is a shell of himself this season. Add on top of that the fact that because he no longer has players like Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat to play with, his output this season has become a red flag to some GM’s around the NHL.

The New York Rangers were not going to wait around for Kane to make a decision about his future before being active in the trade market. They acquired Vladimir Tarasenko from the St. Louis Blues in a multi-player deal that essentially ended any and all rumors of Kane being reunited with his former Blackhawks teammate and best buddy Artemiy Panarin. Following the deal, Kane was outspoken about his disappointment in seeing the Rangers make the move to add Tarasenko, a left-shot right winger who fits the same mold that Kane would have fit with New York. But this disappointment is on Kane himself. He holds the cards for if and when and where he wants to be traded or not. If he wanted to go to the Rangers, he should have made that desire clear to Kyle Davidson. He didn’t. Now he has to figure out which team presents him his next-best option, if any.

Kane and Toews both control their futures with the organization completely. 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. The organization is preparing as if neither will be moved, but are ready for scenarios in which Kane and/or Toews are eventually traded.

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

Oct 21, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Max Domi (13) and Detroit Red Wings center Michael Rasmussen (27) get into a fight during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

2. Max Domi

2022-23 Stats: 52 GP, 14 G, 21 A, 55.8 FO%
Contract: One year, $3M AAV
Trade Protection: None

Last Ranking: 2 (-)

Analysis: While his past two games against the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, two teams that have plenty of Domi family history, were not his best, Max Domi continues to be arguably the best trade option the Blackhawks currently hold. He is cheap, he is producing in an elevated role, and he has no trade protections to worry about.

There will be at least one or two teams that don’t land the big trade fish on the market when it comes to forwards. Guys like Bo Horvat and Vladimir Tarasenko are gone and it looks like Timo Meier and Ryan O’Reilly are next. After that, the options for Max Domi begin to open up and teams will need to look at all options to fill needs up front. Domi is proving he can play center and he already has a reputation of being a hard-nosed guy and good teammate. There will be suitors for him by or before March 3.

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

3. Jake McCabe

2022-23 Stats: 49 GP, 2 G, 15 A, 102 Blocks, 106 Hits, +3
Contract: Four years, $4M AAV (expires 2024-25)
Trade Protection: Seven Team No Trade List

Last Ranking: 4 (+1)

Analysis: McCabe finds himself moving up the Trade Deadline Big Board. We’ve already seen defensemen like Jakob Chychrun and Valdislav Gavrikov be healthy-scratched for “trade purposes” by their respective clubs. Is McCabe next?

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.

The Blackhawks have the opportunity to retain 50% of McCabe’s $4M AAV cap hit to make him a $2M player for the next two seasons, which makes his services very intriguing to a team looking to shore-up the middle of their defensive group. I don’t understand why teams are falling over themselves to over-pay for a player like Gavrikov, when you could have a more cost-efficient, better player like McCabe for marginally less than it would take to acquire Gavrikov, which was reportedly a first-round pick, plus a third and fourth round pick as well.

Team(s) to watch: Toronto, Edmonton, Los Angeles

Jan 24, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luke Schenn (2) defends against Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews (19) during the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

4. Jonathan Toews

2022-23 Stats: 46 GP, 14 G, 14 A, 63.3 FO%
Contract: Eight years, $10.5M AAV (expires 2022-23)
Trade Protection: Full No-Movement Clause

Last Ranking: 3 (-1)

Analysis: 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.

Now there are red flags popping up around Toews following an extended period of time off the ice due to a “non-COVID illness.” On Wednesday, the Blackhawks added a trio of players to their injured reserve, with Toews being one of them.

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. The biggest question now surrounds his previous battle with Chronic Immune Response Syndrome and how, or if, that has affected him again and kept him off the ice for over a week since the end of the NHL All-Star break.

If/when Toews gets back on the ice, I’d imagine teams will have cooled their excitement over getting him, but it would likely not be a situation where he has zero trade interest. It’ll just be much cooler than it was before his flu/non-COVID illness issues.

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

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

5. Sam Lafferty

2022-23 Stats: 45 GP, 8 G, 11 A, 14:45 TOI
Contract: Two years, $1.15M AAV (expires 2023-24)
Trade Protection: None

Last Ranking: 7 (+2)

Analysis: The interest in Sam Lafferty has picked up significant steam in recent weeks. He’s under contract through next season at a cheap $1.15M AAV cap hit this year and next. He’s a player who could slot into your bottom-six forward group and be ready to play Stanley Cup Playoff-style hockey right away.

I don’t think there will be a team that will be willing to pay the rumored price tag of a second-round pick, plus more for him, but I would be shocked if there wasn’t a team that approached Kyle Davidson with an offer that would be worth taking a hard look at.

Team(s) to watch: Toronto, Edmonton

Dec 27, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Andreas Athanasiou (89) skates with the puck out in front of Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta (32) during the first period at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

6. Andreas Athanasiou

2022-23 Stats: 50 GP, 11 G, 8 A, 11.5 Shot%
Contract: One-year, $3M AAV
Trade Protection: None

Last Ranking: 5 (-1)

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

7. Connor Murphy

2022-23 Stats: 51 GP, 5 G, 3 A, 110 Blocks, 104 Hits
Contract: Four years, $4.4M AAV (expires 2025-26)
Trade Protection: Ten Team No Trade List

Last Ranking: 6 (-1)

Analysis: Another shutdown-style defender like McCabe before him, Connor Murphy has never played in a “real” Stanley Cup Playoff series in his career with stints in Arizona and Chicago post-Cup era and I wouldn’t be shocked if that weighs on him like it does for McCabe.

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, Los Angeles

Jan 24, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks forward Taylor Raddysh (11) stands before a faceoff against the Vancouver Canucks during the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

8. Taylor Raddysh

2022-23 Stats: 52 GP, 14 G, 10 A, 17.1 Shot%
Contract: Three years, $758,333 AAV (expires 2023-24)
Trade Protection: None

Last Ranking: NR

Analysis: A player that I don’t feel like gets enough attention for the season he is having with the Blackhawks this year is Taylor Raddysh. Sure, his numbers don’t jump off the page, but for a player who is still getting his first real shot in the NHL on a consistent basis, Raddysh is making the most of it. On a contending team, Raddysh could find himself slotting nicely into a third or fourth-line role depending on that team’s forward depth, with a proven ability to score at the NHL level. He’s signed through next season for just above the league-minimum, which makes him among some of the easiest players to add in the league.

Now, this is all to say that I don’t expect Raddysh to be traded. But, if a team comes to Kyle Davidson with a deal that is too good to pass up, there’d be no harm in try to capitalize on flipping any and all assets he could as March 3 approaches.

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

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