The Chicago Blackhawks are one year removed from winning the Stanley Cup and have one of the best cores in all of the NHL, but there are rumblings that a big change could be on the way for the Western Conference power.
The Chicago Sun-Times on Monday cited sources saying the Blackhawks are considering a major move at this weekend’s draft. According to the report, the Blackhawks would be in the market for a No. 2 center to slide in behind captain Jonathan Toews.
If the Blackhawks are serious about making some sort of blockbuster deal, there’s no shortage of big-time names reportedly available. Most of those supposedly available players are centers, too. Players such as Ryan Kesler, Jason Spezza and Joe Thornton all have been mentioned in trade rumors here or there, and any of them would fit nicely in Chicago.
However, if the Blackhawks are going to acquire any one of those stars or another quality player for the middle of their lineup, that likely won’t come cheap. One current Blackhawks player who could be on the move in any sort of deal, according to the Sun-Times report, is winger Patrick Sharp.
Sharp, 32, is signed through 2016-17 and comes with a $5.9 million annual salary cap hit, according to CapGeek. He scored 34 goals last season for the Blackhawks.
Chicago is still considered one of the NHL’s elite clubs. The Blackhawks came close to returning to the Stanley Cup Final to defend their 2013 title but were eliminated in overtime of Game 7 of the Western Conference finals by eventual champion Los Angeles Kings.