NHL Trade Rumors: Blackhawks ‘Aggressively’ Pursuing First-Line Left Wing

by NESN Staff

February 19, 2016

The Chicago Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cup titles in the last six years but they’ve never repeated as champions.

In order to accomplish that goal, we might see Hawks general manager Stan Bowman make a move before the Feb. 29 NHL trade deadline to bolster a forward group that doesn’t have the same level of depth as it did in recent seasons.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie said during Thursday’s edition of “Insider Trading” that the Blackhawks are looking for a top-six forward.

“There’s no question, the Chicago Blackhawks are very aggressively trying to pursue a left winger to play on that top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa,” McKenzie said. “It’s a rental situation for financial reasons.”

Winnipeg Jets captain and former Blackhawk Andrew Ladd, Arizona’s Mikkel Boedker and Carolina’s Eric Staal were among the forwards McKenzie listed as possible targets for the Chicago should they become available.

General Fanager estimates the Blackhawks will have nearly $3.9 million of salary cap space at the deadline, which isn’t much, but McKenzie noted one way Chicago could take on extra salary in a trade.

“Chicago can make room for about a $4 million cap hit player at the deadline,” McKenzie said. “If another team were to retain salary on a player, it could be an even more significant add than that.”

Staal would be a difficult add for Chicago, mostly for salary reasons. His $8.25 million salary cap hit is among the highest in the league, and he’s also been almost exclusively a center his entire career.

Ladd is the best fit. His $4.4 million cap hit isn’t much, and his experience with the Blackhawks would make the transition a very smooth one. Ladd spent two-plus seasons in Chicago and left after winning the Stanley Cup in 2010. He also won a Cup with Carolina in 2006.

Ladd has the edge over Boedker in several important facets of the game, which are outlined in the WARRIOR chart below.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 8.15.06 AM

Chicago has a few decent prospects, in addition to its 2016 first-round draft pick and a pair of fourth rounders to dangle in trades leading up to the deadline.

Thumbnail photo via Bruce Fedyck/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Oct 29, 2015; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) chases a loose puck against Winnipeg Jets left wing Andrew Ladd (16) during the first period at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
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