The Chicago Blackhawks are trying to get creative as they look to bolster their blue line depth for next season, but one of their potential scenarios went up in smoke on Friday as free agent defenseman Mike Reilly reportedly agreed to terms with the Minnesota Wild.
The deal, which was first reported by Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, means that the Wild get a player that was highly sought after when he opted not to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this summer. The Blackhawks were one of a select few finalists for his services, with the Pittsburgh Penguins also making a late push.
Reilly scored six goals and dished out 36 assists in his final season at the University of Minnesota, and after careful consideration the Minnesota-native opted to stay in the state to play for the Wild.
The decision leaves the Blackhawks looking at other options as they look to potentially replace both Johnny Oduya and Michal Rozsival on their blue line.
Players like Stephen Johns and Trevor van Riemsdyk will be leaned upon heavily, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team take other steps to bolster the group, with free agent signings and the possible return in a Patrick Sharp trade (Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Hawks could be looking for a defenseman in a Sharp swap) also helping out.