The Chicago Blackhawks are heading into the NHL All-Star break having won two straight games, but with the team still in the bottom-tier of the league standings, they are reportedly looking to deal some pieces away.
According to Scott Powers of the Athletic, the Blackhawks will make several players available on the trade market, with forwards Marcus Kruger, Chris Kunitz, and Andreas Martinsen all hitting the block as the NHL trade deadline approaches.
Moving Martinsen wouldn’t be an issue, as his contract comes with no protections, but the other two players are a bit trickier. Kruger has a modified no-trade clause that enables him to reject a trade to seven different teams, and Kunitz has a full no-movement clause on his deal, meaning that he would have to approve any trade that the Blackhawks put together.
Obviously the players would likely appreciate an opportunity to play for a contender, but that still could potentially limit where the Blackhawks could send them. Both players are in the final year of their contracts, and so there could be some interest in their services from NHL teams looking to solidify their rosters.
The big question for the Blackhawks will come when defenseman Gustav Forsling is ready to return to action. Will the Blackhawks carry eight defensemen, or will they instead opt to send down or trade another one of their players to ensure that they can continue to give minutes to youngsters like Henri Jokiharju and Carl Dahlstrom?
There hasn’t been word on what the decision will be in that respect, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a player like Forsling traded or sent down in order to clear up the roster glut of blue liners.
The Blackhawks won’t play again until Friday, Feb. 1 when they take on the Buffalo Sabres in New York.