The Chicago Blackhawks have made yet another trade in what has been a busy offseason, sending forward Artem Anisimov to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for forward Zack Smith.
Smith, who was drafted by the Senators in the third round of the 2008 NHL Draft, has spent his entire NHL career with the organization, with 94 goals and 99 assists in 193 games. He is set to make $3.25 million in each of the next two seasons, becoming a free agent after the 2020-21 campaign.
Anisimov, acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2015 trade that sent Brandon Saad to Ohio, scored 15 goals and 22 assists in 78 games with the Blackhawks last season, and has scored 163 career NHL goals with the Rangers, Jackets, and Blackhawks.
His salary cap hit will check in at $4.55 million for each of the next two seasons, according to Cap Friendly.
The trade frees up approximately $1.3 million for the Blackhawks in each of the next two seasons, and is the culmination of months of trade rumors. Once Anismov was given a roster bonus in early July, his contract became easier to trade, and the Blackhawks were able to trade him without having to include any prospects, something that they’ve been unable to do in previous cap-savings maneuvers.
It’s unclear what role the Blackhawks will want Smith to play, but in all likelihood the forward will get an opportunity to earn penalty killing time, as he played 1:49 of short-handed time per game last season with the Senators. He will need to improve his face-off numbers slightly, as he won 49 percent of his draws a season ago, but he’s still likely a contender for a bottom six center role with the Blackhawks next season.
With the move, the Blackhawks have $3.3 million in cap space for next season, with 20 roster spots currently filled. That number does not include a new contract for forward Brendan Perlini, who is a restricted free agent, and also includes several defensemen who could be in competition for a final roster spot, including Slater Koekkoek and Carl Dahlstrom.