Chicago Blackhawks

NHL Trade Deadline: What the Fleury, Carpenter Deals Mean for the Blackhawks

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The Chicago Blackhawks were expected to be active at the NHL trade deadline, and while they didn’t make as many moves as teams may have predicted, they did acquire some significant pieces as their rebuilding process begins in earnest.

In all, the Blackhawks acquired four draft picks in three separate trades, including two first-round picks and a second-round pick that could become a first-round pick.

Here is a recap of what the moves were, and what they mean for the Blackhawks moving forward.

Marc-Andre Fleury

The Blackhawks got deadline day off to a rollicking start by finally agreeing on a trade that sent Marc-Andre Fleury to the Minnesota Wild.

In exchange, the Blackhawks received a conditional second round pick, which could be upgraded to a first-round pick depending on the Wild’s success level in the postseason.

The Blackhawks cleared $3.5 million in cap space thanks to the deal. They are retaining 50% of the salary with the Wild, according to CapFriendly, with Fleury’s contract set to expire at the end of the season.

The draft pick the Blackhawks received is for the 2022 NHL Draft, and could become a first-round pick if Fleury wins at least four games and if the Wild advance to at least the Western Conference Final.

As for the immediate impact on the Blackhawks, GM Kyle Davidson said that Kevin Lankinen will likely make the bulk of the starts for Chicago down the stretch, with Collin Delia serving in a primary backup role.

Arvid Soderblom is expected to stay with the Rockford IceHogs for the remainder of the regular season as the team looks to make a push toward the postseason.

The other big question, of course, is what the Blackhawks plan to do at goaltender in the future. Lankinen and Delia are both set to hit unrestricted free agency at season’s end, and Cale Morris is going to be an arbitration-eligible free agent at the end of this season.

Soderblom is the only goaltender currently under contract beyond this season, although the Blackhawks also have goaltender Drew Commesso waiting in the wings if they want to sign the Olympian following the conclusion of his season at Boston University.

Ryan Carpenter

One last move came down just before the wire on Monday, as forward Ryan Carpenter was reportedly shipped to the Calgary Flames.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Carpenter will head to the Flames in exchange for a fifth round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft:

Carpenter is in the final year of a three-year pact he signed with the Blackhawks prior to the 2019-20 season. That deal is paying Carpenter $1 million per year, giving him some value at the trade deadline as teams look for bottom-six forwards to fill out their rosters.

In his third season with the Blackhawks, Carpenter has three goals and eight assists in 59 games, and has also tallied 36 penalty minutes.

Carpenter was one of the Blackhawks’ most prolific penalty killers, averaging 2:10 of short-handed ice time per game. He trailed only Sam Lafferty among forwards in that category.

Brandon Hagel

The Blackhawks got the jump on the trade market earlier this month, trading Brandon Hagel and a pair of fourth-round draft picks to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for two NHL players and two first-round picks.

From an on-ice perspective, it almost goes without saying that the Blackhawks have traded away a really good asset in Hagel. He had the second-most goals on the team his season with 21, and he has blossomed from a potential fourth-liner to a player that can slot into a second-line role if the need arises.

He did so without ever losing any of his edge, earning him comparisons to Andrew Shaw and the adulation of Blackhawks fans. This also came with an incredibly team-friendly deal, which will pay him $1.5 million each of the next two seasons, and almost certainly incentivized the Lightning to target him via trade.

Financially, the Blackhawks are actually taking on more salary cap room by dealing away Hagel and his $1.5 million cap hit. Both Katchouk and Raddysh are making $758,333, meaning that the Hawks will have a touch over $16,000 in additional cap burden because of the deal.

Both players involved in the deal could potentially find themselves in bigger roles with the Blackhawks, as they were likely limited with the Lightning due to the team’s incredible depth.

Taylor Raddysh is an especially intriguing piece, as his style of play would seem to fit a top-six forward. He has already shown some ability in that department, scoring a goal in his second game with the Blackhawks on Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets. He has also had some power play time in Derek King’s system.

Boris Katchouk is more of a bottom-six forward, but he has already shown some good physicality and smart defensive play in his first two games with the Blackhawks, and it will be intriguing to see his deployment down the stretch, especially with Carpenter now shipped off to the Predators.

As for the draft picks, the Blackhawks did send fourth-round picks in the 2022 and 2024 NHL Drafts to the Lightning, but they received first-round picks in the 2023 and 2024 drafts.

While some fans may question just how good those picks could be, especially since they are both top-ten protected and coming from a team that has won back-to-back Stanley Cups, the reality is that the 2023 Draft has been projected to be a really strong one, meaning that the Blackhawks could potentially have two first-round picks in a selection show that has been compared to the incredible class of 2015 in terms of value.

That kind of draft pick arsenal could really help to kickstart things under Davidson’s watch, and having the picks in back-to-back drafts will certainly be helpful.

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