Yesterday’s trade between the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators in which the Hawks shipped out 23-year-old, former first round pick Ryan Hartman in exchange for a package of picks and prospect Victor Ejdsell, caught most fans and analysts by total surprise.
Frankly, it surprised Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman, as well. Bowman admitted yesterday following the trade that he had no intention of trading Hartman but that the offer presented by Preds general manager David Poile was simply too good to pass up.
Bowman met with the media following the trade and said, “I got a lot of calls over the last seven to ten days about Ryan and it wasn’t really… appealing at all.”
"In the case of Nashville they made a very strong offer. We felt with the value we were getting for him, it was a really tough deal to pass up."
So, what do Hartman’s teammates, now former teammates, think? Hawks superstar Patrick Kane admitted that he was disappointed, but not surprised by the move saying, “it’s a different feeling… with the position the team’s in I’m not really surprised by anything, so nothing really shocked me today.”
Captain Jonathan Toews however was surprised by the move saying, “I don’t understand it.”
Wow… it’s not often that we get real, honest and emotional reactions from Toews like this in the media. This is obviously a tough season for the entire team and it’s clear from the frustration in Toews’ words that he takes on a lot of the blame for things himself.
Here’s hoping the Hawks can put their new assets to good use and come back stronger next season. After all, if there’s one thing we know about Bowman during his tenure as Hawks GM: he’ll do everything in his power to right the ship this offseason.
Hawks expected to sign NCAA star
According to a report from Scott Powers of The Athletic the Chicago Blackhawks are expected to sign NCAA superstar Dylan Sikura to an entry-level contract when his season with Northeastern University finishes.
Sikura is a former 6th round pick (178th overall) of the Hawks from the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Since then, the native of Aurora, Ontario has had a stellar college career with Northeastern. The 22-year-old forward has 17 goals and 48 points in 31 games this season, following up on his remarkable 21 goal, 57 point season from a year ago.
DobberProspects.com’s Tony Carr projects the 6’0”, 165 lb Sikura to be a bottom-six forward in the NHL with some offensive upside. He’ll need to add some muscle and bulk to his 6 foot frame, but once he does he could become the Hawks’ next version of Andrew Shaw or David Bolland.
With the Hawks clearly out of the playoff picture, the team would be smart to audition some of their younger players, including Sikura. Established youngsters like Alex DeBrincat, Vinnie Hinostroza and Matthew Highmore should continue to see some ice time, but don’t be surprised if John Hayden, Nathan Noel and the recently acquired Victor Ejdsell see some action, as well.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and the rest of the team's front-office staff held off on doing a full "fire sale" at the NHL's trade deadline, but they did make waves by shipping forward Ryan Hartman to the rival Nashville Predators in exchange for a a package of picks and Edjsell. The team also traded veteran forward Tommy Wingels to the Boston Bruins for a fifth round pick.
Well these depth moves may not be the change that Hawks fans have been clamouring for, they at least show that the team's management group is focused on bringing in younger assets and building for the future. Losing Hartman may hurt now, but in the long-run Bowman is banking on the idea that the team can use the assets to re-stock their prospect cupboard and come out ahead in the future.