After spending the majority of the last five seasons treading water trying to keep their Stanley Cup team together, the Chicago Blackhawks have finally waived the white flag, releasing a statement last week that the organization will undergo a rebuilding phase. While it’s unclear exactly how far the team will break itself down, one has to wonder if the Blackhawks would consider trading some of their top stars if it meant getting some assets for the future in return.
The Blackhawks roster is fairly emaciated these days and there isn’t much worth scrounging up. Mostly veteran plug-ins, a couple long-standing top players, and a few young guns they probably want to build their next incarnation around. It leaves only a few options that would be intriguing adds to the Flyers roster.
Possibly the most enticing player on the Blackhawks roster in terms of a stylistic fit would be defenseman Duncan Keith. Now 37, Keith has 1,138 NHL games under his belt as well as three Stanley Cups and two Norris Trophies. While his play not be as dominant as it once was, The Flyers can treat him as they treated Matt Niskanen last summer- as a solid veteran player who will bring a caliber of class and experience to the lineup, and his play on the ice will be an added benefit. Keith has three years left with a cap hit at a hair over $5.5 million.
What if they want to go big? Like $10.5 million big? Like could’ve (should’ve?) been a Flyer big? 2007 1st overall pick Patrick Kane is now just about to turn 32, but that hasn’t slowed his offensive production down at all. He posted 84 points in 70 games during the 2019-20 season, and recorded 110 points last season. He’s a guy who has quite literally gotten better with age.
Kane has three years left at a whopping $10.5 million cap hit, which obviously in the current flat-cap era the NHL finds itself in isn’t an easy ask to add to a roster, but there are few players in the league who would be worth that kind of price tag, Patrick Kane being one of them. What would the Blackhawks ask for someone like Kane? It’s hard to tell but it wouldn’t be cheap. But for a player that is the difference between a Stanley Cup and playoff agony, it’d be worth breaking out the check book.
At this point in his career Jonathan Toews probably isn’t worth the $10.5 million price tag he carries, but he’d be an intriguing option down the middle for the Flyers. With Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes already in tow, their two-way presence down the middle is strong as is, but adding someone like Toews would mean legendary center depth. While Toews’ outright trade value might not be as high as Kane’s, but the Flyers would probably have to boost their return for the ‘Hawks to eat enough of his remaining cap to make a trade feasible.
Will the Flyers pursue a trade with the Blackhawks? It’s hard to tell. Somebody like Keith makes a lot of sense for them to try and scoop up, meanwhile Kane and Toews would be a luxury they simply couldn’t afford right now. The Blackhawks will be an interesting team to focus on whenever the 2021 trade deadline rolls around, but until then, we can all dream big.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: caclantigonish.com