Chicago Blackhawks Trade Hjalmarsson, Panarin on Draft Day
On the first day of the NHL Entry Draft, the Chicago Blackhawks have traded two core players. Artemi Panarin and Niklas Hjalmarsson are leaving Chicago.
The Chicago Blackhawks opened the draft day with a flurry of news and trades, as the Blackhawks have officially made two trades already.
Let’s break these two moves down.
Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona
More from Puck Prose
- NHL Awards: Selke Trophy Needs A Better Representation23h ago
- Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders Complete Huge Deal23h ago
- Vegas Golden Knights Expansion Draft Picks 21-30 Plus Trades1 d ago
- Vegas Golden Knights Expansion Draft Picks 10-201 d ago
- Vegas Golden Knights Start Forming Their Roster, Picks 1-91 d ago
This trade was made after the rumors of the Blackhawks moving a core player came to fruition.
Hjalmarsson had won all three recent Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks.
He was also a top 2 defenseman for the Hawks and was an invaluable resource for a long time.
He was by far the Blackhawks’ best defensive defenseman and one of the best in the league.
Which is probably why Arizona made the trade.
They bring in a great defenseman as well as someone with experience winning. That will be good for their young team.
But why did the Blackhawks make the trade? It seems like Hjalmarsson was too important to give up, plus, Connor Murphy’s 3.85 million dollar contract is just 250K less than Niklas Hjalmarsson’s 4.1.
But Murphy is 6 years younger than Hjalmarsson and signed for three more years. Plus, the Blackhawks also got Dauphin out of the deal.
That’s two good defensive defensemen for the price of one great older one. But let’s look at the stats for this trade, if you’re so far unconvinced.
Niklas Hjalmarsson’s stats the last two years: 7 goals, 35 assists, 42 points, 332 blocks, 21:57 TOI, 50.4 CF%, 92.3 on ice SV%, 56.2 defensive zone shift start percentage.
Connor Murphy’s stats: 8 goals, 26 assists, 34 points, 258 BLK, 19:50 TOI, 46.4 CF%, 92.05 oiSV%, 56.2 def zs%.
Murphy had about the same on-ice save percentage without the benefit of Corey Crawford.
He has fewer blocks, but that means less damage. More goals. And about the same defensive zone shifts.
Again, he’s a younger version of Niklas Hjalmarsson who hasn’t played with a defenseman like Duncan Keith.
Those numbers should go up, and Murphy represents something the Blackhawks hadn’t had.
Quality blue-line youth. Now, instead of the three most important Blackhawks defenders being over 30, they’re 33, 32, and 24.
And again, the Blackhawks also brought back a really good prospect in Laurent Dauphin. He’s younger than Ville Pokka and has actually seen ice time in the NHL.
Artemi Panarin to Columbus
The Chicago Blackhawks just moments after trading Niklas Hjalmarsson traded forward Artemi Panarin to Columbus. Again, it was in exchange mostly for Brandon Saad.
Saad has experience with the Blackhawks – winning the most recent two Blackhawks Cups in Chicago.
This is a fantastic deal for Chicago. A few days after losing Marian Hossa for the year, the Blackhawks brought back a player who is very reminiscent of the demigod.
Brandon Saad also elevates Jonathan Toews‘s game.
The last two years Brandon Saad was in Chicago (2013-14, 14-15) Toews had 68 and 66 points, posting 28 goals each time.
Toews and Saad were also an effective playoff threat – in the 2015 cup run, Toews had 21 points, Saad had 11, including 8 goals.
To wake Toews up like that, the Blackhawks should have been willing to pay anything. And they did.
Panarin is an effective left winger, explosive and offensive. The Columbus Blue Jackets got a great player to put on their left side, a player who’s better offensively than Saad.
But Panarin simply could not show up to the playoffs for the Blackhawks. Saad could, Saad did, Saad won two Cups.
And Saad is a year younger, has two more years under contract than Panarin, and will not be due for the same amount of pay raise.
The Blackhawks and Blue Jackets also exchanged other players. The Blackhawks got a fifth round pick and Anton Forsberg, who could be the backup goaltender for the Hawks next year.
The Blue Jackets got forward Tyler Motte, who couldn’t stay in the NHL with the Blackhawks, and a sixth rounder.
In the End
I’m not going to say the Chicago Blackhawks made out like bandits because I have a lot of affection for Niklas Hjalmarsson and Artemi Panarin.
But the Chicago Blackhawks also didn’t make trade mistakes. They didn’t lose the trades, at least not by much, and in fact got younger when they needed to.
The Penguins and Predators both showed how the NHL is going – younger and faster and more scoring.
The Blackhawks, in these trades, responded to that. Jonathan Toews got better. The Chicago Blackhawks filled the void left by Marian Hossa.
They also got a young defenseman, a backup goaltender, and a great defensive prospect when they had none.
Great job, Stan Bowman.