By: Aaron Shariq
The Chicago Blackhawks have had a busy week filled with trades, drafts and potential retirements. If you blinked, you surely missed something! This article will get you caught up on your favorite Chicago hockey team with all the big news stories to come out this week.
Marian Hossa out for 2017 Season
Marian Hossa may never play in the NHL again. Hossa is one of the best players in Blackhawks history and has been instrumental to the Hawks success since signing with the team on 2009, helping the team win three Stanley Cups.
Hossa has developed a skin disorder due to an allergic reaction to his own hockey equipment. This skin disorder caused Hossa to announce he will not compete in the NHL for the entirety of the upcoming 2017-18 season. In the statement Hossa expressed his disappointment, “While I am disappointed that I will not be able to play, I have to consider the severity of my condition and how the treatments have impacted my life both on and off the ice.”
Hossa, 38, is shut down for the entire 2017-18 season but depending of the severity of his condition he may be forced to retire from the NHL. It is hard to imagine after sitting for an entire year, a 39-year-old Marian Hossa will be able to compete at hockey’s highest level. Hopefully Hossa’s health improves and he finds his way back onto the ice, this would be an unfortunate ending to an incredible career.
Familiar Faces in New Places
The Blackhawks hierarchy were busy on the phones this week agreeing to trades that sent away top-4 defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and rising star Artemi Panarin. Trading away Hjalmarsson was a move that shocked the hockey world. Though it was obvious the Hawks were looking to free up cap space no one thought Hjalmarsson, one of the core members of the past three championships, would be the cap casualty. In exchange for sending Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes the Hawks received two young defensemen, Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin.
The Artemi Panarin trade sent Panarin, Tyler Motte, and a 2017 6th round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for former Blackhawk Brandon Saad, Anton Forsberg and a 2018 5th round pick. The clear headliners of the trade where Saad and Panarin. Panarin was a scoring machine, possessing great puck handling skills and great chemistry with star forward Patrick Kane. Panarin’s scoring had him tied for 7th best in the league over the past two seasons with 151 points.
The scoring outburst has Panarin in line for a large payday in a few years while Saad’s contract has him penciled in at $6 million for the next four years. Saad is a very skilled goal scorer and was part of two Chicago championships. Saad was the perfect fit next to Jonathon Toews during each of the Hawks championship runs. Kane and Panarin had great regular season chemistry while Toews and Saad had elite playoff chemistry.
The hope is, the addition of Saad can help boost Toews game to the peak of his elite level while Kane can continue to score without Panarin on his line. That was made clear with Coach Quenneville’s statement, “We got it in our minds that (Saad) would be a perfect on Johnny’s left side. With Kaner… we’ve been fortunate with over the years, no matter who he plays with, that line seems to be effective and productive.”
What Happens in Vegas…
The Las Vegas Golden Knights are a franchise that will start competing in the NHL during the 2017-18 season. As an expansion team, the Golden Knights were the sole selector during the Expansion Draft at T-Mobile Arena, the new home of the Golden Knights.
Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk was one of the players the Blackhawks were not able to protect from the draft and was selected by the Golden Knights with their third-to-last pick. Van Riemsdyk came on the scene for the Hawks during their 2015 championship, playing with the team since while healthy.
The 2017 NHL draft was held in Chicago this past week. The Blackhawks selections are as follows;
Round 1 – pick 29: Henri Jokiharju, defenseman
Round 2 – pick 57: Ian Mitchell, defenseman
Round 3 – pick 70: Andrei Altybarmakyan, forward
Round 3 – pick 90: Evan Barratt, center
Round 4 – pick 112: Tim Soderlund, forward
Round 4 – pick 119: Roope Laavainen, defenseman
Round 5 – pick 144: Parker Foo, forward
Round 5 – pick 150: Jakub Galvas, defenseman
Round 7 – pick 215: Josh Ess, defenseman
For an in-depth scouting report on each of the Hawks selections, click here.