With the Chicago Blackhawks entering the summer in the middle of another salary cap crunch trade speculation is once again starting to pick up around the team.
On Friday night Jay Zawaski of 670 The Score in Chicago reported that he has heard there is “a good chance” that a core player — not Jonathan Toews — from the team will be moved soon, and that it probably will not make the team better in the short-term, speculating that it would be a move to cut salary or restock the prospect cupboard.
Seabrook and Anisimov would seem to be the two obvious names to keep an eye on given their contract status and standing with the team. Let’s be honest, when it comes to core players the Blackhawks are probably not going to trade Toews, Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin or Duncan Keith, and you could probably add starting goaltender Corey Crawford to that list, especially after the team already traded Scott Darling this offseason.
Seabrook still has seven years remaining on an eight-year, $55 million contract which is almost certain to become an albatross on the Blackhawks’ cap well before it expires.
Even worse, he has already shown signs of slowing down and does not seem to be the player he was a few years ago. That also means it would probably be a difficult contract to move and would not net a huge return in terms of assets. That would certainly fit with the “not make the team better in the short-term” description.
Anisimov is a more interesting possibility because he has thrived since joining the Blackhawks after coming over in the big Brandon Saad trade two years ago. A second-line center that can score 20 goals and play a strong all-around game is a pretty good asset to have and one that a lot of teams would have interest in, especially given that Anisimov has a pretty fair contract for his level of production. His name has surfaced in trade speculation before.
After the Blackhawks were swept out of the first-round of the playoffs by the Nashville Predators an angry Stan Bowman promised changes this offseason, and given that the Blackhawks are once again pressed to the salary cap it is almost certain that somebody of significance is going to be traded off of the roster.
It’s just a matter of which player, and when.