Trade: Lightning package to Blackhawks for Hagel includes two first-rounders

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If you wanted a surprising trade — yet one that also feels familiar — then the Lightning acquiring Brandon Hagel from the Blackhawks should do the trick. It’s a stunner that the Lightning sent a package including two first-round picks to the Blackhawks for Hagel, yet it falls in line with past trades for the likes of Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow.

Note that the Blackhawks and Lightning haven’t confirmed the Hagel trade yet. (Although the Blackhawks did post the two eyeballs emoji.)

Lightning send two first-rounders, more to Blackhawks in Hagel trade

The Athletic’s Scott Powers and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman report that the trade looks like this. If there are any changes, this post will be updated.

Lightning receive: Brandon Hagel (23, $1.5M cap hit through 2023-24), 2022 fourth-round pick, 2024 fourth-rounder.

Blackhawks receive: Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk, 2023 first-round pick, 2024 first-round pick. Both first-round picks are top-10 protected.

Yes, Lightning evoke Coleman, Goodrow additions with Hagel trade

Some might have thought of the Lightning acquiring Blake Coleman/Barclay Goodrow when the Flames landed Calle Järnkrok. Nah, leave it to the Lightning to parallel their past more faithfully.

The Lightning paid big (first-rounders, a prospect like Nolan Foote) to land both Goodrow and Coleman. But those two players weren’t mere rentals. Coleman gave the Lightning two seasons of quality play at a cheap $1.8M cap hit; the Flames would go on to give him big term and almost $5M per year. Goodrow added to Tampa Bay’s depth at less than $1M, and now takes home more than $3.6M per year from the Rangers.

So, the Lightning are adding a piece who is a nice supplementary player, whose dirt-cheap contract fits their salary cap needs, and hopefully, one who is worth a lot more than $1.5M.

You know, like Goodrow and especially Coleman.

A stylistic match, too.

Also fitting the Goodrow/Coleman comparison: Hagel brings a physical element to the Lightning as a strong forechecker.

Does all of that translate to being worth a couple interesting prospects and two first-rounders? Maybe not for most franchises, but it’s an easy idea to sell for the Lightning, who are hoping to “three-peat.”

Hagel, 23, scored 21 goals and 37 points through 55 games this season. Considering his 22.3 shooting percentage, the Lightning may want to temper expectations about his scoring punch. (His greater offensive strength may be passing, anyway.)

Overall, he seems primed to make a strong team deeper, at both a cheap (salary cap) and expensive (draft capital) rate.

A tremendous boost to a should-be rebuild for the Blackhawks

Before resigning in disgrace, Stan Bowman threw some Hail Mary attempts to keep his Blackhawks GM gig, including burning through rebuild resources (and future cap space) with the Seth Jones contract and extension.

That Seth Jones trade still costs the Blackhawks either their 2022 or 2023 first-rounder. So, getting maximum value for Brandon Hagel helps push that rebuild back on track (protected first-rounders or not).

Did the Blackhawks really not want to trade Hagel, or did they cleverly fuel that opinion to maximize the return? Either way, this is absolutely brilliant work.

Naturally, it’s up to the Blackhawks to make the most of those first-rounders from the Lightning. Though they’re top-10 protected, it’s also interesting to roll the dice on some Lightning slippage. Between the age and mileage on that roster, and a challenging top of the Atlantic Division, who knows?

Beyond actually using those picks, such draft capital could also be useful in trades to land more immediate roster options.

Could Katchouk and/or Raddysh help the Blackhawks?

So, what about Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh, beyond having fun names to say? Here’s a quick rundown.

  • The Lightning took both with 2016 second-round picks. Katchouk, 23, was the 44th pick of the 2016 NHL Draft; Raddysh, 24, went 14 picks later at 58.
  • Raddysh and Katchouk were experiencing their first seasons with the Lightning. Raddysh generated 12 points in 53 games, averaging 11:03 TOI. Katchouk scored six points in 38 games, logging 9:49 per night.
  • While their upside seems limited, each may have potential to be decent forechecking depth players. And maybe slightly more than that?

Bonus points, really, if the Blackhawks turn one or more of Raddysh/Katchouk into “the next” Hagel, whether or not that leads to another trade (possibly with the Lightning, looking for the next next Coleman/Goodrow?).

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.