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
Lightning receive: Brandon Hagel (23, $1.5M cap hit through 2023-24), 2022 fourth-round pick, 2024 fourth-rounder.
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.
Brandon Hagel's market value is already almost 4x his salary cap + he's signed for 2 more years at a $1.5M.
The Lightning add a real solid middle-six winger who can set up his teammates + create off the rush. Should help rebuild that 3rd line as a Coleman/Gourde-type replacement pic.twitter.com/vqPHSMB7T1
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) March 18, 2022
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.
Everyone's going to talk about Tampa Bay but great work for Chicago signing Hagel as a CHL UFA, signing him to a great RFA deal, and then trading him at the peak of his value when he's shooting 22.3%. #Blackhawks
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) March 18, 2022
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?
Katchouk & Raddysh haven't scored much on Tampa's fourth line but the former has shown some upside & they've been pretty good at creating off the forecheck. They now go to the worst forechecking team in the league. pic.twitter.com/CSgrG4NdXc
— Corey Sznajder (@ShutdownLine) March 18, 2022
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?).