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This is difficult to put together but my immediate reactions...

1) This is, on some level, about Cap Freedom and planning in the future. Panarin is on a nice bridge deal right now, but he will likely get a raise to a minimum $8 is just two years while Saad is locked up for 4 more years at $6m and is younger. Having said that...if you know you have Panarin for a bargain now, why trade him for an inferior player?

2) On the ice you just lost Marian Hossa. That is a bonafide two way forward that impacts the game in every situation. Brandon Saad mitigates some of that loss. You heard Coach Q say yesterday that with Hossa gone you need to replace "17 minutes a night of playing the right way". That means Penalty Kill and and Power Play and just tracking back defensively. Saad brings those elements to the table. You're not going to be held over a barrel in two years when Panarin needs another raise, but I am not sure this makes the team better. 

3) Patrick Kane has been a point per game guy his entire career. That is with and without Panarin. He can carry a line all by himself as he has proven repeatedly. Yeah, he was magic with Panarin and those highlights and production will definitely be missed. However, if Blackhawks now have two legit wingers for Toews, and another line with Kane and Schmaltz. That's probably more balanced top 6. Schmaltz has a ton of talent. As does Panarin. I think the Hawks are hoping that Schmaltz will explode with this opportunity. 

4) The Blackhawks needed a backup goalie and Tyler Motte was probably going to get buried with an influx of younger forwards to the mix. So that's pretty much a wash in my opinion


I have advocated for a Panarin trade for months because it seemed like the Blackhawks didn't really have any other options. Trading Panarin isn't a good option either, but it's something that could work if the Hawks executed properly. I would've guessed that it would be more for Panarin though. Not a one for one, which is basically what this trade is. The money being equal seems crazy to me too. We'll see how it plays out. I love Brandon Saad, but Panarin is clearly the best player in this trade.

This one... I just don't know. Obviously the Blackhawks had limited options because Stan has given out No Movement clauses like candy, but the Blackhawks got younger and cheaper. Hjalmarsson makes $4.1M for the next two years, Murphy is 24 making $3.850 through 2022.

I was told by people around the Hawks that the Blackhawks wanted to solve some of their cap issues for more than just a year, and both of these moves kind of do that. I HATE losing Hjalmarsson though. I love everything about him. He's perfect defensively, he skates well, moves the puck, and he is a WARRIOR in the playoffs blocking anything he can get his body in front of. He has been the perfect Blackhawk. I don't know how losing him makes the Blackhawks better. I don't think this is the last time the Blackhawks and Coyotes will do a deal this offseason though so maybe it's too early to judge. Stunning and sad to lose Hjalmarsson though.

As for Murphy...he's young, has good size, and is a good skater. Former first round pick who the Coyotes deemed good enough to give an extension. The Blackhawks blue is probably more mobile with this addition, but I am not sure if it's better.


Again, I don't think we can really judge the Hjalmarsson trade or the overall job by Stan until he's actually done. However, this is definitely the dawn of a new era in Chicago. Hjalmarsson and Hossa were vital parts of a core group that won three Stanley Cups. Replacing their play, their leadership, and their balls won't be easy, but all great things must come to an end and change is necessarily bad. When you get elimated in the first round in back to back years it's time for a change and...well...this is a ton of change.