Tag Archives: Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks looking to upgrade their defense

Chicago Blackhawks' Cam Barker (25) now playing for the Wild, keeps the puck away from the Minnesota Wild's Cal Clutterbuck (22)

The Chicago Blackhawks traded Cam Barker to the Minnesota Wild for veteran Kim Johnsson and prospect Nick Leddy.

Barker, 23, is in his fourth season and has 15 points in 52 games this season. He is still young and has a lot of potential but the Blackhawks thought they had a better shot at the Stanley Cup with a more experienced defenseman.

Johnsson is turning 34 next month has 15 points in 52 games so far this season. His numbers are practically identical to Barkers but he has played in 43 postseason games during his 10-year NHL career. This gives Blackhawks head coach Joel Queneville a more veteran defense and has different options with the pairings.

Another thing that makes this trade key for the Blackhawks is the value that Johnsson has on special teams. It all begins with penalty killing, where Barker was not used. Johnsson is also playing on the powerplay and has been used on both special teams through the first two games as a Blackhawk. He already has a goal in those two games.

Minnesota Wild's Kim Johnsson, now playing for the Chicago Blackhawks, skates up ice with the puck agaisnt the Colorado Avalanche

With the number one pairing of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, arguably one of the top pairings in the league, not breaking apart anytime soon that leaves Johnsson to play along side Brent Sopel as the number two defensive pair. Niklas Hjarmalsson is another option. Quenneville will have it all figure out by the time playoffs come around.

Barker is still young and was no longer fit into the Blackhawks plans. He was drafted third overall behind Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, so he has credibility in that sense and some potential still left in him. However, he was not exactly playing up to what he should be after four years in the league. No one knows if Barker will ever live up to expectations but looking at the trade currently Chicago got rid of a minor contributor for a player that can make an impact right away and down the road come playoffs.

The Blackhawks also got Nick Leddy who was the Wild’s first round pick in 2009. Currently he is playing for the University of Minnesota as a freshman. Chances are he stays all four years of his college eligibility unless he can go into training camp and show that he is ready to contribute. Keep an eye on this kid as he may turn out to be the key player of this trade.

Both teams received something good out of this deal but Chicago definitely came out on top in this trade. Barker will be a top four defenseman for the Wild and be a big part of their future if he sticks around. The Blackhawks obtained a veteran defenseman that brings experience to the team and will be more of an impact in the playoffs. Leddy is the less talked about player in this trade because he is not as well known. I believe that he will turn out to be the big name in this deal once he steps in the NHL and is a steal because the Wild could have gave up a different prospect.

As of now no one has got robbed in this trade. It will all depend on whether Barker lives up to his potential, the Hawks make a deep playoff run with Johnsson, and if Leddy turns out to be a top four defenseman. Only time will tell.


Will Ilya Kovalchuk Be Traded Before The Deadline?

Atlanta Thrasher's Ilya Kovalchuk puts the puck past Buffalo Sabers netminder Patrick Lalime

For the past couple of weeks there have been a lot of different rumors that Atlanta Thrasher’s star forward, Ilya Kovalchuk, will be moved before the trade deadline.

There are many teams rumored to be suitors for Kovalchuk, but there is no clear favorite.  Some of the teams that are listed as interested in acquiring the Russian superstar are the Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, and the Boston Bruins.  Also the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) are trying to bring Kovalchuk over seas and have more money to offer than any of the NHL clubs.

The biggest thing about trying to get Kovalchuk is the asking price.  Teams will have to give up high draft picks to young prospects.  His contract expires at the end of the season with no guarantee that he will re-sign at the end of the season.  Some teams are in better place to make the risk than others.

Right now the Chicago Blackhawks are my favorite to land Kovalchuk.  According to ESPN, the most likely trade scenario would include Cam Barker, Kris Versteeg and a few draft picks being shipped off by the Blackhawks.  I believe that they can give up these players for a player like Kovalchuk.  It would give the Hawks two star quality lines.  He would be joining Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Marian Hossa.  The Blackhawks are already at the top of the standings and are arguably the best team in the league.  With the addition of Kovalchuk they can expect to make a good run at the Stanley Cup.

Reports are saying that the Islanders, Capitals, Bruins, and Kings are interested in the chance to acquire Kovalchuk.

Any of these teams can end up with Kovalchuck but he could easily stay with the Thrashers for the rest of the season.  With the amount of teams that are pushing hard to get him, I believe that he will find a new home by the trade deadline.  Whatever team ends up with Kovalchuk will have added a pure sniper and a better shot at lasting in the playoffs.


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