The Chicago Blackhawks recently named Kyle Davidson as their new general manager and the message is clear – there’s a full rebuild coming. While don’t expect to see Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews dealt this season, the Blackhawks have several players on the trade block who are likely going to be moved before the March 21 trade deadline. Let’s take a look at two players who are expected to be dealt by Davidson:
The Blackhawks have bigger names on their roster, but Brandon Hagel is likely the most intriguing to other teams. He’s only 23 years old and is signed for two more seasons at a very reasonable price of $1.5 million annually. While he was solid as a rookie with 24 points in 52 games last season, this year has been a coming out party for Hagel in the windy city, collecting 17 goals and 30 points through 48 games. Hockey insider Frank Seravalli sees Hagel’s asking price being a first-round pick and a top prospect, which will certainly help kick off a rebuild. While Seravalli confirms there’s been a ton of trade interest, others wonder why a rebuilding hockey team would trade away a 23-year-old who can play top minutes on a minimal salary. The New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs are two teams to watch in the Hagel sweepstakes.
Like Hagel, the Blackhawks have received a ton of trade interest in Dominik Kubalik. He’s a 26-year-old, former seventh-round selection of the Los Angeles Kings who is a pending restricted free agent making $3.6 million against the cap. After a big season in 2020-21 where he collected 38 points in 56 games, this season he hasn’t seen the same success as he’s only recorded 19 points in 54 games so far in 2021-22. With the team rebuilding Kubalik has become a prime trade candidate as he’s likely looking for a long-term extension at season’s end and that’s something the Blackhawks will have no interest in at this point. They are solely focused on collecting draft picks and future considerations. Look for Kubalik to be moved before the trade deadline later this month with the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators interested in his services.
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