As the Feb. 25 NHL Trade Deadline inches closer, Zone Coverage will take a look at each team in the Central Division and evaluate what their plans could be heading into the deadline. A special guest — who covers each team — will join in as well to provide some more in-depth analysis on team needs and offers speculation on what will happen. Our series begins today with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Chicago Blackhawks
Record: 24-26-9, 57 points
Current Position: Seventh in Central Division, three points behind second Wild Card spot.

Joining us today to help preview the Chicago Blackhawks’ strategy heading into the trade deadline is friends of Giles and the Goalie Podcast, Faxes From Uncle Dale. They can be found covering the Blackhawks daily here and on Twitter @RealFansProgram.

1. The Blackhawks have miraculously found themselves in the Wild Card race. What has gone right for them?

Well first off, who isn’t in this race? That’s what went right for the Hawks basically, that the conference didn’t really get away from that. Aside from that, the only things that have changed is an abnormal amount of pucks are going in at even strength and especially the power play. They’re still a woeful, comedic defensive team, but Cam Ward and Collin Delia have made enough saves for the power play to make up the difference. I don’t want to discount the power play, because they finally figured out to get all their best players moving on it, and it should be this good. But there’s nothing structural to this. It’s just luck, really. It should flatten out tout suite.

Scoring Regular Season Table
Scoring Goals Assists Ice Time Point Shares
Rk Player Age Pos GP G A PTS +/- PIM EV PP SH GW EV PP SH S S% TOI ATOI OPS DPS PS BLK HIT FOW FOL FO%
1 Patrick Kane 30 RW 58 35 52 87 2 18 26 9 0 5 35 17 0 234 15.0 1292 22:17 8.4 1.6 10.0 13 15 1 1 50.0
2 Jonathan Toews 30 C 59 27 31 58 5 28 21 5 1 4 20 11 0 157 17.2 1225 20:46 4.9 1.6 6.6 26 23 747 565 56.9
3 Alex DeBrincat 21 RW 59 29 26 55 1 15 20 9 0 1 16 10 0 167 17.4 1030 17:27 5.4 1.3 6.6 19 25 15 17 46.9
4 Erik Gustafsson 26 D 56 12 26 38 -11 20 8 4 0 3 17 9 0 102 11.8 1223 21:50 3.4 1.9 5.3 79 58 0 0
5 Brandon Saad 26 LW 57 19 15 34 -6 8 11 5 3 2 14 1 0 139 13.7 991 17:24 2.4 0.9 3.4 21 35 17 33 34.0
6 Dylan Strome 21 C 35 11 21 32 3 10 9 2 0 2 14 7 0 61 18.0 607 17:20 2.5 0.8 3.4 23 9 200 243 45.1
7 Dominik Kahun 23 C 59 11 18 29 5 0 10 1 0 1 17 1 0 103 10.7 848 14:23 1.6 1.2 2.8 18 10 16 25 39.0
8 Artem Anisimov 30 C 55 9 17 26 -6 12 9 0 0 1 14 3 0 95 9.5 878 15:58 1.0 0.8 1.8 19 21 212 238 47.1
9 Duncan Keith 35 D 59 3 22 25 8 64 3 0 0 0 20 2 0 102 2.9 1342 22:44 1.1 3.6 4.7 105 35 0 0
10 Brent Seabrook 33 D 58 5 18 23 -7 31 3 2 0 1 10 7 1 123 4.1 1147 19:47 1.4 2.0 3.4 126 77 0 0
Team Total 59 191 331 522 -87 458 148 38 5 23 257 71 3 1869 10.2 31.9 23.7 65.9 774 978 1715 1732 49.8
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/17/2019.


2. Does the recent swing in the standings change Chicago’s approach to the deadline? They were seemingly sellers but now is there a chance they buy?

I’m not sure. They really don’t have much to sell. Before the streak, you probably could have had Artem Anisimov, Chris Kunitz and Gustav Forsling, and that’s still true because the Hawks could lose all of those guys without losing any momentum, such as it is. There’s no chance they’ll be “buying,” unless they can get a long-term piece for one of the ones above. The only thing that’s probably changed is their willingness to trade Erik Gustafsson. He’s basically Swedish Justin Schultz but he’s super cheap, which meant you could have gotten more for him. This probably has convinced them he’s a long-term piece to keep, which he isn’t, but whatever. There are bigger crimes.

3. If Chicago did get into the trade market, what players should they be looking at?

The only things they should be looking at, and this is more for the offseason, is a top-pairing d-man or two, and a top-six winger or two. So yeah, Matt Duchene or Mark Stone would be cool, but the Hawks can’t give anything up to get them especially when they could just sign them in the summer. If they could get a younger version of what’s mentioned above, great, but that would take a miracle. Their movement has to be in the summer.

via Sean Tierney, @chartinghockey

4. On the flip side, if the Blackhawks stayed with the seller’s route, who from the roster could be on the move?

Please god, get Artem Anisimov off this team. He’s never been good, and only Patrick Kane fooled people into thinking he was. He’s slow and not all that strong. And his salary needs to go. Gustav Forsling should be jettisoned because he might just be the worst player in the NHL and I don’t want to watch him anymore. They could honestly get a nice return on Gustafsson because he is a power play weapon and could be a third-pairing bum-slayer on a good team, but they think he’s worth keeping. If someone calls about Ward they’d probably do that, too.

via Sean Tierney, @chartinghockey

5. Ultimately, what do you think Chicago does prior to the trade deadline?

I think it’s going to be pretty quiet. No one’s taking Anisimov at that salary unless the Hawks retain some of it. A move of Kunitz or Ward doesn’t really move the needle. They could shock everyone and pack a couple of their defensive prospects for a piece they can use now, but I doubt it. Not at the deadline anyway. Just things around the edges.


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