The Chicago Blackhawks have managed to unload another big contract as they moved the three years remaining on Marian Hossa’s deal to the Arizona Coyotes. This wasn’t like others they’ve done before, or others around the league, as Hossa’s career is legitimately over. This is more like Pavel Datsyuk’s contract, which the Coyotes also traded for at one point.
Anyway, this is how the trade breaks down:
2019 fifth-round pick
2019 third-round pick
That’s a pretty big trade. Let’s get to Chicago’s side of things first.
You can read a bit about Entwistle here. He’s a third-rounder from 2017 pegged as a bottom-6 forward. At 18 years old, he’ll be a project for the ‘Hawks yet.
Jordan Maletta is 23 years old and has 27 points in 105 career AHL games. That doesn’t seem to be more than organizational depth at this point.
Andrew Campbell is a 30-year old with 42 career NHL games. More organizational depth.
Marcus Kruger returns to the team where he won two Stanley Cups in hopes he can win a third. At no point in his career has he really been much more than a third-line centre and with Jonathan Toews, Nick Schmaltz, and Artem Anisimov on the roster, it seems like Kruger is destined for the fourth line.
Who this helps for Chicago
This creates a certainty that Dylan Sikura will be on the roster for opening night, but that seemed pretty likely before the trade anyway. What the trade does is free up a spot on the top line. Hinostroza spent about 10 or so games’ worth of ice time alongside Jonathan Toews last year and with Vinnie gone, there’s a spot on that right wing again.
Who this hurts for Chicago
There had been hope that maybe Anisimov could have at least one young, talented winger like Hinostroza or Sikura. With Hinostroza gone, and that possibly pushing Sikura to a line with Toews and Brandon Saad, there isn’t much left in Chicago’s bottom-6. We’re looking at the likes of John Hayden and Chris Kunitz. Anisimov’s only hope is having Victor Ejdsell join him as his winger (or Anisimov joining Ejdsell as his winger, depending how they want to line things up). Anisimov’s 2017-18 season was buoyed by a career-high 11 power-play goals. He had 12 power-play goals in the previous four seasons combined. If he can’t repeat that (he probably won’t), there won’t be a boon in five-on-five production coming to make up for it.
Who this helps for Arizona
A sixth-round pick from 2012, Hinostroza has put in his time. He’s 24 years old and had two years with Notre Dame before playing parts of four seasons in the AHL. He never got a big crack in the NHL, having to spend a third of the 2017-18 season in the AHL despite 53 points in 71 games over his first two years in the minors. Once he did get to the NHL, he made the most of his shot. He was third among regular ‘Hawks forwards in points per 60 minutes at five-on-five in 2017-18, a significant improvement from 2016-17. He’s a very good playmaker who knows how to both start and finish a play. Should the Coyotes play Alex Galchenyuk at centre, they now have Galchenyuk-Stepan-Strome-Dvorak down the middle. That means Hinostroza is going to be moved to the wing, which is fine because the Coyotes have a need on right wing and he would seem locked into a top-6 minutes with power-play time. Depending on that PP time, Hinostroza can be a 50-point player this year.
I’m not sure which centre they’ll have Hinostroza with, but Strome makes sense. They can use them in a sheltered role behind Stepan and they’re both very good with the puck. At least that’s how I see it to start the year. It gives Strome a guy who can not only get him the puck, but to whom Strome can look for goals.
Who this hurts for Arizona
The assumption is that the Coyotes will run the top pair of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Jason Demers again and that means a potential second pair of Alex Goligoski and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Goligoski did play a lot with Chychrun last year but Hjalmarsson missed nearly half the season. When Hjalmarsson was in the lineup, he spent about a third of his ice time with Goligoski.
Oesterle is insurance in case Chychrun’s recovery doesn’t go as planned but either way, one player has to go. Unless they carry seven defencemen all year and go with a pair with someone on their off-side. It makes me think another trade will be coming at some point this summer. All the same, it’s a mess for those three until the situation is cleared. There is a chance, however small, that Chychrun starts the year in the AHL given he’s waiver-exempt. It depends how they want to construct their roster.
Fischer had a nice year last year with 33 points while playing under 14 minutes a game but moving up the depth chart will be difficult. This likely means Fischer starts the year, at best, on the third line which doesn’t bode well for garnering more ice time.
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