Blackhawks get Saad back in trade with Blue Jackets
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 23, 2017,
Jun 23, 2017, 22:42
The Arizona Coyotes acquired Niklas Hjalmarsson in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, adding a dependable defenceman during a time of turmoil for the franchise.
CHICAGO (AP) - General manager Stan Bowman promised changes were coming after the Chicago Blackhawks were swept in the first round of the playoffs. The Blue Jackets will also receive forward Tyler Motte and a 2017 sixth-round pick.
Blueliner Niklas Hjalmarsson, who's spent his entire 10-year career with the Blackhawks, has been dealt to Arizona in exchange for fellow defenseman Connor Murphy, and prospect Laurent Dauphin. He's durable, having only missed 11 games over the last four seasons, and has earned his reputation as a reliable top-four defensive defenseman.
But the departure of Hjalmarsson and Panarin creates two more holes that need to be filled. The Swede had five goals, 13 assists and a team-high 181 blocked shots in 73 games last season.
The first blockbuster deal of the day involved Hjalmarsson, a three-time Stanley Cup champion.
Saad scored 24 goals and picked up 29 assists for the Blue Jackets previous year as they racked up one of the best records in the National Hockey League.
The 30-year-old Hjalmarsson had spent his entire 10-year career with Chicago, where he had 23 goals and 120 assists in 623 career games along with the franchise record for most playoff games played by a Blackhawks defenseman at 128. The Blackhawks will hope he can, seeing how Panarin scored 31 goals and 74 points on a line with Patrick Kane last season. He split previous year between Arizona and AHL Tucson, and was a good scorer at the minor league level (28 points in 38 games). Panarin, the league's best rookie in 2015-16, just signed a two-year contract in December.
Stepan, 27, is fresh off a 17-goal, 55 point season and has four seasons left on a deal that carries a $6.5 million U.S. salary cap hit.