The Chicago Blackhawks have gone from sellers, to buyers, and back to sellers again. This team has the star power to make the playoffs, but sadly the defense has been bad and the team has been losing games as of late. On their most recent Canadian road trip, the Blackhawks went 1-4. I think the ‘Hawks need to make some moves at the trade deadline so that they can make a push next year and be set for the future. The 2020 NHL Trade Deadline will be huge for the ‘Hawks.
Brandon Saad is a fascinating player. He plays a strong 200-foot game, he’s a great skater and can play in any situation. Not to mention he has won the cup twice, both in Chicago. This makes him an attractive option for contending teams. This year, he has 18 goals and ten assists in 47 games. While those numbers do not jump off the page, he has been one of Chicago’s best possession driving forwards. According to Natural Stat Trick, he ranks first in both CF% (51.31%) and FF% (51.60%) at even strength. He also is second among forwards in xGF% (51.13%).
Saad is going to be an expensive trade option. The other problem with moving, Saad, is his cap hit. His AAV is $6,000,000 for this year and next year. This might create a problem with trade negotiations. I think the ‘Hawks would want a similar return to what the New Jersey Devils got for Blake Coleman. They would definitely want a 1st round pick and most likely a prospect. I’d say there’s a 20% chance that Brandon Saad is moved at the deadline.
If one thing has kept the Blackhawks in the playoff race it has been the fantastic goaltending duo in the net. Robin Lehner has shown to be a great signing by Stan Bowman, and Corey Crawford has been consistent and healthy this year. In Elliotte Friedman’s most recent 31 Thoughts, he mentions that the Colorado Avalanche has checked in with the ‘Hawks regarding Corey Crawford. He also mentions that there are ongoing talks between the team and Robin Lehner. Friedman also stated that the Carolina Hurricanes have shown interest in Lehner.
Robin Lehner has been the better of the two goalies recording a .921 save percentage and 16.1 goals saved above average (GSAA). Corey Crawford has a .912 save percentage and a 2.04 GSAA. Both are pending unrestricted free agents. Lehner, carries a $5,000,000 cap hit, and Crawford carries a $6,000,000 cap hit. Obviously, I think the ‘Hawks would love to keep Lehner, but if he prices himself out of range he could be traded. They’d love to keep Crawford as well, but with his concussion history and him being seven years older than Lehner, I think that makes Crawford more expendable. I’d ask for at least a first-round pick for Lehner and a third-round pick plus a mid-tier prospect for Crawford. I’d say that there’s a 60% chance the ‘Hawks move either Lehner or Crawford.
Erik Gustafsson is an interesting player. He’s an electrifying player in the offensive zone but often struggles in the defensive zone. In other words, he is a high impact player. Among defensemen on the ‘Hawks, he has the highest CF, CA, FF, FA, xGF, xGA.
It has been reported by Mark Lazerus, Scott Powers, Craig Custance, and Jesse Granger that there is interest in Gustafsson, from other teams. According to Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers, the asking price has been a first-round pick or a high-tier prospect. Do I expect that to be a return? No, I don’t believe that’s going to be the return at all, but they also said that the price on Gustafsson is expected to go down. Gustafsson is a pending unrestricted free agent with a current cap hit of $1,200,000. The cap hit is very affordable for teams. Two of the teams rumored to be interested in Gustafsson include the Vegas Golden Knights and the Carolina Hurricanes. I think realistically the return would be a second-round pick and a mid-tier prospect. I’d say there’s an 85% chance that Erik Gustafsson is moved at the deadline.
What is most likely to happen at the 2020 Trade Deadline?
A lot could happen at the 2020 NHL Deadline for the Blackhawks. I think that one of Robin Lehner or Corey Crawford will get moved, as well as Erik Gustafsson. This trade deadline is really important for the ‘Hawks, and their future. So, expect the Blackhawks to be sellers.
Advanced Analytics Glossary
CF% – Corsi for percentage. Corsi is an advanced analytic that measures shot attempts at even strength. This includes shots on goal, missed shots or blocked shots towards your opponent’s goal. CF% is found by using Corsi for (CF) and Corsi against (CA). Anything above 50% generally is good.
FF% – Fenwick for percentage. Fenwick is an advanced analytic that measures shots at even strength. This includes shots on goal and missed shots. FF% is found by using Fenwick for (FF) and Fenwick against (FA). Anything above 50% is generally good.
xGF% – Expected goals for percentage. Like Fenwick, it measures unblocked shots but has different values per quality of shot or shot against. xGF% is found by using Expected Goals For (xGF) and Expected Goals Against (xGA). Anything above 50% is generally good.
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