In the second trade in the past 24 hours, the Florida Panthers are trading Brett Connolly to the Chicago Blackhawks. This trade does not have the same star power as the Kyle Palmieri trade, but it still is a significant transaction that will have an impact on the Panthers and Blackhawk’s push to the playoffs.
The Brett Connolly trade that the two teams agreed on will also send Riley Stillman, Henrik Borgstrom, and a seventh-round pick to Chicago. In return, the Panthers will acquire Lucas Wallmark and Lucas Carlsson. Although this trade on paper doesn’t seem too significant once you look more in-depth you will realize this trade will open up some possibilities for Panthers general manager Bill Zito to work his magic.
How Do the Chicago Blackhawks Benefit From the Trade?
It is pretty clear why the rebuilding Blackhawks completed this trade. They have plenty of cap space and a desire for prospects or draft picks. This trade fills both of those needs as they acquire a seventh-round pick and a former first-round draft pick in Henrik Borgstrom that still has some untapped potential.
Borgstrom is a former first-round pick of the Panthers who is currently a restricted free agent. Since being 23rd overall in the 2016 NHL draft Borgstrom has not quite lived up to the potential he was thought to have had. He has played 58 career NHL games across three seasons with Florida. He has scored nine goals to go along with his 10 assists. He is not playing this season because he and the Panthers couldn’t agree to a contract. The Blackhawks will likely ink him to a contract and hope they can help him reach his potential.
The Blackhawks also acquired defenseman Riley Stillman in the trade. Since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 NHL draft by the Panthers Stillman has struggled to get into the Panthers lineup. He has been an average player in his 43 games with the Panthers as he has just five career assists. Similar to Borgstrom, the Blackhawks will try to get Stillman in the lineup to see if they can discover some potential that has yet to be untapped.
Brett Connolly is the biggest part of the trade. As a former sixth overall pick and Stanley cup champion Conolly has obviously accomplished some things that not many others have. The 10-year veteran will now suit up for his fifth team in his NHL career. His stints playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, and Panthers have totaled 517 games, 100 goals, and 92 assists. Unfortunately since signing a rather large contract with the Panthers Connolly’s production dried up. Prior to the Brett Connolly trade, he has just two goals and two assists. With the Blackhawks, Connolly will most likely find himself playing a depth role for the club or serving as a healthy scratch.
How do the Florida Panthers Benefit from Trading Brett Connolly?
The Panthers’ benefits are also quite obvious. First of all, they add some much-needed depth in the form of Wallmark and Carlsson. Secondly, they rid themselves of the horrendous contract of Brett Connolly with this trade. The Panthers look poised to make another move ahead of the trade deadline and make a playoff push. Let’s take a deeper look into what the Panthers acquired.
The first name that pops out in this trade is Wallmark. He is a familiar face to Panther fans as he was a part of the return the team got when they traded Trocheck to the Hurricanes. Wallmark is a solid depth forward who won’t score much be knows his role is to play more of a two-way game rather than produce offense. On his resume, he has 183 NHL games and 59 total points including 23 goals. He is a good addition to the club’s bottom six and taxi squad.
The other player the Panthers acquired doesn’t have quite the same experience as the other players in this trade. Carlsson is yet another member of the 2016 NHL draft class to be included in the trade. The 23-year-old Swedish-born defenseman has played in 18 NHL games registering just two assists thus far. Carlsson will also serve as a solid depth option on the Panthers taxi Squad for the time being.
Who Wins the Trade?
Honestly, this trade was a win-win for both teams. Each franchise was able to acquire some of its wants. The Panthers trading Brett Connolly’s horrendous four-year contract and add some depth to their already strong roster. The Chicago Blackhawks are rebuilding some they added some prospects and draft picks to hopefully aid them in turning the franchise back into a contender. Brett Conolly being traded may be struggling to produce and have a horrible contract but if the Blackhawks keep him around he can use his 10-year NHL experience to help mentor the young players in the Blackhawks system. Hopefully, both teams benefit from this rather fair trade.
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