It’s impossible to envision a scenario where the Blackhawks don’t make some sort of deal before next month’s trade deadline.
Yes, on most nights the Hawks are among the elite teams in the NHL, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t changes to be made. Actually, it isn’t even difficult to figure out what the Hawks need to add at the end of February.
The two most glaring needs for the Hawks are, and have been for most of the year, a center for that second line and a stay-at-home-type, physical defenseman to add to the blueline.
Initially, given their recent play, I believed that the Hawks could be alright without acquiring another guy that can play in the middle at the deadline and roll with the four they had. But as the injury to Jonathan Toews shows us, you need depth.
The Carolina Hurricanes present a team that could potentially supply both needs for the Hawks, or at least one of the two. With the Canes going nowhere fast in this miserable season that they’re stuck in, they’re very likely to be sellers when the deadline rolls around next month.
One name that has come up often is Tuomo Ruutu. A former Blackhawk, Ruutu has been mentioned in connection with a few teams, as he’s a versatile guy, who can play a physical game, and fit into a team’s top six.
He hasn’t played as much in the middle this year, but he’s certainly capable in the event of an injury. The Hawks could use a mix of grit and skill in the top six that Ruutu would bring. I examined the possibility not too long ago.
But where the Blackhawks might really be able to get someone of value from the Hurricanes is on the blue line. Tim Gleason and Bryan Allen have been mentioned quite a bit this season as potential trade bait, especially Gleason who is believed to be a target of a number of teams.
Both guys aren’t point producers on defense, but are sturdy, physical presences that could both bring valuable experience, likely for the team to put next to Nick Leddy. Gleason has 13 points, 87 hits, and 76 blocked shots on the season, while the 30-year-old Allen has 66 hits and seven points for the year.
Even if they don’t actually make a move, as there are several teams interested in guys that the Canes could offer up, you can bet that Stan Bowman will be putting in more than one call to Jim Rutherford as the deadline draws near.