With the NHL lockout just hours away, any trade talks around the league will come to a complete freeze. Not that they haven’t really halted already. But even with the league locked out, Stan Bowman will probably be wondering what he could get in a potential Niklas Hjalmarsson trade.
Hjalmarsson’s name has been floating out there in trade rumors all summer. But with the Hawks’ signing of Michal Rozsival earlier this week, his ticket has pretty much been officially punched out of town.
We know of a few teams that could have interest in Hjalmarsson. The Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild could be among the interested parties. Don’t sleep on the Philadelphia Flyers having interest either, given their need for some serious help on the blue line.
It’s unlikely the Blackhawks will look for D help in exchange for Hjalmarsson. But it’s unknown what they’d actually want. The return should be at least decent. Hjammer is a reliable second pairing guy who blocks a ton of shots. His $3.5 million cap hit is much more attractive these days than it used to be.
Each of those teams presents a different course. With the Oilers or Flyers, you could nab a pretty decent prospect or even a young forward (Matt Read). Minnesota has an embarrassment of riches in net throughout their organization. Perhaps the deal becomes expanded and the Hawks could add someone like Matt Hackett? Wishful thinking, probably.
Then again, Bowman may just want to dump the last two years of his contract for picks, especially if the salary cap comes down as it’s expected to. Regardless, Niklas Hjalmarsson will very likely be donning a new sweater at some point this fall or winter, whenever the opportunity presents itself.