The transition for the Chicago Blackhawks from struggling franchise to Stanley Cup winners and perennial favorites was a rather quick one, in retrospect. What truly started the process was the drafting and development of Jonathan Toews in the first round of the 2006 NHL draft. The year after, the team once again hit pay dirt when it selected Patrick Kane in the first round.
While those two picks have become the face of the franchise, 2008 did not prove to have the same fortune in the first round. While Toews and Kane have 914 career games between them, Kyle Beach has none, and if he is to finally break through to the NHL, it will have to be with his new team the New York Rangers.
In exchange for the 23 year old Beach, the Blackhawks acquired 6-foot-4, 220 pound left wing Brandon Mashinter. Mashinter, like Beach, is a player whose been on the fringe of the NHL his entire career, but unlike Beach, Mashinter has seen NHL ice this season. In six games with the Rangers this year, he has three shots and 10 penalty minutes.
In the end, the Rangers will be getting more use out of Beach in the immediate future than they will have gotten with Mashinter. Beach does have a very good skillset, but his problem always seemed to be between the ears.
I believe I wrote the “Kyle Beach says he’s finally matured” story four times. I’ll miss it. #Blackhawks
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) December 6, 2013
As far as the Blackhawks are concerned, Mashinter will likely fall into the role left by Jimmy Hayes, who was traded away for Kris Versteeg earlier in the season. That deal left the Blackhawks near the upper limit of the salary cap, but Mashinter’s contract evens things out. If he remains in the AHL, he is cheaper than Beach, and the cost of NHL promotion is a nearly irrelevant $65,000.
Simply put, for as negligible as everything in this trade seems to be, including stats, stature and contract, it seems the Blackhawks wanted to cut their losses and deal away their disappointing first round pick.
Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486