The Chicago Blackhawks unloaded some dead weight on Saturday, engineering a trade with the Calgary Flames that saw Brandon Bollig head to the Flames in exchange for the 83rd overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
The trade was a great one a number of levels for Chicago. The cash-strapped Blackhawks no longer have to worry about Bollig’s excessive $1.25M cap hit after signing him to an ill-advised extension less than four months ago. With Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane about to receive enormously expensive extensions of their own in the coming weeks, every dollar saved is tremendously valuable; it would have been senseless to keep Bollig on the books if another team wanted him. Chicago has far better players already in the organization that can take Bollig’s roster spot at a cheaper price, such as Jeremy Morin.
Getting a third round pick in exchange for a below-average fourth-line forward is a steal. It’s difficult to understand what Calgary’s front office team was thinking; Bollig’s decent regular season numbers belie a truly horrific second half of the year in which he was one of the least effective players in the NHL. There’s a reason Stan Bowman was willing to flip Bollig to another team so soon after handing him a three-year extension.
Ultimately, Bowman and the Blackhawks turned a mistake (extending Bollig’s contract in the first place) into a win. This wasn’t a high-profile trade, but it was a brilliant one.