Chicago Blackhawks: Trade with Tampa Bay could work out

Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Blackhawks have made a few good trades in a row, and now they swap defensemen and picks with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

On Friday the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning made a trade. They swapped picks and two defensemen that were low in each organization, and will for the most part stay that way with their new team.

The Hawks traded away Jan Rutta and a 7th round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft to the Lightning in exchange for defenseman Slater Koekkoek (KOO-KOO) and a 5th round pick in the same draft. Each team made the trade for a different reason, as they are each in very different spots organizationally.

Tampa Bay has an embarrassment of riches in just about every aspect of the game, but especially in defense. They had the reigning Norris Trophy winner in Victor Hedman, along with some other very good defenseman. The acquisition of Rutta is likely just to have a guy as a 7th defenseman for some depth in case an injury or something comes up as they prepare to truly go after the Stanley Cup.

For the Blackhawks, this is likely a trade to obtain some cap space, which they seem to be getting more and more of as time goes on. Koekkoek is a young defenseman who makes less than Rutta but he will be a restricted free agent after this season.

It will be up to management to decide what to do with him once they cross that bridge, but he likely will not command much because he hasn’t been given much opportunity in Tampa’s lineup. In 85 NHL games played over the span of five seasons he has five goals and nine assists for 14 points and is a -1. The Hawks could either let him walk or offer him a contract.

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With this trade, and trading Brandon Manning to Edmonton for Drake Cagguila, and then earlier this season when they traded Nick Schmaltz to Arizona for Dylan Strome, there seems to be a trend.

The Blackhawks are looking to save money it seems like. Schmaltz likely would have wanted way too much money, a lot more than he is worth, and they now have Strome who seems to like playing for the Blackhawks. And now they are no longer paying Rutta decent money to play for the Rockford IceHogs.