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Blackhawks make no moves on trade deadline day, keep Colin Blackwell and Tyler Johnson

Blackhawks make no moves on trade deadline day, keep Colin Blackwell and Tyler Johnson originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago Blackhawks kept forwards Colin Blackwell and Tyler Johnson past Friday's 2 p.m. CT trade deadline, GM Kyle Davidson confirmed in his press conference. Anthony Beauviller was the only player moved after he was traded to Nashville on Thursday for a fifth-round pick in 2024.

"I didn't really have anything pegged," Davidson said of whether he hoped to pull off more trades. "But heading into it, I thought there would be a little more activity, whether we did something or not was a different story. I just thought there would be a little more action on our end, but it was quieter, which is fine.

"We're happy with the group we have moving through the deadline. I wasn't like dead-set on trying to make other moves. If it happened, it happened, and it didn't."

It was a much different feeling around the trade deadline than last season for the Blackhawks, who made nine moves and traded franchise icon Patrick Kane. That didn't mean this year's deadline didn't provide a little bit of stress for Davidson.

"The last few years were stressful for different reasons; the activity and gravity of some moves," Davidson said. "This year I think was more stressful because — it wasn't more stressful, it was a different kind of stress because the last two deadlines I've worked have been so busy that this felt different. You're thinking like, 'Is there something else I should be doing?' And so it was just different.

"To say it was much more quiet would be an understatement. It was different. You still work the phones the same, just there's less substance in those phone calls, which feels like you're spinning your wheels a bit. But all good, just a different year for us."

With Jason Dickinson, Nick Foligno and Petr Mrazek signing two-year contract extensions earlier in the season, the Blackhawks didn't have many trade chips. Blackwell and Johnson were the two players who potentially could have been moved but both of them stayed put.

Blackwell recently spoke about potentially being traded at the deadline and hoped he wouldn't get moved because he wanted to be part of what Chicago is building.

"For me, this is where I want to be," Blackwell said. "I'm enjoying the role that I'm playing. Throughout the course of my career, I always end up changing teams when I finally feel comfortable and I feel like I've got the coaches' and players' trust around me. I feel like I've finally gotten that after a year and a half of being here. For me, I don't want to go anywhere.

"I'm happy where I am. I'm grateful to put on an Original Six franchise sweater every single night. I'm grateful for the opportunity that I have here. This is somewhere I would like to be and hopefully it's past the trade deadline as well so this is something that I've seen it dating back to last year and seeing what's hopefully building for the future and that's something that I'd like to be a part of, so like I said, I'm comfortable here. I like it, and I'm finally feeling that comfort, which is hard to do in this league when you bounce around a little bit."

Johnson had a 20-team trade list and is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. His cap hit is $5 million, which probably made it difficult for teams to squeeze into their budget, even with salary retention.

Overall, Davidson is fine with how everything played out given the expectations. Now he's onto prepping for the 2024 NHL Draft.

"That’s definitely going to take up a lot of the focus now," Davidson said. "That along with tracking some of the prospects down the stretch and see how they’re doing, where we might want to have them play, whether it’s to end this year or to play next year.

"Those kind of conversations are going to really heat up and start to be had. Yeah, between draft prep and then those prospect conversations, that’s definitely going to be a shift in focus."

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