The Chicago Blackhawks had to make Bryan Bickell’s $4 million salary cap hit disappear. Andrew Shaw, a restricted free agent, needs a new contract. They need to improve their back end, and that takes cap space. By buyout or by trade, Bickell had to go.
Turns out it’s by trade, and the Blackhawks had to sweeten the pot with a pretty good player to make it happen.
Bickell was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday with forward Teuvo Teravainen in exchange for the Hurricanes’ 2016 second-round and 2017 third-round picks.
“This deal allowed us to use some of our collected draft picks to improve our group of forwards for the coming season by added two Stanley Cup champions,” said GM Ron Francis. “Teuvo is a young, highly-skilled player still on his entry-level contract who is coming off of a strong first full NHL season, and Bryan is a veteran who has experienced great success in his career. Both players give our organization more options and flexibility among the forward ranks.”
Said Chicago GM Stan Bowman: “I would like to thank both Bryan and Teuvo for their contributions to the Blackhawks organization. Both players were drafted by our organization and developed to play important roles on Stanley Cup championship teams. We wish them the best as they continue their careers with Carolina.”
Teravainen, 21, has one more year left on his rookie contract. The Blackhawks are clearly already looking at next summer: Artemi Panarin plays with Patrick Kane and is due a new deal in 2017. Teravainen had yet to really nail down a forward slot, and probably wasn’t cracking the top six in the near term.
There's going to be a lot of outrage over his conclusion here, but the bottom line is that the Blackhawks needed to keep Shaw in the near-term and might have needed to let go of Teravainen next season to sign Pararin. Price of success.
Bickell … well this is just a sad one.
He was waived on January 18, and assigned to the AHL. That was three years after his 17-point performance in the 2013 Stanley Cup win earned him a 4-year, $16-million contract. But then came more concussions, on top of the concussions he had already sustained. There were the vertigo-like symptoms. And now, there’s the unceremonious trade to the Hurricanes, and who knows where that leads him.
A good trade for Carolina, who can give Teravainen a chance to shine (and who needed some salary to get closer to the floor).
A good trade for the Hawks. No Brandon Saad-like drama with Andrew Shaw, a player they couldn’t afford to lose, and the No. 50 overall pick in the draft. You can find a player there; heck, Saad was taken at No. 43 overall.
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