Zawaski: Blackhawks Want To Upgrade Bottom-6 Forwards Ahead Of Trade Deadline

By Jay Zawaski–

(CBS) With the NHL’s trade deadline looming Wednesday afternoon, hockey fans everywhere are wondering what’s next for their team. Blackhawks fans are no exception.

As of Monday night, players like Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya and Zdeno Chara had been floating around the Blackhawks trade rumor world. From what I’ve been told, I’d be surprised if the Blackhawks bring in any of those players.

You can file Chara in the “no chance” folder. The Bruins are in a playoff race, and I can’t imagine them trading their captain. Couple that with the fact that Chara carries a $6.9 million cap hit this season and a $4 million cap hit next season, and it’s a non-starter.

While still beloved in Chicago, the 35-year-old Sharp has been a shadow of himself with Dallas. He’s only appeared in 36 games this season while dealing with several injuries, including concussions. If he can finish this season healthy with Dallas, he could be an option to return next season on a cheap, Brian Campbell-esque contract, but at this point, I’d be surprised to see the Hawks give up an asset for a fragile and declining Sharp.

Of those three rumored names, Oduya makes the most sense to me. The pairing of Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson has proved effective. He carries a $3.75 million cap hit and will be an unrestricted free agent next season.

So what will the Hawks do, you ask?

Well, I wouldn’t expect anything exciting. From what I’m told, the Hawks are looking to upgrade their bottom-six forwards. They were interested in Vancouver’s Alex Burrows, but he was traded to Ottawa on Monday afternoon. The Senators gave up a top prospect in Jonathan Dahlen and immediately signed Burrows to a two-year extension.

As Wednesday’s deadline approaches, that’s the kind of player the Hawks are looking to add up front. They want a physical winger with some offensive ability, basically upgrading from Jordin Tootoo and Andrew Desjardins.

The Hawks are unlikely to trade a first-round pick because they’re hosting the draft this summer. They also won’t trade Nick Schmaltz, Gustav Forsling or Alex Debrincat, so you can cross any legitimate star players off the wish list, as they’d require a top prospect going the other way.

It could be a pretty quiet trade deadline for the Blackhawks, and that’s not necessarily bad. Sometimes the best trade is the one your team doesn’t make. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to still have Phillip Danault on the roster? Remember, the Blackhawks traded him for Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann last season. He’s gone on to thrive in Montreal, while Weise and Fleischmann added little to the Blackhawks in their time in Chicago.

Jay Zawaski is the executive producer of the Spiegel and Parkins Show on 670 The Score and the Blackhawks columnist for CBSChicago.com. He also hosts a weekly podcast with James Neveau of NBCChicago.com that you can listen and subscribe to here. Follow him on Twitter @JayZawaski670.

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