By Jay Zawaski

(CBS) — Late Thursday night, the Chicago Blackhawks announced the team has acquired forwards Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard from the New York Islanders in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick in 2014.  Regin will report to Chicago, while Bouchard will report directly to the Rockford Ice Hogs of the American Hockey League.

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The team also announced that center Brandon Pirri has been demoted to Rockford.

That means Regin is the next candidate for the ever-elusive second-line center job.  By no means is he going to solve the problem long-term, but he’s going to get a chance like Michal Handzus, Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger, and Pirri did earlier in the season.


Assets: A good puckhandler, he can create offense at a very high tempo. Skates very well and can play either center or wing. Has good offensive instincts. Is sound defensively, too.
Flaws: Needs to use his 6-2 frame more effectively to gain an edge in physical battles. Must also learn to shoot the puck more often, so as to keep defenses honest. Injuries are a concern.
Career Potential: Speedy and versatile, yet fragile playmaking forward.
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Fragile is an understatement.  Regin has missed 103 regular-season and seven playoff games over the last three seasons.  When he’s in the lineup and healthy, he’s a quality player.  He’s not the second coming of Rod Brind’Amour or Henrik Zetterberg, but he’s a better option at this point than Handzus.  This season, he’s appeared in 44 games for the Islanders, tallying two goals and five assists.  These numbers hardly jump off the page, but he hasn’t exactly been centering players as gifted as Patrick Kane, Kris Versteeg or Brandon Saad.

Bouchard has split time between New York and Bridgeport of the AHL.  In 28 games with the Islanders, he’s recorded four goals and five assists.  In Bridgeport, he’s appeared in 20 games, in which he’s posted six goals and 11 assists.


Assets: Owns excellent vision and creativity. Is patient with the puck and very elusive. Has the talent and ability to rack up very good point totals. Can play all three forward positions.
Flaws: Is smallish in stature and can get knocked off the puck too easily. Doesn’t shoot enough. Needs to continue working on his play without the biscuit. Concussion woes are now a huge concern.
Career Potential: Playmaking, but fragile forward.

Bouchard has struggled in New York, but was a very solid contributor in Minnesota, where he managed four straight seasons of 50 points or more.  I always find it hard to judge a player based on how he did on Long Island.  While Bouchard will start his Blackhawks career in Rockford, he’ll almost certainly get a look with the big club this season.

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Bottom line?  The Hawks pick up two quality NHL players for a fourth-round pick (which is very little).  It’s almost a perfect example of a “can’t hurt /could help” deal, and with the Islanders picking up half the salary for both players, the deal becomes very affordable. The Hawks now have just over $200,000 in salary cap space.  Both Regin and Bouchard will be unrestricted free agents at the end of this season.