By Chris Emma–
(CBS) Relocating for work is never easy, but when you’re transplanting to the Stanley Cup champions, it’s not that bad.
Such is life for defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt, acquired by the Blackhawks in a deal last Friday that sent star winger Patrick Sharp and rookie defenseman Stephen Johns to the Dallas Stars.
“I’m coming to a team that just won the Stanley Cup,” Daley said. “I’m coming in looking to fit in, follow their lead, listen and learn, because I want to win one with them.”
A 10-year veteran of three championships in Chicago, Sharp was the marquee name moved in this deal. But the Blackhawks came away with some talent for their 2015-’16 roster.
The Blackhawks had been openly shopping Sharp since before the Stanley Cup was hoisted in Chicago nearly a month ago, and conversations between general managers Stan Bowman and Jim Nill of the Stars had been taking place for more than two months.
Rather than just dumping Sharp’s $5.9 million in salary, the Blackhawks added Daley, 31, a top-four defenseman who will play a key role moving forward, and Garbutt, a 29-year-old to plug on a checking-line wing.
“Coming onto a team like the Blackhawks, with the pedigree they have, you just want to do whatever you can to fit in and play whatever role they want,” Garbutt said.
Daley tallied career-best marks in goals with 16 and assists with 22 in 68 games last season, while Garbutt recorded eight goals and 17 assists in 67 contests.
Bowman still must work to bring the Blackhawks below the NHL’s hard cap of $71.4 million, but he’s closing in after dealing Sharp’s hefty contract. Decisions loom with defenseman Johnny Oduya and center Marcus Kruger, each free agents awaiting potential Chicago trades to free cap room.
Names like Bryan Bickell and Kris Versteeg are on the trade block, though neither carries much intrigue for potential suitors.
Because Sharp, 33, just finished a down year statistically and his salary carries so much weight, the Blackhawks had to include Johns, the promising rookie defenseman. But adding Daley and Garbutt helps bolster Chicago’s roster for the immediate future.
Of course, the Blackhawks’ core of three Stanley Cup hoists remains in place.
“I get to go play for the best team in hockey, go watch some future Hall of Famers play hockey and play with them on the same team,” Daley said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge, and I’ll just try to take advantage of it and run with it.”
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.