Blackhawks looking ahead to trade deadline

Blackhawks looking ahead to trade deadline
February 20, 2014, 5:45 pm
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It’s been so quiet without all those trade rumors streaming about, hasn’t it?

This time of the year is usually filled with them, everything from the mundane to the ridiculous. Oh, who are we kidding: most fall in the ridiculous category. They’ll be starting up again soon, we presume, as the Olympic trade freeze ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Feb. 23. Then, it’s game on again as teams look to improve their rosters, or sell them off, before the March 5 trade deadline.

It’s always interesting to watch the bubble teams -- those hovering around playoff status – as well as those who are headed for a fire sale. But what activity awaits the Chicago Blackhawks? From our vantage point, it probably won’t be much.

Sorry, folks, we know some of you get a rise out of those crazy blockbuster trades. But if you’re holding your breath waiting for the Blackhawks to do one of those, you may turn blue before it happens. It’s very unlikely. What they’ll probably do is something similar to last trade deadline: get some depth, try to get it up the middle, and call it a day.

[MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Olympian Brian Hansen finds all 10 Blackhawks]

Hey, it worked out last season didn’t it? The Blackhawks acquired Michal Handzus from the San Jose Sharks on deadline day. He was supposed to be the team’s fourth-line center; even coach Joel Quenneville saw him in that spot. You saw what happened: Handzus got a chance at second-line center in the playoffs, ran with it, and hoisted his first Stanley Cup as the Blackhawks celebrated their second in four seasons.

Now we’re not saying the Blackhawks are going to capture lightning in a bottle like that this deadline. Heck, they didn’t plan to do it last deadline. Handzus’ rise through the roster was just one of those pleasant surprises the Blackhawks got out of the deal. But they’ll want some depth at center, so if anything’s done at the deadline, it’ll likely be there.

There’s no need for anything monstrous here. The Blackhawks still have great depth, still are in great shape in the standings. Sure, we’ll all find out how they come out of the break with just under half their roster still in Sochi. As of Wednesday, however, some of their most veteran players (Marian Hossa, Handzus and Michal Rozsival) were finished and will get a little extra rest. But unless something drastic happens in the first few days back on this side of the pond, we’re seeing a rather quiet deadline.