Stuck near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, the Chicago Blackhawks are poised to miss the playoff for the fourth time in five years. With the March 21 trade deadline a month away, they're expected to become sellers in the coming weeks.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury generated the most attention with speculation tying him to the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals and his former club, the Vegas Golden Knights. Meanwhile, trade rumors have dogged center Dylan Strome since the start of the season.
Most of the Blackhawks trade chatter has focused on pending unrestricted free agents such as Fleury and defenseman Calvin de Haan. However, Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli reported interim GM Kyle Davidson was listening to offers on wingers Alex DeBrincat and Brandon Hagel. He said there was strong interest in the 23-year-old Hagel because of his favorable contract.
Davidson could be listening on DeBrincat and Hagel but that doesn't mean he's moving them. DeBrincat, 24, has a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $6.4 million while Hagel is signed through 2023-24 at $1.5 million annually.
The Chicago Sun-Times' Ben Pope and The Athletic's Mark Lazerus cited sources claiming Hagel isn't going anywhere. The same probably goes for DeBrincat, who leads the Blackhawks with 29 goals in 52 games and could reach 40 by season's end.
DeBrincat and Hagel are among the few bright spots in a disappointing season for the Blackhawks. If a rebuild or a roster shakeup is coming, both players could be crucial to the club's long-term plans.
Dominik Kubalik, however, could be a trade candidate. Pope and Lazerus pointed out the 26-year-winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights whose production is down this season.