The Chicago Blackhawks traded forwards Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell to the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday in exchange for a 2016 2nd-round pick and a 2017 3rd-round selection.
“I would like to thank both Bryan and Teuvo for their contributions to the Blackhawks organization,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. “Both players were drafted by our organization and developed to play important roles on Stanley Cup championship teams. We wish them the best as they continue their careers with Carolina.”
This is a huge move for the Hurricanes, who acquire two Stanley Cup champions, one of which (Teravainen) is an up-and-coming star still on his entry-level contract who is a lock to make the team’s top-six group of forwards. It is especially significant considering the Hurricanes lost long-time captain Eric Staal at the trade deadline. Teravainen will add some much-needed creativity and talent to Carolina’s crop of forwards, and the change of scenery could give Bickell an opportunity to turn things around.
“This deal allowed us to use some of our collected draft picks to improve our group of forwards for the coming season by adding two Stanley Cup champions,” Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis said. “Both players give our organization more options and flexibility among the forward ranks.”
Though it is somewhat surprising to see the Blackhawks trade away a former first-round pick in Teravainen, it has been widely known that the Blackhawks have had an overwhelming desire to move Bickell and his $4 million cap hit, even if someone like Teravainen had to be included in the deal. Bowman managed to get two solid draft picks in the deal, but this is still a costly move for a team looking to shed an ugly contract. This is the second summer in a row in which the Blackhawks have traded young star players believed to be key pieces in the organization’s future (Brandon Saad was traded to Columbus last offseason) because of cap constraints. With the emergence of the dominant Artemi Panarin this past season, the Blackhawks may be able to afford to lose a player like Teravainen, but it’s certainly not something any general manager wants to do.
The 21-year-old Teravainen was drafted by Chicago in the first round (18th) in the 2012 draft. Teravainen, whom many have compared to Patrick Kane, has been a highly-anticipated talent in the Blackhawks organization, though he did not transition into the team’s top-six as smoothly and as quickly as many expected. He racked up 35 points in 78 games in his first full season with Chicago this year, and he tallied one point in the Blackhawks’ seven-game playoff series against the St. Louis Blues. Teravainen is in the final year of his entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2016-2017 campaign.
Bickell, 30, signed a four-year deal after scoring 17 points in 23 playoff games in 2013, including the game-tying goal in the Blackhawks’ unlikely Game 6 comeback to win the Stanley Cup. However, he has since fallen in the team’s depth ranks, scoring only 45 total points in the past three seasons. He was waived by the Blackhawks earlier this season and played the majority of the year for the team’s AHL affiliate. Bickell will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
This move leaves Chicago with around $10 million in cap space, according to generalfanager.com, to re-sign restricted free agent Andrew Shaw, as well as several other forwards to fill out the lineup. It’s unlikely Bowman will re-sign any of the Hawks’ late-season acquisitions, such as Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise or Tomas Fleischmann, though the Hawks already inked Richard Panik to a one-year deal.
Chicago still has plenty of work to do this offseason. It will be interesting to see what Bowman has in store leading up to the draft and heading into free agency.
Featured Image via hurricanes.nhl.com