The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired defenseman Calvin de Haan and forward Aleksi Saarela from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Gustav Forsling and goalie Anton Forsberg.
The Blackhawks have been improving, their defensemen, getting Olli Maatta from Pittsburgh, and now de Haan. But with 59 point man Erik Gustafsson and Duncan Keith, the Hawks now have four lefty defenseman. They could move one of those guys to the right side, with Brent Seabrook. Former first rounder Henri Jokijarju could also make the team. If Jokijarju makes the team, then Connor Murphy will probably be traded, or Jokijarju will be sent to the minors. This trade hurts the odds for Slater Koekkoek and Carl Dahlstrom. De Haan is a good second pairing defenseman, and is good defensively. He is under contract for three more years at $4.55 million a year. Saarela is a young forward who debuted this postseason.
de Haan, 28, scored one goal with 13 assists for 14 points in 74 games for the Hurricanes this year. In his NHL career for the Canes and New York Islanders, de Haan has scored 13 goals with 82 assists for 95 points in 378 games, with 793 blocked shots.
Saarela, 22, didn\’t score a point in one playoff game this year, his NHL debut. For AHL Charlotte, Saarela scored 30 goals with 24 assists for 54 points in 69 games, helping them win the Calder Cup.
For the Canes, I don\’t get this trade. My guess is that they are trying to free cap space. They have nearly $25 million in space, but need to sign Sebastian Aho, Brock McGinn, Justin Williams, Michael Ferland, two goalies and now Forsling, who is an RFA. They get their backup goalie in Forsberg, who played in a career high 35 games two years ago, but didn\’t post great numbers. Forsling is a depth defenseman who can compete for a starting role.
Forsberg, 26, had a 2.97 GAA and a .908 SV% in 35 games for the Blackhawks in 2017-18. He didn\’t play in the NHL this year. In his NHL career for the Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets, Forsberg has a .901 SV% and 3.21 GAA. He had a 2.64 GAA and a .919 SV% in 32 games for AHL Rockford this year.
Forsling, 23, scored three goals with six assists for nine points in 43 games for the Hawks this year. In his NHL career, all for the Blackhawks, Forsling has scored eight goals with 19 assists for 27 points in 122 games.