Stan Bowman promised a shakeup to the Chicago Blackhawks next year and he did so by trading one of the core defensemen on the team. The Hawks traded 3-time Stanley Cup Champion, Niklas Hjalmarsson, to the Arizona Coyotes, for fellow defenseman, Connor Murphy, and prospect, Laurent Dauphin.
Hjalmarsson, 30, spent his entire 10-year career with the Blackhawks. In that time, he was part of 3 Stanley Cup championships. Hjalmarsson was the stay-at-home defenseman that blocked shots like nobody's business. Amazingly, he had missed only 11 games in the last four years. He was the Blackhawks' #3 D-man and will most likely play along Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the top defensive line in Arizona. Hjalmarsson arrives in Arizona with two years remaining on a $20.25mil contract, a cap hit of $4.1mil.
Murphy, 24, will likely assume Hjalmarsson's spot as a top 4 defenseman in Chicago. Murphy, slightly bigger at 6'4", 215 lbs., is considered a stay-at-home defenseman as well, but with a bit more defensive pop. Murphy has spent his four year NHL career, all with the Coyotes. Murphy brings a right-handed shot, which will compliment the Hawks since Hjalmarsson was a left-handed shot who preferred the right side. A former #1 pick, 20th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Murphy comes to Chicago with five years remaining on a 6-year, $23.1mil contract, a cap hit of $3.85mil.
Dauphin, 22, played 24 games for Arizona last year, gathering 3 points (2G 1A), and will most likely spend time with the Blackhawks' AHL affilliate, Rockford Icehogs.
A shakeup was needed, and this was just the beginning. For those who don't "get it", Bowman is keeping the Blackhawks competitive, getting the team younger (6-year difference between Hjlamarsson and Murphy), adding youth prospects (Dauphin), reducing salary cap, ($250k in which every bit counts), and keeping key players under contract (gained 3 years with Murphy).
Love him or hate him, Bowman is trying to get the best he can and stay competitive. He blew the 2010 championship team up for picks, and drafted players like Saad and Shaw. How did that work out?
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