Watch CBS News

Zawaski: Patrick Kane Injury Creates Trade Opportunity For Blackhawks

By Jay Zawaski-

(CBS) There's no silver lining to the Blackhawks losing star winger Patrick Kane for an extended period of time. Let's clear that up right off the hop.

If you missed it, Kane was injured Tuesday night when he was cross-checked by Florida's Alex Petrovic. He fell awkwardly into the sideboards and immediately left the game. The team has announced he suffered a fractured left clavicle. He had surgery on Wednesday, and is expected back in approximately 12 weeks. Kane has been placed on long-term injured reserve.

That's where it all gets interesting.

By placing Kane on LTIR, the Blackhawks suddenly find themselves with somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million in cap space. That creates a unique opportunity to improve the roster ahead of Monday's trade deadline.

I can hear you asking, "But won't they be over the cap when Kane comes back?" No. They won't.

It's unlikely that Kane will return in time for the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs, which begin April 15. Once the playoffs begin, the salary cap disappears. It's a strange quirk in the league's collective bargaining agreement, but NHL players are paid for 82 games and not the playoffs. Theoretically, Chicago could go ahead and add a $5 million player for the remainder of the season, then add Kane to the lineup consequence-free in the playoffs.

The Blackhawks have already been actively shopping for a defenseman and are expected to make some kind of move on that front. Could the they add a forward to their shopping list now? I think they'd be fools not to try. The LTIR situation gives them a unique opportunity to load up for the long playoff run, and they should take that opportunity.

Now let's look at some candidates for the Blackhawks to consider, with the scouting reports via



Andrej Sekera, Carolina

Editor's note: Shortly after this piece was posted, Sekera was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.

Age: 28
Stats: 2 goals, 17 assists, - 7
Cap hit: $1.75 million (UFA)

Scouting report from

Assets: Has excellent mobility from the back end. Likes to lug the puck up ice when confident. Is an excellent passer and usually displays plenty of cool under pressure. Can log big minutes. Displays a lot of offensive ability.

Flaws: Is not at all physical and can get manhandled by bigger forwards at the National Hockey League level. Could use a bit more bulk. Must become more of an offensive take-charge guy, but not too fancy.

Zawaski's take: As far as trade targets go, Sekera should be the Chicago's A, B and C target. He immediately solves what ails the Blackhawks' blue line. He might even be a guy they consider keeping beyond this season. If they give up a prospect you've heard of, that just might be their plan.

Zbynek Michalek, Arizona

Age: 32
Stats: 2 goals, 6 assists, -6
Cap hit: $4 million (UFA)

Scouting report from

Assets: Is an excellent defender and shot-blocker, capable of playing a shutdown role. Has the ability to work the point on the power play, mainly because he possesses a big shot.

Flaws: Does not use his good size enough to his advantage, and can be considered a bit too soft overall. Doesn't shoot the puck nearly enough, either. Can be prone to injuries.

Zawaski's take: Michalek would basically be like putting Michal Rozsival in a time machine and setting it back three years. Solid, unspectacular and reliable.

Jeff Petry, Edmonton

Age: 27
Stats: 4 goals, 11 assists, -25
Cap hit: $3.075 million (UFA)

Scouting report from

Assets: Is silky smooth in his own end and on the breakout. Skates well and can jump up into the play. Owns a good hard shot and offensive acumen. Works very hard.

Flaws: Needs to continue filling out his big frame, step up his physicality and play a safe, disciplined game in order to maximize his National Hockey League potential.

Zawaski's take: If Sekera is gone, Petry might be a nice alternative. The Oilers are absolutely awful in goal and might be tempted to take a flyer on Antti Raanta.



Antoine Vermette, Arizona

Age: 32
Stats: 13 goals, 22 assists, -22
Cap hit: $3.75 million (UFA)

Scouting report from

Assets: Has excellent two-way instincts, great wheels and tenacity. Is dedicated to playing at both ends of the ice and displays loads of perseverance. Effective on face-offs, he can play any role on a team.

Flaws: Isn't capable of making an offensive impact at the National Hockey League level over the long haul. Is woefully inconsistent in the attacking zone. Misses a lot of quality scoring chances.

Zawaski's take: If you've followed the trade deadline in your life, Vermette is a name you've heard over and over again. He's a terrific two-way player and would have much better numbers with competent linemates. He will be sought by every team looking to add a forward. If the Hawks can somehow acquire Vermette, perhaps they would consider trading Brad Richards for a pick, especially if the Hawks see Teuvo Teravainen in their season-long plans.

Curtis Glencross, Calgary

Age: 32
Stats: 8 goals, 19 assists, +4
Cap hit: $2.55 million (UFA)

Scouting report from

Assets: Is an industrious, physical forward who usually keeps the game as simple as possible. With good speed, he can score goals in bunches and is a solid role player. Takes care of his end and can even contribute on the penalty kill.

Flaws: Will always need to outwork opponents, as he can't make it on pure talent alone. Inconsistency has plagued him, especially early on in his career. Can occasionally take a bad penalty that hurts his team.

Zawaski's take: A two-way winger, Glencross would provide some stability.

Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey

Age: 43
Stats: 11 goals, 18 assists, -9
Cap hit: $3.5 million

Scouting report from

Assets: He's Jaromir Jagr.

Flaws: He's old.

Zawaski's take: I know, I know. He's old. He's slow. He's not very good anymore. The reason Jagr interests me if for his power-play ability and experience. I mean, would the Hawks really be worse off with 10 minutes of Jagr as opposed to six minutes of Daniel Carcillo? I don't think so. If he's not the top scoring option on his line, he could be OK. Of course, I could just be hoping to realize my NHL94 dreams. Things are cloudy.

Regardless of how this all shakes out, it will be a fun trade deadline. This is the first deadline in which Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has had real pressure to make a move. He's been ultra-conservative in the past. We'll see if he has the stones to pull off a big move now.

Jay Zawaski is the executive producer of the Spiegel and Goff Show on 670 The Score and the Blackhawks columnist for Follow him on Twitter at @JayZawaski670.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.