The Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes have kicked off the off-season with an incredibly surprising trade.
The Hurricanes announced Wednesday they have acquired winger Bryan Bickell, 30, and center Teuvo Teravainen, 21, from the Blackhawks in exchange for a second-round pick, 50th overall, in 2016 and a third-round pick in 2017. It’s a deal that works for both teams, but one that’s especially good for the Hurricanes, who leveraged the Blackhawks’ need to move Bickell’s $4 million cap hit into landing a young, promising player in Teravainen.
“This deal allowed us to use some of our collected draft picks to improve our group of forwards for the coming season by added two Stanley Cup champions,” Hurricanes GM Ron Francis said in a release. “Teuvo is a young, highly-skilled player still on his entry-level contract who is coming off of a strong first full NHL season, and Bryan is a veteran who has experienced great success in his career. Both players give our organization more options and flexibility among the forward ranks.”
For the Blackhawks, the need to sweeten the pot in order to rid themselves of Bickell’s deal sees them lose a player who could have been part of their future and yet another instance of Chicago having to sacrifice talent in order to get out from under the cap crunch. However, acquiring the two picks gives the Blackhawks selections where they didn’t have them before. Chicago was entering the draft without a pick in the first two rounds, but have now worked their way into the second round. That goes for the third round next season, too, where Chicago was without a pick but has now re-acquired their original selection from Carolina.
It’s not as if the deal has left the Hurricanes depleted of draft picks, either. Even in moving out two picks — one this season and one next season — they still have a combined 11 picks remaining in the first three rounds of the two upcoming drafts. Adding the combined $4.89 million in cap hits between Teravainen and Bickell still leaves Carolina with more than $26 million in cap space, and that’s before any increase in the upper limit.
The acquisitions also help bring the Hurricanes two players with NHL experience who can fit into the lineup immediately next season. Teravainen is coming off of a 13-goal, 35-point season in Chicago and Bickell, though he spent much of the past season in the AHL, has scored 65 goals and 135 points over his 384 games with the Blackhawks.
Wednesday's trade makes for consecutive off-seasons with deals between the Hurricanes and Blackhawks. Chicago traded Kris Versteeg, Joakim Nordstrom and a third-round pick to Carolina in September 2015 for Dennis Robertson (since re-acquired by Carolina), Jake Massie and a 2017 fifth-round pick.