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  • The Chicago Blackhawks made two major trades Friday in an effort to free up cap space and reload their roster with youth.
By Tanner Walters
June 23, 2017

The Chicago Blackhawks made a pair of major trades Friday, sending star defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes for a pair of younger blueliners and exchanging forwards with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The first blockbuster deal of the day involved Hjalmarsson, a three-time Stanley Cup champion. The Hawks will receive defensemen Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin for the 10-year veteran. Murphy is the central piece, coming off a season in which he had a career-high 15 assists in 77 games.

Hjalmarsson, who has played his whole career in Chicago, holds the franchise record for most playoff game appearances by a defenseman. In 73 games last year, the 30-year-old scored 18 points, tallying five goals and 13 assists.

In terms of financials, Hjalmarsson has two years left on his contract, carrying a $4.1 million cap hit. Murphy has five years and a $3.85 million cap hit.

The second deal Friday came immediately after the Hjalmarsson announcement. In exchange for Artemi Panarin, Chicago is bringing Brandon Saad back from Columbus. Saad won two previous Stanley Cups with the Hawks, and was traded away two years ago. Panarin, the league's best rookie in 2015-16, just signed a two-year contract in December.

The trade also includes forward Tyler Motte and a 2017 draft pick going to Columbus, with goalie Anton Forsberg and a 2018 pick coming back.

The dramatic moves come just days after it was announced that Marian Hossa would miss the upcoming 2017-2018 season because of a progressive skin disorder.

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