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Trade Chatter: Should Kyle Davidson Make a Call on Nick Robertson?

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There’s no rest for the weary in the NHL right now. Barely 24 hours since the NHL Draft ended, the Chicago Blackhawks have qualified their restricted free agents and are readying for free agency to open up at noon tomorrow EST. Oh, and potential trades–which maybe Nick Robertson could be in the mix?

Robertson hasn’t been the player the Maple Leafs or Robertson expected. But he’s only 22 and already has more goals and points in 12 less games than the Blachkawks’ Lukas Reichel, who could also benefit from Robertson in the Hawks sweater.

There’s leverage there, too since Robertson purportedly has no interest in playing for the Leafs. What might it cost? Well, the Blackhawks do own Toronto’s 2025 first-round pick but that seems awfully rich for comparable numbers to Reichel, who re-upped at an AAV of $1.2M.

Toronto needs defense and the only person who could slot in immediately could be one of the IceHogs young stable of defensemen in Ethan Del Mastro or Wyatt Kaiser. Either would be a cheaper option for the Maple Leafs, but would that be enough? Beyond that, would the Blackhawks want to give Del Mastro away, who looks a bit steadier than Kaiser. How about Kaiser, who looked better after a 30-plus game reboot in Rockford?

Another option if the Maple Leafs want a strong veteran–Connor Murphy. He still has two years left on his deal but the Blackhawks could absorb contract to ease the $4.4M AAV hit. Murphy is 31, but a leader in the Blackhawks locker room, too. More importantly, he can help Kevin Korchinski along, who never had a strong pairing once Murphy was injured back in January.

The Blackhawks also have a glut of prospects and picks should the Leafs just want gain value for him. Again, a first-round pick seems too much but what about any of the seven second-round choices the Hawks hold over the next three drafts?

But there’s some appeal there for Toronto. Robertson hasn’t been the guy the Maple Leafs thought he’d be–and maybe he hasn’t produced as the Blackhawks would have liked. Then again, talk about a chance to bring in a guy who could find his game with a lot less pressure on him to produce. There’s certainly an argument that his deployment while with the Leafs was flawed.

It sure looks like a call worth making. Shouldn’t cost too much and can at least add 14 tallies to the ledger for a team desperate for goal scoring.

Aside From Nick Robertson, Free Agency and Trades Loom

Roster attrition was expected and already the roster will be missing a number of players that just couldn’t separate themselves from the pack. Mackenzie Entwistle, Taylor Raddysh, and Reece Johnson won’t be qualified and are now unrestricted free agents. Joey Anderson was not qualified either but the Sun-Times’ Ben Pope speculates that the Hawks may yet offer him a deal. Anderson filled in admirably for the injury plagued Blackhawks and earned a fair shot at retaining his spot on the roster as a bottom six forward. Alas, he still wasn’t qualified.

Raddysh was snakebitten most of the year, and a final assessment saw him as potentially not being brought back as a result. Entwistle was scrappy and did what the coaches asked but just couldn’t capitalize on scoring chances as one would want to see. Other players not qualified were Jaxon Stauber, Filip Roos, and Michal Teply.

Isaak Phillips was qualified but he seems like a bet to be shuffling between Rockford and Chicago next season as a seventh or eighth defenseman.

Davidson is likely to shore up the top six a bit more–improving a team that finished dead last in goals for and also set a record in futility for the organization for an 82-game season.

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