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NHL Trade Rumors: the Chicago Blackhawks enter the Mikkel Boedker Sweepstakes

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We've been exploring trade scenarios with the Dallas Stars for Mikkel Boedker. Now a Central Division rival tries to muscle its way in.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past couple of days we've been exploring a possible trade between the Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars for Mikkel Boedker's services. Their final offer to acquire the Danish winger was:

To Dallas:

  • F Mikkel Boedker
  • D Kevin Connauton
  • F Jens Looke

To Arizona:

  • F Ales Hemsky
  • D Jyrki Jokkapakka
  • 2016 2nd Round Pick

But the Stars are unlikely to be the only potential suitor for Boedker. Today, we reached out to Adam Hess of Second City Hockey to figure out what the Chicago Blackhawks might be willing to pay to make another deadline deal with the Coyotes.

Sweet Home Chicago

Why might Chicago want Boedker? Adam brings us up to speed on the Blackhawks' needs:

The Blackhawks have two main areas that they're looking to address on the trade market this year: a top six left winger, and a number four defenseman. They seem to prioritizing the search for a top six winger, which is a good thing. They've lacked stability next to Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa for most of the season.

They're played a ridiculous number of players at that spot, and they've had Andrew Shaw in that spot for some time now. While he's been effective, Shaw isn't a realistic solution at the spot if Chicago plans on making a deep run into the playoffs and repeating as Stanley Cup Champions, which they do.

The prospect of Mikkel Boedker on Jonathan Toews' wing should strike fear into the hearts of any playoff team in the Western Conference. A top six of Boedker, Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Artemi Panarin, and Artem Anisimov is arguably the best in the West, if not the entire NHL.

So what does Hess have in mind for an opening offer?

The Blackhawks are will be looking to do a few things in any potential deal for Boedker: #1 is keep their NHL roster as is, simply adding Boedker to the group. That said, #2 is move some salary in the form of trading Bryan Bickell or Rob Scuderi. This one is a much harder sell, because both awful and signed through next year, but there may be hope that the Yotes take one of them on to reach the floor next year.

If I was Stan Bowman, I would open discussion up with an offer of Ryan Hartman and a mid-round pick, preferably fourth. They don't have a second round pick to offer in 2016, so they'd probably prefer not to have to give up either their first or third round picks and sit around for two rounds. Stan Bowman loves to draft, and he's good at it. They'd maybe be willing to let the first round pick go, but only if Arizona was willing to take Bickell and/or send a second round pick as well.

As opening offers go, it's definitely reflective of Boeds' status as a pending UFA who would likely price himself out of Chicago over the summer. So understandably, the Hawks would be reluctant to set the lower limit of the negotiation very high.

So for those keeping score at home, Chicago offers:

To Chicago:

  • F - Mikkel Boedker

To Arizona:

  • F - Ryan Hartman
  • 2016 4th Round Pick
What do we make of this deal?

Who Is Ryan Hartman?

Hockey's Future considers Ryan Hartman to be Chicago's third-best left wing prospect. We asked Hess to give us the lowdown on what kind of player Hartman is:

Essentially he is Andrew Shaw 2.0, but with the potential to be much more and much better than Shaw is. Hartman brings a lot of energy and is unafraid to throw his body around, but he has a decent enough skillset that convince you he really was worth the 30th overall pick in 2013.

He has a pretty good shot and responsible enough defensively. He also is just 21 years old, so there's a lot of room for growth in his game. He has the potential to be a very useful second line winger in the future.

Hartman's numbers with AHL Rockford confirm Hess's description: he has 12 goals and 16 assists in 44 games this season, but also 93 penalty minutes. If his growth continues as expected, he definitely could slot in well in Arizona's middle six.

But like Dallas' opening offer of Ales Hemsky, Chicago's proposal doesn't address Arizona's immediate needs. Hartman could be good, but he'd be entering an already crowded prospect pool up front, while Arizona's back-end continued to go unaddressed. And a mid-round pick is anything but a guarantee of an NHL caliber player.

A Counter-Offer

Still, Hess's opening offer is a reasonable one under the circumstances. But I think Arizona is going to set the bar higher, especially if it took a late first rounder and Klas Dahlbeck for Chicago to rent Antoine Vermette last season.

So with that in mind, I make a similar counter-offer to Chicago:

To Chicago:

  • F - Mikkel Boedker
  • 2016 2nd Round Pick

To Arizona:

  • D - Ville Pokka
  • 2016 1st Round Pick

Pokka hits pretty much every need Arizona has: he's young, a right-handed shot, and good offensively from the blue-line. He's also incidentally one of Chicago's best prospects, so the Coyotes would probably not be able to get away with a Boedker for Pokka and a first straight up.

The second rounder in all likelihood will be mid-round, so if Chicago makes a deep run in the playoffs again they wouldn't be moving that far down. Arizona on the other hand would have three first-rounders going into the Draft, which would give them tremendous leverage to move picks around if there's a player they really want.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately Chicago may be less willing to part with picks or prospects this time around. Generally speaking, there's a limit to how many times you can rent players before the prospect pool becomes so depleted that the team hamstrings its future.

Yet, there's no denying that Chicago is one of the favorites to win the Cup this year. And neither team is under the illusion that Boedker is going to be playing for them next season. So perhaps the Blackhawks and Coyotes find reason to come together and make a deal on deadline day once again.