Stan Bowman was in a different spot this season. For the past decade, the goal around this time of year has been to go for it and add a player or two that will enhance the Blackhawks' chances at another Stanley Cup run. This season? Sell whoever you can for draft picks and prospects, and reset for 2018-19. The Blackhawks made the first big splash of the day by trading Ryan Hartman and a 2018 fifth-round pick to the Central Division rival Nashville Predators for forward prospect Victor Ejdsell, a 2018 first-round pick and 2018 fourth-rounder. Hartman wasn't necessarily on the market, but the phone calls picked up over the last seven to 10 days after he generated interest from multiple teams and the pros eventually outweighed the cons when the right offer was presented. "The things that were being proposed to me weren’t really appealing at all," Bowman said. "In the case of Nashville they made a really strong offer. The value we were getting for him, it was a really tough deal to pass up." It's as simple as that. Hartman is a pending restricted free agent and could command up to — or even more than — $2 million per season, and a strong postseason run with the Predators would certainly strengthen his case. That wouldn't have been a problem for the Blackhawks to pay, despite having Nick Schmaltz to extend in 2019-20, with the salary cap ceiling expected to increase to $80 million. It's getting a first-round pick in return plus a prospect like Ejdsell, who the Blackhawks reportedly pursued last summer, that intrigued Bowman enough to pull the trigger.
Selling mode gives Blackhawks more options and flexibility going into important offseason
NBC Sports Chicago | Mar 1