The Chicago Blackhawks had a very disappointing campaign during the 2017-2018 National Hockey League regular season and as a result they missed the playoffs for the very first time in a decade. There was plenty of blame to go around at the end of the regular season and it was fairly obvious that Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman intended to make significant changes to his roster during the offseason.
The Blackhawks like just about every other team in the National Hockey League have been linked to New York Islanders center John Tavares but at the end of the day only one team is going to get him and that team could very well be the Islanders themselves. It doesn't sounds like Bowman is putting all of his eggs in the Tavares basket however as new reports suggest that he has already had discussions about potentially bring in two other players.
According to Chicago Blackhawks insider Scott Powers of The Athletic, the Blackhawka have already have conversations with the Carolina Hurricanes about bringing both former Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling as well as Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk.
The most exciting move here has to be the potential addition of Justin Faulk to the mix. He would immediately provide a big boost to the Blackhawks currently lackluster defense and he could eat up additional minutes on the power play as well. There's no question that Faulk would immediately slot into the Blackhawks top four and could even potentially supplant Brent Seabrook as the Blackhawks top defenseman on the right side. The issue with Faulk appears to be the fact that the Hurricanes are looking for a big return in order to give him up and that could potentially mean Chicago's 8th overall pick in the 2018 National Hockey League Entry Draft, although Powers does not believe Chicago would give it up for Faulk alone.
That may be where Darling comes in however, a package that the Hurricanes could use to entice the Blackhawks to make a blockbuster type of trade. Darling, a former backup with the Blackhawks, was traded by Chicago to the Hurricanes who tried to make him their number one goaltender, but he had what can only be describe as a terrible season. As a backup with the Blackhawks he was excellent however and having a quality option behind Corey Crawford, who's injury last season left the Blackhawks in terrible circumstances, would be of great benefit to to the Blackhawks. This was also the second time in his career that Crawford suffered similar symptoms and were it to happen a third time Darling would become even more valuable.
The problem here is that Darling is currently earning starting goaltender money, the Hurricanes gave him a deal that will see him earn $4,150,000 per season for the next three seasons. There are two ways the Hurricanes could resolve this for the Blackhawks however, they could retain up to 50% of Darling's current salary or they could eat more than 100% by agreeing to take on the contract of veteran forward Marian Hossa which comes in at $5,275,000 for the next three years.
That would certainly warrant a first round pick, and likely more than that, and would truly result in a blockbuster trade between these two organizations.