Blackhawks 4 must target avalanche players in Kane Blockbuster

As a guest on the NHL Network earlier this month, David Pagnotta casually shared some huge information. It was reported that the Colorado Avalanche was one of the teams that invited the Chicago Blackhawks regarding the availability of Patrick Kane. Although any move involving the super-winger looks set to wait until summer, one has to wonder if Brandon Hagel’s blockbuster movie could turn things around on that front.

Blackhawks announced that they were serious about rebuilding when they replaced Hagel. However, if Kane wanted the chance to play for a Stanley Cup competitor, he would have to tell general manager Kyle Davidson, as he has a no-motion clause. If the 33-year-old winger is open to a move, the team’s asking price will be too high. At a minimum, they may want to at least pick at least one first-round, multiple prospect, and a player of NHL caliber. Looking at the current avalanche list, they have access to it. Let’s discuss some of the players we can see in action in a virtual movie.

Samuel Gerrard

Samuel Gerrard is exactly the type of NHL player of his caliber that the Blackhawks should target. Although he has already established himself as an offensive defensive man among the top four, he is still only 23 years old. With that said, it holds a $5 million cap through the 2026-27 season, so it would be a long-term investment if acquired. Since the team’s left side is somewhat weak, he can also play the first duo’s minutes with them. This, in turn, could allow him to produce more of the rear end.

Colorado Avalanche Samuel Gerrard
Samuel Gerrard of the Colorado Avalanche (AP Photo/Chris Seward, File)

It’s been another very strong season for Gerrard. In 56 games, he scored five goals, 22 assists, and a plus 1 rating. However, there is also some belief that Avalanche would be willing to transfer to Kane’s deal. Besides the fact that his contract will send money the other way, the team also has a very strong left side. Devon Toews has become one of the better defenders, and although Bowen Byram has suffered a lot of injuries, he is excellent when available. If the latter can recover and continue to thrive, it could eventually make Gerrard consumable.

Justin Barron

Justin Barron is one possibility the Black Hawks would be wise to consider targeting. The 2020 first round selection has all the tools needed to become an effective top four player in this league. He is known for his excellent penetration movement and strong defensive zone play, so he could be a major addition to the rebuilding team. Looking at the team’s current roster, he could even immediately play in the NHL if acquired.

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Barron is having his first very strong professional season with the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League (AHL). In 42 games over the course of the year, he has five goals along with 15 assists. With this it turns out that he is able to produce a decent attack at the level of AHL. The real question will be whether he can translate that into the sport’s most competitive league. He has appeared in two games with Avalanche this campaign and has been held up from the scoring sheet. However, the sample size is too small to judge harshly.

Alex Newhawk

If the Blackhawks were to trade Kane to an avalanche, there’s no doubt Alex Newhook would be their primary target. The 21-year-old has the potential to transform into a legitimate top six position and is already showing signs of that this season. In 52 games, he scored 11 goals, 12 assists, and an 8+ rating. With the Eagles this season, he has also scored four goals and seven assists in just 10 games. Therefore, he is very good at producing attack and would be a perfect addition to the rebuilding team.

Alex Newhawk Colorado Avalanche
Alex Newhawk, Colorado Avalanche (Jess Starr/The Hockey Book)

Although the Blackhawks would likely target him, it is difficult to say whether the avalanche would be willing to let the best prospect ahead. Although they are set to be contenders for years to come, Newhook will likely take over the team’s second-line position if Nazim Kadri leaves via free agency this summer. He has the potential to become a huge part of their future core, but if they want to help Kane with their chances of finally winning the Stanley Cup, it could move him.

Justus Annonin

The Blackhawks will also have to tackle their target while rebuilding. Marc-Andre Fleury has been at the rumor mill due to his contract expiring, and Kevin Lankinen will also be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) this summer. Therefore, they can look for a future goalkeeper in the Kane swap, and the person that could be this is just Justus Anunin.

Like Barron, Annunen is currently playing his first full season with the Eagles. In 41 AHL games, he scored 22-10-6, 2.63 goals-for-average (GAA), and 907-savings (SV%). All in all, those are solid numbers from a 22-year-old goalkeeper who got his first real taste of professional hockey in North America. With that said, he’s also played in two games with Avalanche this season, scoring 1-0-1, 4.34 GAA, and 863 SV%. He struggled with the NHL team, but will have plenty of time to make up for that later.

However, the Blackhawks have some enticing choices from avalanche if the two decide to pursue a blockbuster movie centered around Kane. While this is something that likely won’t happen until the summer if it does, it’s never too early to consider potential trading scenarios.