Last night was the first few shots of what should be an insane wild trade deadline. Ben Chiarot was traded to Florida, and Calle Jarnkrok was traded to the Flames from Seattle. Jarnkrok was able to bring Seattle a great package of picks (2022 2nd-round pick, 2023 3rd-round pick, and 2023 7th-round pick). Jarnkrok has twenty-six points on the season (12G,14A). Jarnkrok is a solid addition to the middle six for the Flames, but that is the thing; he’s only a middle-six player and truly is a high-end third-line forward. The Flames may have just set the market higher than people projected coming into the deadline. And this is where the recent report from Ben Pope comes in.
Where is Kubalik likely to be moved?
Pope’s recent report suggested that Kubalik is on the verge of being traded, and the two front runners are the Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, and Winnipeg Jets. Kubalik lit the league on fire his rookie year, but he’s been mediocre at best since then. Kubalik has twenty-one points on the season (11G, 10A). This should put him in the same tier as a Jarnkrok. Kubalik has a cannon of a shot but just hasn’t released it fully this season. Chicago has not used Kublik on the top power-play unit but a few games this season, taking away the strongest part of his game. Kubalik could slide into an Oilers power play and score twenty-five goals alone on a power-play featuring Mcdavid and Drisaitl. Or he could add a little more firepower to the Ducks and still fit in the “rebuild” in Anaheim that is off to a great start. The Jets are also looking to get a little younger after a tough season so far, and the potential of Kubalik’s shot could be enough for the Jets to pull the trigger. Kubalik is only twenty-six years old and still has untapped potential to be a top-six forward, which just hasn’t come to fruition in Chicago. Some of it on the Blackhawks for not putting him in the best spot to succeed and deploying him on the top power-play unit with players like Kane and Strome, who have the ability to create and play make. Instead, he’s been on a line with a struggling Toews or stuffed in a bottom-six role. Now all the blame for Kubalik’s struggles is not on the Blackhawks. He has played with a lack of effort for long stretches and is invisible during games. He has been a player that catches fire and goes on streaks where he can score five goals in six games, a change of scenery could spark that run.
What would the Blackhawks get in return?
Based on the Jarnkrok trade, Chicago should be asking for a second-round and fifth-round pick. Kubalik is due for a contract at the end of the season, although he is a restricted free agent. Kubalik is coming off a contract that he was making 3.7 AAV and will be looking to up that number. This could take his value down some, and if any of the three teams are willing to give up a second-round pick and then some. Kyle Davidson should jump on it and move on from Kubalik and continue to look at the rebuild in Chicago. Davidson has three teams that he can use to start a bidding war, but this is his first big move. Can he handle the pressure of the savvy General Managers across the league?