CHICAGO – Defensive depth has been a question for the Blackhawks at times during the past few years, and the hope was that Stan Bowman would address that through free agency or a trade.
On Monday night, Stan Bowman used the latter to add another player to bolster the defense.
The Blackhawks acquired defenseman Calvin de Haan from the Carolina Hurricanes along with forward Aleksi Saarela in exchange for goalie Anton Forsberg and defenseman Gustav Forsling. The seven-year veteran will have three years remaining on an $18.2 million contract he signed in July of 2018 as he adds to the team’s depth on the blue line.
When the Blackhawks might get de Haan could depend on his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, which Carolina general manager Don Waddell said would require a 4-to-6 month recovery.
With the Islanders for the first six years of his career, de Haan joined the Hurricanes in 2018-2019 and saw action in 74 regular season games, scoring a goal with 13 assists. He appeared in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games for Carolina during their run to the Eastern Conference Finals, scoring a goal against the Bruins in Game 3 of that round.
The 12th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, de Haan spent his first six seasons with the Islanders and became a consistent contributor to the team’s blue line. During the 2016-2017 season, he scored a career-high 25 points and register a plus-minus of 15 while playing in every regular season game for New York. After the team signed him to a one-year deal, de Haan lost his season after just 11 games due to a lower body injury, but still registered a plus-11, which got him the four-year deal from the Hurricanes at the end of the season.
Saarela spent the regular season with the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL and registered a career year with 30 goals and 24 assists in helping the team to a Calder Cup title. He did take the ice for one game for the Hurricanes in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, seeing 9:10 of ice time against the Capitals in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first round series on April 20th.