According to Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk is available to interested teams. After missing out on Nail Yakupov and going all in with several young, unproven kids up front, Chicago is now hoping to bring in a veteran forward to help out, and they are dangling van Riemsdyk as trade bait. Whether or not the 25-year-old defenseman is enough to get the deal done is another matter.
Since signing with the Blackhawks out of the University of New Hampshire in 2014, van Riemsdyk has yet to find the same success in the NHL as older brother James van Riemsdyk. His rookie year in 2014-15, he played in 18 games, recording just one point. Last season, he actually played in all 82 games for Chicago, but again was somewhat of a non-factor, with just 14 points and a -5 rating playing on the bottom pair. Yet, the Blackhawks re-signed the RFA defenseman to an affordable, two-year extension this summer. To begin the new campaign, van Riemsdyk got the call in the season opener at home, but was unimpressive in a 5-2 blowout loss to the rival St. Louis Blues. In the three games since, van Riemsdyk has yet to play. Now, it seems as if his time in Chicago altogether could be coming to an end. The signings of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, breakout of Gustav Forsling, and presence of veteran Michal Rosival as the extra defenseman and several others with NHL experience down on the farm has made van Riemsdyk more than expendable. Although his contract is cheap, the Blackhawks have seen him in action in over 100 NHL games and believe that his play leaves something to be desired.
Chicago’s hope is that someone else sees potential in van Riemsdyk. They want to leverage their depth on the blue line into help up front. Not quite a prospect at 25, the Blackhawks have to hope that they can find a desperate, D-needy team looking for a depth defenseman capable of playing big minutes. Otherwise, van Riemsdyk alone will not be enough to net the veteran forward that Chicago wants. Given the team’s cap crunch, the Blackhawks will either have to ship out more salary than just van Riemsdyk’s $825K cap hit, or offer a package enticing enough to get the other team to retain salary. In either scenario, van Riemsdyk alone is not enough to get the player that GM Stan Bowman would like. It is possible that they acquire an affordable, low-ceiling depth player straight up for van Riemsdyk, and continue to give major ice time and responsibility to Tyler Motte, Ryan Hartman, Nick Schmaltz and Vinnie Hinostroza, but that does not seem to be the ideal plan for Bowman.