The Chicago Blackhawks announced a small trade today with the Vancouver Canucks between two players who have been unable to crack their respective lineups as Chicago acquired Michael Chaput from the Canucks in exchange for Tanner Kero.
Chaput has been a valuable commodity for Vancouver’s AHL team as he has bounced back and forth between the Comets and the Canucks. The 26-year-old forward tallied 17 goals and 25 assists last year with Utica in 55 games and only managed to appear in nine games for the Canucks, averaging 9:47 of ATOI and tallying no points. He did appear in 68 games in 2016-17, but couldn’t hold onto that job. With an influx of young talent pouring into the system, it appears that players such as Adam Gaudette or Jonathan Dahlen (unless they make the Canucks outright) will likely take over as top-line forwards for Utica, making Chaput expendable.
A restricted free agent with arbitration rights, Chaput will need to be signed, but again provides a cheap depth forward that Chicago needs with all its bloated, high-priced contracts at the top of their books. Already with 135 games of NHL experience, he provides the perfect bubble addition for the team that has a lot of youth that may or may not be ready for Chicago next season.
As for Vancouver, the team brings in Kero, who also has considerable experience playing between the AHL and NHL levels, but hasn’t been as successful. Kero tallied eight goals and 20 points in 36 games for the Rockford IceHogs last year, while he played eight games for Chicago, putting up a goal and two assists. He has 72 career NHL games under his belt. He provides value at the AHL level for the Comets, who need help at the center position there and he still has one year remaining on a $750K one-way deal.