Make that three trades in Aleksi Saarela’s young career. The Chicago Blackhawks minor league forward has been swapped again, this time headed to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Ian McCoshen. Saarela was only acquired by the Blackhawks in June as part of the Calvin de Haan trade, but had registered just one point in five games with the Rockford IceHogs.
That is a substantial step back for the 22-year old, who scored 30 goals and 54 points in 69 regular season games with the 2019 Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers. Saarela was a force for the Checkers in the regular season and playoffs, showing that he might have an NHL future after all.
Originally selected in the third round of the 2015 draft by the New York Rangers, Saarela’s rights were sent to Carolina as part of the 2016 Eric Staal trade. He’ll now try to impress a third organization.
McCoshen meanwhile found himself too far down the depth chart to be of much value to the Panthers at this point. The 24-year old defenseman was supposed to be NHL-ready when he came out of Boston College in 2015-16, but it turned out that readiness wasn’t the same as effectiveness. McCoshen has played 60 games with Florida over the last three seasons, but never found his groove as an everyday option.
Selected 31st overall in 2013, McCoshen is now on his second contract and waiver eligible, though he cleared it at the end of September and can be moved up and down by the Blackhawks for the time being. He’ll serve as some depth for the team as they deal with another injury to Connor Murphy.