Blackhawks defenseman Gustav Forsling had a bit of a tough season. He missed time with three separate injuries and didn’t have a significant role when he was in the lineup, averaging a little over 17 minutes a night. With several quality defense prospects on the horizon as well as their other blueliners on the roster, John Dietz of the Daily Herald suggests that the 22-year-old could make sense as potential trade bait this summer.
Consistency has been an issue for Forsling thus far. Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton called him their best defender some nights but there were others where he was a non-factor. The potential is still there for him to become an impact player and he certainly would carry some trade value around the league. Moving him could allow someone like Slater Koekkoek (or Henri Jokiharju, though he plays the other side) to move into a regular spot for next season while bringing in a decent piece, presumably up front. Forsling will be a restricted free agent this summer and is owed a qualifying offer of just over $874K in June.
Elsewhere out West:
- Oilers winger Milan Lucic is dealing with a lower-body injury that was sustained just before the end of the season, reports TSN’s Ryan Rishaug (Twitter link). Lucic is currently in a cast and will be for a couple more weeks although it’s not expected to significantly affect his offseason conditioning while he is expected to be ready for training camp. Lucic has four years left on his contract after this one and is owed a $3MM bonus in July.
- The Canucks aren’t likely to bring defenseman Derrick Pouliot back next season, notes Postmedia’s Ben Kuzma. The 25-year-old took a step back in 2018-19 and with the team adding youngsters Josh Teves and Brogan Rafferty late in the year plus having several other young blueliners in the mix for a roster spot, freeing up a spot for one of them would be preferable to keeping Pouliot, who had a sparing role this season, around. He’s slated to be a restricted free agent this summer with a $1.1MM qualifying offer so if a team believes he’s worth a closer look, Vancouver could be able to trade him between now and June’s qualifying offer deadline.