Marian Hossa was a huge reason the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He was a leader behind the scenes and on the ice. Impossible to knock off the puck and deadly with it on his stick.
He's a future Hall of Famer and will never be forgotten by legions of Hawks fans across the country.
But after Hossa announced he would miss the 2017-18 season with a skin condition, his $5.275 million cap hit became an albatross for general manager Stan Bowman.
On Thursday, though, that massive headache went away as Bowman shipped Hossa, Vinnie Hinostroza, and defenseman Jordan Oesterle to Arizona for Marcus Kruger, Jordan Maletta, MacKenzie Entwistle, and defenseman Andrew Campbell. The Hawks also gave Arizona their third-round pick next season, while the Coyotes gave the Hawks their fifth-round selection.
According to capfriendly.com, the deal saves the Hawks $4.65 million in cap space.
Although the Hawks said it was not an easy decision, Hossa agreed to waive his no-movement clause so the team could pull off the trade.
A Hawks statement said: "After the success he has had in a Blackhawks jersey, the friends he has made throughout the organization and the fact his heart will always be in Chicago, the thought of disassociating in any way from the team he has come to love was not something he really wanted to give any thought to at all. But, as the consummate team player, he did what he has always done. He did what the team needed him to do in order to succeed."
Here's what the Hawks are getting in return:
• Kruger, who spent the first seven years of his career with the Hawks, scored 1 goal and had 5 assists in 48 games with Carolina last season. He was demoted to the AHL late in the season and has one year remaining on his contract at $2.775 million.
• Maletta is a 23-year-old forward who has yet to play a game in the NHL.
• Entwistle, who will turn 19 on Saturday, is a 6-foot-2, 171-pound forward drafted by Arizona in the third round last year.
• Campbell is a 30-year-old left-shot defenseman who has spent most of his career in the AHL.
While that doesn't sound like much, the Hawks now have more cap space to sign up-and-coming stars such as Nick Schmaltz and Alex DeBrincat, as well as the opportunity to go after significant free agents in the future.
Artemi Panarin, who will be a UFA next season, comes to mind. And although he'll likely command $8 million to $10 million per year, it's not unreasonable to think he might want to return to play with Patrick Kane.
But that's all for another day.
Losing Hinostroza and Oesterle hurts, but remember that the Hawks already have a glut of up-and-coming forwards and defensemen. While this might lessen the competition for jobs just a bit, don't forget that Bowman will likely make a few more moves before camp starts in September.
As for Hossa, the Hawks closed their news release with a classy statement about a player who pumped in 166 goals for them over his 8 seasons in Chicago.
"Marian's long-term contributions to the club will never be forgotten. His performance as a player was always appreciated, but it is his special qualities as a teammate, a leader and a person that will more than anything leave its mark on all of us who have come to love and respect the very humble way he goes about everything he does.
"He has shown us all the impact we can have on others if we conduct ourselves with character, integrity and utmost respect for all we come in contact with.
"We have had the pleasure of watching him hoist three Stanley Cups with our team and he will forever be connected to the Blackhawks. On behalf of the entire organization, we would like to thank Marian -- a world-class player -- for all he has done for the Chicago Blackhawks."
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