Struggling of late, the Chicago Blackhawks have added 39-year-old defenseman Kimmo Timonen
With the NHL trade deadline drawing closer, teams have been upping their activity. The Chicago Blackhawks made a move of significance late Friday, acquiring defenseman Kimmo Timonen from the Philadelphia Flyers.
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The trade only cost the ‘Hawks a second-round draft choice in the upcoming NHL draft, and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2016.
The Blackhawks, one of the most successful NHL franchises of the last 10 years—having won two Stanley Cup titles in the past five years—are currently struggling to win games. They are 4-3-3 in their last 10 games.
The news did not improve this week for the ‘Hawks, when captain Patrick Kane suffered a serious broken collarbone. Kane, one of the best two-way players in hockey, is expected to miss 12 weeks in order to fully recover.
The ‘Hawks are deep, and still possess another of the best two-way players in Jonathan Toews, not to mention other veterans like Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp—though Sharp has struggled of late and was rumored to be the center of trade talks between Chicago and the Washington Capitals.
Finally, Yahoo! Sports reported on Thursday that there was in-fighting and personal conflicts in the Blackhawks’ locker room. If true, it is likely the result of a franchise which has become so accustomed to success going through such a time of struggle.
With all of those factors, general manager Stan Bowman likely felt the need to make a move almost for the sake of making a move. He probably felt he needed to add a veteran who could smooth things over.
Timonen has sat out the entire season to this point after recovering from blood clots in his leg and lungs over the summer. The 39-year-old was contemplating retirement, but Bowman is putting his eggs in the basket that being traded to a team still very much in Stanley Cup contention could energize him to play hockey for the next two to four months.
Timonen has only played for the Flyers and Nashville Predators in his career. It has been a 15-year career, which has led him to third among active NHL defensemen in points with 571 (117 goals, 454 assists) and he is a four-time All-Star.
Timonen is a defensive wizard and adds to calm and poise to a unit, which in the ‘Hawks 2014 postseason run was a bit of a question mark at times. Coinciding with the trade, the ‘Hawks put defenseman Johnny Oduya on injured reserve.
The Hawks play at Tampa Bay tonight.
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