TAMPA, Fla. — The Blackhawks added some young skill to their roster on Thursday by trading Ryan Garbutt to the Anaheim Ducks for Jiri Sekac. Perhaps more importantly, they added some salary-cap flexibility.
The trade is essentially cap neutral for the Hawks — Sekac’s cap hit of $925,000 is just $25,000 more than Garbutt’s — but Sekac is in the last year of his contract, while Garbutt was signed through next year. With the cap situation uncertain thanks to a free-falling Canadian dollar, the Hawks are trying to free up as much space as possible.
The Hawks now have traded both players acquired in the Patrick Sharp trade, having sent Trevor Daley to Pittsburgh for Rob Scuderi. Both moves had cap implications.
“I think there’s business decisions right now in a lot of things we do,” Joel Quenneville said. “And there’s hockey decisions. … It’s probably both ways. It’ll be a good opportunity for both guys to get a look and more opportunity to play.”
Sekac likely will play Friday in Florida, but didn’t arrive in time to play in Tampa. Compounding things, Richard Panik overslept and was late for practice, and will be scratched tonight as punishment (he skated on his own following the morning skate). The Hawks dressed seven defensemen without him, with Rob Scuderi on the fourth line at right wing. He played just four shifts in the game, and during the third-period push, Kane and Marian Hossa double-shifted in that spot.
“It’s tough to change seven D,” Quenneville said. “It’s easier to slide him in [at wing] here or there.”
Quenneville clearly was not pleased, but didn’t want to pass judgment on Panik just yet.
“It’s too fresh right now to really assess it,” he said.
The 23-year-old Sekac has just one goal and two assists in 22 games for Anaheim this season, after being acquired from Montreal at the trade deadline last season. He combined for nine goals and 14 assists in 69 games with the Canadiens and Ducks as a rookie.
Garbutt had two goals and four assists in 43 games with the Hawks.