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Blackhawks trade Tanner Kero to Canucks for journeyman Michael Chaput

Tanner Kero had eight goals in 72 games with the Blackhawks over the past three seasons. (AP Photo)

The Blackhawks’ first trade of the offseason was a minor one, as they swapped borderline NHL centers with the Canucks — Tanner Kero for Michael Chaput.

The 26-year-old Chaput had 17 goals and 25 assists with the AHL’s Utica Comets last season, but was pointless in nine games with the Canucks. The 6-2, 204-pounder has played 135 NHL games with the Blue Jackets and Canucks over the past five seasons. He has six goals and 11 assists in the NHL. He’s a restricted free agent, so it remains to be seen if the Hawks will actually sign him, or if they just wanted to free up one of their 50 contract spots.

The 25-year-old Kero, signed out of Michigan Tech in April of 2015, played 72 games with the Hawks over the past three seasons, posting eight goals and 14 assists in a mostly checking-line role. But Kero had fallen down the organizational depth chart, playing just eight games in the NHL this past season after playing 47 in 2016-17.