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Blackhawks trade Aleksi Saarela to Panthers for depth defenseman Ian McCoshen

Saarela was off to a slow start in the AHL, a league where he’d been disgruntled in the past.

Aleksi Saarela was traded from the Blackhawks to Panthers on Tuesday.
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Aleksi Saarela’s stint with the Blackhawks organization didn’t last long.

The Hawks sent Saarela, a prospect forward, to the Panthers in exchange for depth defenseman Ian McCoshen in a minor-league swap during Tuesday’s 2-1 shootout loss.

Saarela was acquired from the Hurricanes in June — along with Calvin de Haan — and lasted just four months in Illinois.

In August, he bashed the Hurricanes to a Finnish newspaper for numerous reasons, including not calling him up to the NHL despite his strong 2018-19 season in the AHL.

But Saarela again didn’t make an NHL roster during Hawks training camp, was sent down to Rockford prior to the Europe trip and had recorded just one point in five games for Rockford entering Tuesday.

The Panthers will be the 22-year-old forward’s fourth NHL organization. He was originally a Rangers draft pick.

In exchange, Hawks general manager Stan Bowman added another item to his very flush cast of depth defensemen.

McCoshen, 24, has made 60 NHL appearances over the past three seasons for Florida, tallying seven points and a mediocre 46.4 percent Corsi rating. He had four assists in seven appearances for Springfield, the Panthers’ AHL affiliate, so far this year.

Jeremy Colliton said after Tuesday’s game he knew little about McCoshen other than that he’s a “big defenseman who’s played games in the NHL.”

Still, McCoshen could see some time with the Hawks later this season, especially now that Connor Murphy’s injury troubles have reemerged.

Ian McCoshen (left) played 60 games for the Panthers over the past three seasons before being traded to the Blackhawks.
AP Photos