MONTREAL — With none of the Blackhawks’ current group of forwards contributing much, why not try a new one?
That seems to be Hawks interim general manager Kyle Davidson’s thinking behind his second small trade within a week that sent defenseman Chad Krys to the Maple Leafs for forward Kurtis Gabriel on Thursday.
Gabriel, 28, doesn’t have much of a track record of NHL success, having tallied just five points in 49 games since 2015 with the Wild, Devils and Sharks.
His best season at the NHL level came in 2018-19, when he had four points in 22 games with the Devils. He has never been a prolific scorer in the AHL, either; he had just two points in 13 appearances for the Toronto Marlies so far this season.
But he does have good size (6-4, 200 pounds) and at least provides another warm, semi-experienced body to help fill injured Jujhar Khaira’s shoes and potentially spark something among the Hawks’ lethargic group of bottom-six guys.
Gabriel is expected to join the Hawks in Toronto on Saturday. His contract carries a cheap $750,000 salary-cap hit and expires after this season.
Krys, 23, was the Hawks’ second-round pick in 2016, but he had been jumped by other prospects on the depth chart and seemed destined to play out his Hawks tenure in the AHL. He’d made it into the Rockford IceHogs’ lineup only 14 times over the last two seasons combined, tallying three assists.