Calvin de Haan surprised he wasn’t traded but happy to stay, for now, with Blackhawks
“I did think I was going to get traded, but I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, and it’s not my decision,” de Haan said Tuesday.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Calvin de Haan spent his Monday playing Xbox, waiting for an indication that he’d been traded.
His agent, Andy Scott, did call a couple of times, checking in. But that other call never came.
“I did think I was going to get traded, but I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, and it’s not my decision,” de Haan, upbeat as always, said Tuesday after the Blackhawks — down three players — held practice on the first day of their West Coast trip.
“All those days, whether you’re playing or sitting at home waiting to go to the plane or whatever, it’s always an awkward time for everyone. You don’t know who’s going to get moved. Did everyone think Brandon Hagel was going to get traded? Probably not. It was a weird few days for everybody. But at the end of the day, I’m happy to be a Chicago Blackhawk. We really enjoy being here, my wife and I.”
De Haan headlines the group of players who thought they might be on other teams by now but find themselves still on the Hawks for the stretch run. Dylan Strome, Dominik Kubalik, Henrik Borgstrom and Erik Gustafsson remain, too.
“We lost some good players, but we could’ve lost more,” interim coach Derek King said. “I addressed them today, just [saying] like, ‘Hey, this is our team. We have a job to do, and that’s to compete every game. And we have something to play for: our pride.”
The Hawks have 19 games left over the next 38 days, starting Wednesday against the Ducks, continuing Thursday against the Kings and lasting through the season finale April 29 in Buffalo.
The team results will hardly matter, but the individual results will, whether it’s Kevin Lankinen trying to reaffirm his starting-goalie chops — King said he’ll start most of the 19 games — or Taylor Raddysh trying to show his potential in a bigger role.
And de Haan — who, as a 30-year-old pending unrestricted free agent, was convinced he’d be “moved for assets” to jump-start the Hawks’ rebuild — falls in that group of players with something to prove.
The fact he wasn’t traded signaled to him that “maybe I’m more valuable than people think in this organization,” he said bluntly. General manager Kyle Davidson said the same thing Monday, that the Hawks value the players they kept “more than other teams around the league, clearly.”
But either way, de Haan has his future to figure out. His first time in this position, he tested the open market and signed a four-year, $18.2 million contract with the Hurricanes. Four years later, as that contract expires, so does the relative certainty it afforded.
“The interesting thing about being a UFA is it’s not always your choice,” he said. “Teams need to call you and want your services. It’s not a free-for-all for us. So it’s kind of like a mini-tryout for me these last  games to try to make an impression around the league. I’ve been around long enough that teams know what I bring, but I can always try to work on something new and try to improve.”
A new contract with the Hawks seems unlikely, considering the organization’s rebuilding direction and the logjam of young defensemen waiting in the wings, but de Haan would happily consider it himself.
“There has been a dark cloud over this organization this year, but behind the scenes, the players get treated really well here, and they’re great with the families,” he said.
“That’s a big part that I think about when a summer like this is approaching. It’s a ‘Grade A’ organization. It’s really hard to complain here. We like being Blackhawks.”