With Morin gone, Byfuglien trade officially a bust for the Blackhawks


The Chicago Blackhawks traded winger Jeremy Morin to the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenseman Tim Erixon on Sunday. But this was more than a simple player swap; it was the symbolic end to the Dustin Byfuglien trade from four years ago. At this point, it is safe to say that trading Byfuglien was a bust for the Blackhawks.

In that 2010 trade, the Blackhawks sent Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu to the Atlanta Thrashers for Morin, Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb, a Round 1 draft pick and a Round 2 draft pick

That trade fared well for the Thrashers, who are now the Winnipeg Jets. While Sopel, Eager and Aliu are no longer playing in the NHL, Byfuglien has blossomed into an NHL star. Everyone the ‘Hawks received in return have not panned out.

In all fairness — to both Morin and Blackhawks’ GM Stan Bowman — the trade was imbalanced from the get-go by Chicago’s requirement to create cap space. It was a salary dump to make room for salary increases for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The ‘Hawks gave up talent they could not afford in exchange for draft picks and prospects. That was the gamble.

Here is a breakdown of every player and pick the Blackhawks received, and how each one worked out.

Marty Reasoner – The Blackhawks held onto Reasoner just long enough to Photoshop him into a red jersey, then traded him to the Florida Panthers for Jeff Taffe.

Jeff Taffe — Played one game for the Blackhawks, going scoreless, and then signed with the Minnesota Wild.

Joey Crabb – Crabb’s contract expired in July 2010, then he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In other words, the Blackhawks acquired him just so they could let him sign with another team a few weeks later.

2010 First Round Pick – Used this to select center Kevin Hayes.

Kevin Hayes – Played four seasons for Boston College. However, the ‘Hawks did not sign him, so he signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers.

2010 Second Round Pick – Used to select defenseman Justin Holl.

Justin Holl – It isn’t looking to promising for the young prospect. After four seasons of college hockey, Holl is in the ECHL. While he may crack the Blackhawks’ defensive corps one day, it seems unlikely with other defense prospects like Adam Clendening and Klas Dahlbeck waiting in the wings.

Jeremy Morin – Morin’s 15 points in 51 games with the Blackhawks over parts of five seasons were not enough to inspire confidence in coach Joel Quenneville. Despite putting up decent numbers in the AHL, Morin couldn’t break in as a top six forward with the Blackhawks. Nor could he fulfill a role as a checking or energy line player. Traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenseman Tim Erixon.

Tim Erixon – A former first round draft pick of the Calgary Flames, Erixon has played for the New York Rangers and Blue Jackets, but hasn’t really caught on in the NHL in five years.  He has played two games so far for Chicago.

Four years later, all the Blackhawks have to show for Byfuglien is a depth defenseman (Erixon) who is more or less filling a roster spot until Trevor Van Riemsdyk returns from injury, and a prospect (Holl) who is a long shot to make the team.

That said, it is time to move on. None of the players the Blackhawks got immediately for Byfuglien et all worked out. The true goal was to create cap space. Had Morin worked out, that would have just been a bonus. ■


Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

9 thoughts on “With Morin gone, Byfuglien trade officially a bust for the Blackhawks”

  1. I think you nailed it, it was to create cap space, and in all honesty the scouting was the bigger issue for example
    Kevin Hayes was drafted over Brock nelson, Quinton Howden, Kuznetsov, Toffoli,

    and ofcourse I am not talking about the late picks, all those guys were available and scouted when the drafted Hayes

    some great late picks would be players like gallagher and maybe Petr Mrazek but those are 5th round picks.

    In the end it was to dump cap space chicaho knew he was good they just couldnt keep everyone and Toews and Kane are what matters most.

  2. Let’s see – they dump Buff to get under the cap, and then win the cup 3 years later. I’m not seeing how it was a bust.

    The players? Sure – none of them panned out. Morin, who has some talent, just cannot earn a spot on the 3rd or 4th line with the amount of depth the Hawks have. Hayes is nuts thinking he is worth more than what the Hawks offered for a contract. He’s playing in the KHL in 4 years.

    And so far, the Jets really haven’t done anything worth while. Buff is still about equal to his skill level when he was here, though having him on the back line is stupid. He a better grinding forward. Currently, Winnipeg is hanging on to a “just making the playoffs” position, and will more then likely have another first round bounce from the post season.

  3. For the sake of completeness, the Blackhawks also hold the 54th pick in the 2015 draft in compensation for being unable to sign Hayes.

  4. “Four years later, all the Blackhawks have to show for Byfuglien is a depth defenseman (Erixon)” … and you know, another Stanley Cup. But let’s not include that very specific detail.

    1. True, but none of the assets that the Blackhawks got for Byfuglien and company turned into a building block for the 2013 Cup win.

      1. I agree, but cap space is as much a commodity these days as any player and I would argue that without creating that space, they possibly either could not afford to bring in the depth to win that cup or re-sign all of their stars (Kane, Toews, Crawford, Sharp, etc.).
        If we simply look at the players involved it was a lousy trade, but for the organization and their goals, it gave them the cap room to put together both a perenial contender in this decade and a cup winning team which can’t be overlooked in today’s NHL.

  5. Kevin Hayes is playing excellently as the third line Center for the Rangers. He has a huge upside and is getting better every day.

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