I’ve given a wholehearted endorsement of the Penguins-Blackhawks trade. It feels like most fans and media types in Pittsburgh have, as well.
Are we perhaps overrating Dominik Kahun as the return for Olli Maatta, though? Well, if you are expecting Mark Recchi circa 1991, maybe.
But if you are buying most of the scouting reports on him — a young, fast, responsible playmaker who is good both ways, excellent 5-on-5, and has positive offensive ability with an upside — then, no. You aren’t.
Because based on what we hear from Chicago, that praise for Kahun isn’t spin or hyperbole. That’s exactly what the Penguins are getting.
I spoke with David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune and 670 The Score in Chicago for our daily podcast. And he offered the same positive attributes to describe Kahun after his rookie season as we have heard since the trade was executed Saturday.
As Haugh describes it, the Blackhawks allowed themselves to deal the 23-year-old because they feel they have talented forward depth, but they are in significant need of help on the blue line. And even though Chicago may be “buying low” on Maatta, he could be an upgrade compared to what they suited up on defense last year.
That said, when I heard Stan Bowman speak over the weekend, I almost got the sense he was trying to convince himself that he made a good trade. Almost as if he was talking himself into the deal after the fact.
Haugh had Bowman on his show Monday, and I asked him if he got that same vibe.
“I think that maybe he sounded that way to me, too,” Haugh said. “I think he wants to feel like in a perfect world he got the better of the trade.”
But Haugh said that when Bowman “went to bed” after the trade, if he wasn’t feeling regret, then it was simply cautious optimism in the hope that he plugged a hole for his own team.
That’s even if he gave up what may turn out to be superior return for the other club — in this case, the Penguins.
“Kahun was not a guy he was looking to trade,” Haugh said. “But the opportunity came to address a need that was a bigger priority for the Hawks in the offseason and he took advantage.”