During Blackhawks Senior Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman's press conference to address a morning of surprising trades, he began by saying that it was a day of "high emotions." It was a succinct way to characterize the trade that sent long-serving defenseman and three-time Stanley Cup winner Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona in exchange for a pair of younger players, including 24-year-old Connor Murphy, a former first-round pick.
Bowman wasn't done, however, and less than an hour later he sent dynamic winger Artemi Panarin to Columbus to secure the return of Brandon Saad, a two-time champion with the Blackhawks, in a trade that also swapped forward Tyler Motte for goalie prospect Anton Forsberg.
Below is a partial transcription of Bowman's comments regarding the trades.
"Moving forward, we're very excited for these trades that we made -- in particular, bringing back a player that everybody's familiar with in Brandon Saad. It's pretty well-documented how well he fit into our group.
Connor Murphy is an individual that I've had the chance to see up close for the last couple of years, working with USA Hockey at the World Championship. He was the captain of that team this year. Connor is a very impressive young man; he's got a lot of character, leadership, very articulate, very engaging person. His hockey game is something we don't have a lot of. We really like his size, his physicality, his overall game, and we're looking forward to seeing him in a Blackhawk jersey.
In addition, we have a younger player from Arizona, Laurent Dauphin, a centerman who is just breaking through to the NHL. I think he's looking for that full-time role next year and we're hoping he's ready for that as well. He does a little bit of everything; he's a responsible player but has some skill, size and speed. Finally, we got a goaltender in Anton Forsberg, who has great potential. I think his time is now. He's had a couple years to work his way up, he's had tremendous success at the American Hockey League level, and now he has the chance at the NHL level.
We feel that we've pushed our franchise forward with these moves, and there's a lot of reason for excitement and optimism."