CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane wasn't surprised that the Chicago Blackhawks made a trade before the NHL Trade Deadline. But seeing the Blackhawks as sellers, not buyers is when reality set in Monday.
"Usually at this time of year, you're looking toward some of the bigger names on the trade list and seeing if we're getting any of them," Kane said. "Obviously, that's not the case this year, so a little bit different feeling."
The Blackhawks (27-28-8, 62 points) are 11 points behind the Calgary Flames for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. They're likely to miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season. So, instead of bolstering their current lineup they're building for their future.
Chicago acquired a first- and fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and forward prospect Victor Ejdsell from the Nashville Predators for forward Ryan Hartman and its fifth-round pick in 2018. The Blackhawks also acquired a fifth-round pick in 2018 from the Boston Bruins for forward Tommy Wingels.
Video: Play of the Week: Hartman's highlight-reel goal
"It's disappointing for sure but … you can't feel sorry for yourself. You've got to sit here and try to plan for the future. And I think what we've been able to do here today is position ourselves to get some really high-value assets," general manager Stan Bowman said. "In the case of Victor, he's not that far away from contributing. So, we don't want to be in this position, obviously, but you are where you are and you've got to try to make the best of it. So, that's how we approached it."
Bowman said he got calls on Hartman over the past 7-10 days but the return offers weren't very appealing. Until Nashville made an offer that Bowman said was "a really tough deal to pass up." Although what they netted in the Hartman trade should help in the future, the Blackhawks spent the second half of this season focusing more on their young players. Forward Nick Schmaltz, 22, is taking on a bigger role this season, usually skating on Kane's line. His 42 points (17 goals, 25 assists) are second on Chicago behind Kane (58). Alex DeBrincat, 20, has been impressive as a rookie, his 22 goals one behind Kane for the Blackhawks lead.
Video: WSH@CHI: Hartman, DeBrincat connect for sweet goal
Forwards Anthony Duclair (two goals, five assists) and Vinnie Hinostroza (six goals, 14 assists) also are also expected to be part of the future.
"We need to get some other things better, in order for our team to have a rebound year next year, but you try to look on the bright side," Bowman said. "There's been some good things, some players took some steps and I think we've got a lot of players, a lot more younger players that are trending up. Clearly this is not where we want to be. But you've got to try to make the best of it."