How the Blackhawks roster still has ties to Jeremy Roenick, past players

Bryan Bickell path to the Chicago Blackhawks starts with Jeremy Roenick. (USATSI)
Bryan Bickell path to the Chicago Blackhawks starts with Jeremy Roenick. (USATSI)

On Friday we went over the series of events that resulted in the Tampa Bay Lightning drafting goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, their Game 4 starter and the future of the postion with the team.

It included several trades that started with a 2003 fifth-round draft pick that was traded for one of the best defenseman in franchise history and a key member of their 2004 Stanley Cup team, and concluded with a three-team trade in 2012 that brought Tampa Bay the draft pick that would be used to select Vasilevskiy in 2012.

It made me want look at both of the rosters in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final and see if there were any similar -- or longer -- trade chains. We have already looked at how both teams were built, but that only focused on the transactions that actually brought each player to the team. I wanted to see how many of them -- if any -- ran deeper or had a more interesting story than an early 2000s draft pick.

On the Tampa Bay side, the Vasilevskiy one was pretty much it. The entire roster has, for the most part, been built through draft picks the team already owned, undrafted free agents, NHL free agents, or trades that originated with draft picks the team alread owned. There was also Ryan Callahan, who was acquired for Martin St. Louis, a player that the Lightning signed as a free agent more than a decade ago.

But then there was the Chicago Blackhawks side.

Chicago is interesting in a couple of areas and includes some players on the roster who, if you follow the chain of events, originated in the 1980s and even '70s. There is still a connection to players like Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte and even a player who was selected in the fourth round of the 1974 draft on the current roster.

Let's look at some of the better ones.

Bryan Bickell

How acquired: 2004 second-round draft pick

Event that started the chain: The Blackhawks draft Jeremy Roenick with the No. 8 overall pick in 1988.

The Chain: After eight great seasons in Chicago, Roenick was traded to the Coyotes in 1996 for Alexei Zhamnov, Craig Mills and a first-round draft pick. In February 2004, Zhamnov is traded by Chicago to Philadelphia for a 2004 second-round draft pick, Jim Vandermeer and the rights to Colin Fraser. The Blackhawks use the pick to select Bickell, who has won the Stanley Cup twice with the team (playing a major role in the 2013 championship) and is a member of the 2015 team that is once again in the Stanley Cup Final. Roenick never won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks, but his presence in Chciago still helped contribute to a couple of titles in some small way.

Niklas Hjalmarsson

How acquired: 2005 fourth-round draft pick

Event that started the chain: The Chicago Blackhawks trade the No. 4 overall pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft (which was traded two more times before ending up with the New York Rangers, who selected Pavel Brendl) to the Vancouver for the No. 11 overall pick (Pavel Vorobiev) and defenseman Bryan McCabe.

The Chain: McCabe spent one season in Chicago before he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2001 fourth-round draft pick and Alexander Karpovtsev. After 3½ seasons, Karpovtsev was traded to the New York Islanders in March 2004 for a fourth-round draft pick in 2005. The Blackhawks used that pick to select Niklas Hjalmarsson, another key player for their mini-dynasty since 2010.

Corey Crawford

How acquired: 2003 second-round draft pick

Event that started the chain: The Blackhawks draft Terry Ruskowski in the fourth round of the 1974 NHL Draft.

The chain: I admit I might be cheating on this one because there was no direct team-to-team transaction that made this happen, but without Tony Amonte's time in Chicago the pick that Chicago used to select Crawford never exists.

Here is how it happened.

After Ruskowski played parts of four seasons with the Blackhawks, he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Larry Goodenough and the Kings' third-round draft pick in 1984. The Blackhawks used that draft pick to select defenseman Trent Yawney. After four seasons, Yawney was then traded to the Calgary Flames in 1991 for Stephane Matteau. Matteau was then traded three years later, along with Brian Noonan, to the New York Rangers in March 1994 (where he would go onto to become the most hated hockey player in the state of New Jersey) for Tony Amonte.

After parts of eight seasons and 220 goals with the Blackhawks, Amonte signed as a free agent with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2002. Because the Blackhawks failed to re-sign him, they received a compensatory pick from the NHL in 2003 (second round, No. 52 overall) that they used to select ... Corey Crawford.

There are other, smaller chains that exist on the roster as well.

Andrew Desjardins, for example, is a part of the team because the Blackhawks signed Martin Lapointe as a free agent in 2005. Lapointe was later traded to Ottawa for a sixth-round draft pick that the Blackhawks used to select Ben Smith. Smith was traded to San Jose this season for Desjardins.

And then there is the story of Brandon Saad.

Saad was not only the No. 43 overall pick in the 2011 draft, he was the fourth player the Blackhawks selected that year. The only reason they ended up with him at all is because they had so many prime draft picks at the top of the class. But the story of how they ended up with the Saad pick is pretty wild, and it actually originates in Toronto and includes another key player in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman.

In July 2009, the Maple Leafs traded Stralman, Colin Stuart and a 2012 seventh-round draft pick to the Calgary Flames for Wayne Primeau and a second-round draft pick in 2011. The Maple Leafs then used that pick, as well as a third-round pick in 2011, to complete a trade with the Blackhawks to get a 2010 second-round draft pick.

A pick that originally belonged to Toronto.

The Maple Leafs traded their 2010 second-rounder to Montreal, along with Greg Pateryn, to get Mikhail Grabovski on July 3, 2008. That September, Montreal traded Toronto's pick to the Blackhawks to get veteran forward Robert Lang, who the team signed as a free agent one year earlier, which is how Chicago ended up in possession of the pick.

Once Toronto got its hands back on its original pick (which it apparently wanted because it was positioning itself for a possible offer sheet to Phil Kessel) by way of the trade that sent the Saad pick to Chicago, it was traded as part of the package (along with first-round picks that would later be used to select Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton) to the Boston Bruins to get Kessel.

CBS Sports Writer

Adam Gretz has been writing about the NHL and taking an analytical approach to the game since the start of the 2008 season. A member of the PHWA since 2015, he has spent more than three years covering... Full Bio

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