The Chicago Blackhawks cleared NHL salary cap space by trading Marian Hossa to the Arizona Coyotes as part of a seven-player deal Thursday.
The 39-year-old forward, who has three years remaining on his contract, told Slovakian newspaper Novy Cas in May his hockey career was over because of a skin disorder.
Arizona also received forward Vinnie Hinostroza, defenseman Jordan Oesterle and a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Chicago acquired forwards Marcus Kruger and Jordan Maletta, defenseman Andrew Campbell, the rights to unsigned draft pick MacKenzie Entwistle and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft.
“I will not play hockey anymore,” Hossa told the newspaper. “I have a valid contract with Chicago for the next three years, but I have only one health and it does not allow me to return.”
Hossa signed a 12-year contract with the Blackhawks on July 1, 2009. Financial terms were not disclosed. Because his contract does not expire until after the 2020-21 season, he could not officially announce his retirement, which would have resulted in salary cap ramifications for Chicago.
Arizona is responsible for the salary cap charge associated with the final three seasons of Hossa’s contract.
“I wanted to find a way to turn disadvantages into advantages,” Coyotes general manager John Chayka said. “Cap space is a valuable asset, the ability to us it, leverage it has helped us. That was one element. The other is, you get the question a million times, “What have you learned from Vegas? What have you learned from Vegas?” It’s obvious there are a lot of players in this league, when given the opportunity, can really perform. We’ve tried to evaluate players. We’ve talked a lot about these two guys, breaking them down, researching them.
“Hinostroza is a right shot with speed and skill. He’s rated as one of the top undervalued players in the league. That was the basis of the discussion. Getting Oesterle, a pick swap, those are the things that add up and make sense for our group.”
Hossa, selected by the Ottawa Senators with the No. 12 pick of the 1997 NHL Draft, is 54th in NHL history with 1,134 points (525 goals, 609 assists) in 1,309 games with the Senators, Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings and Blackhawks. He won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015.
“Today is another example of the leadership Marian has displayed as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks organization,” the Blackhawks said in a statement. “When we approached him to discuss the idea of him waiving his no-move clause to allow us to make this move, it became clear this was a difficult thing for him to consider.
“After the success he has had in a Blackhawks jersey, the friends he has made throughout the organization and the fact his heart will always be in Chicago, the thought of disassociating in any way from the team he has come to love was not something he really wanted to give any thought to at all. But as the consummate team player, he did what he has always done. He did what the team needed him to do in order to succeed.
“Marian’s long-term contributions to the club will never be forgotten. His performance as a player was always appreciated, but it is his special qualities as a teammate, a leader and a person, that will more than anything leave its mark on all of us who have come to love and respect the very humble way he goes about everything he does. He has shown us all the impact we can have on others if we conduct ourselves with character, integrity and utmost respect for all we come in contact with. We have had the pleasure of watching him hoist three Stanley Cups with our team and he will forever be connected to the Blackhawks. On behalf of the entire organization, we would like to thank Marian — a world-class player — for all he has done for the Chicago Blackhawks.”
Hossa’s last NHL game was against the Nashville Predators in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round on April 20, 2017.
“Since then, I haven’t (put my gear on),” Hossa told the newspaper. “Not even a single one time. I’ve been on the ice couple of times just to skate with my daughters, but I haven’t had my hockey gear on.”
Hossa was on long-term injured reserve last season, and Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said April 10 that a return for Hossa appeared unlikely.
“[Hossa’s] physical condition hasn’t improved, so at this point there’s no indication he’s going to play next year either,” he said.
Hinostroza, 24, had 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists) in 50 games with the Blackhawks last season. It was his most extensive NHL action since being selected by Chicago in the sixth round (No. 169) in the 2012 NHL Draft. He has 39 points (13 goals, 26 assists) in 106 games in parts of three seasons with the Blackhawks.
Oesterle, 26, had 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 55 games. In parts of four NHL seasons with the Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers, he has 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in 80 games.
“We think extremely high of Vinnie Hinostroza,” Chayka said. “His future is excellent and he’ll be a big part of what we do here. Jordan Oesterle‘s a puck-moving defenseman. For us to play fast we have to break the puck out and he does that effectively and efficiently. It’s not a glamorous game but very effective.”
Kruger, 28, returns to Chicago after he had six points (one goal, five assists) in 48 games with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Blackhawks traded Kruger to the Vegas Golden Knights on July 2, 2017, and Vegas then traded him to Carolina on July 4. The Hurricanes traded him to the Coyotes on May 3.
“Now I have the chance [with Chicago again] and I really want to do something good with it,” Kruger said. “I couldn’t think of a better place than here to come back and show that I can play and be a good player. I’m really excited to show that and happy to be back.”
He has 111 points (34 goals, 77 assists) in 446 NHL games with the Blackhawks and Hurricanes and won the Cup with Chicago in 2013 and 2015.
Maletta, 23, had four assists in 29 games with Cleveland and Tucson in the American Hockey League last season. He has not played in the NHL.
Campbell, 30, had six points (two goals, four assists) in 60 AHL games with Tucson. He has 42 games of NHL experience, most recently with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015-16.
Entwistle, an 18-year-old forward, was selected by the Coyotes in the third round (No. 69) of the 2017 NHL Draft. He had 38 points (13 goals, 25 assists) in 49 games with Hamilton of the Ontario Hockey League.