Hey, were you just getting ready for bed? Me too. But guess what?…EYEBALLS!


— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) July 28, 2021

By the way, hate this new thing the Blackhawks social media team does.

On the eve of NHL free agency opening tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. CT, the Chicago Blackhawks followed up their Marc-Andre Fleury trade earlier today with a trade involving the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions late Tuesday night.

NEWS: Tyler Johnson is headed to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Tampa Bay traded Johnson and their 2023 second round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Brent Seabrook, sources told ESPN.

— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) July 28, 2021

Chicago is sending Brent Seabrook’s contract to the Tampa Bay Lightning, in exchange for Tyler Johnson and a future second round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

The Blackhawks acquired Marc-Andre Fleury, Tyler Johnson and a second-round pick today for… nothing. Absolutely nothing. Literally nothing.

— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 28, 2021

Johnson turns 31-years-old on Thursday and is in the middle of a seven-year, $35M contract with the Lightning signed back in July of 2017. He has three seasons left on his current deal at a $5M AAV cap hit and a modified no-trade clause on all three of the years remaining. Seabrook, who retired from his playing career earlier this year, has three years left on his contract at a $6.875M AAV cap hit, which will head directly to Tampa Bay’s LTIR.

The Lightning are no strangers to using LTIR, as was on full display this season with Nikita Kucherov, but adding Seabrook’s deal allows the team to exceed the cap limit by his $6.875M cap hit in the offseason. It’s like the salary cap isn’t real and bad contracts no longer exist in the NHL.

Bowman: “I would first like to thank Brent for his cooperation in this process. Throughout his career, Brent put his team first and we appreciate all his many accomplishments with and contributions to the Chicago Blackhawks.”

— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 28, 2021

As for what the Blackhawks are getting in return, Johnson is coming off of a2020-21 season with eight goals and 22 points in 55 regular season games. He added four goals and seven points in 23 games on the way to Tampa Bay’s second of back-to-back Stanley Cups. Johnson is LONG removed from his breakout 2014-15 season, which saw him tally 29 goals and 72 points in the year where the Lightning fell to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, but is still a useful middle-six forward option that the Blackhawks will likely hang some real responsibilities on. They also add a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, likely a late-second round pick.

A side note, this move being in the works makes not qualifying Pius Suter more understandable, even if Johnson likely costs twice as much as Suter would have. Along with the maybe/maybe not addition of Marc-Andre Fleury, the addition of Johnson is again going to force the Blackhawks to shed money. Even more money is Fleury does end up playing in Chicago this season. Players like Suter, Nikita Zadorov, Calvin de Haan, and Dylan Strome may be on the chopping block sooner, rather than later.

NHL Free Agency opens in just about 12 hours. Expect anything.


Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.

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