BREAKING: Blackhawks trade Aleksi Saarela for defenseman Ian McCoshen


McCoshen, 24, was a second-round pick in 2013 and has played in 60 NHL games across three seasons.

The Chicago Blackhawks made a rare mid-game trade during Tuesday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. Stan Bowman and company sent forward Aleksi Saarela to the Florida Panthers in exchange for defenseman Ian McCoshen. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound blueliner has spent the majority of his professional career playing for the Springfield Thunderbirds of the AHL.

The Blackhawks acquired Saarela along with defenseman Calvin de Haan from the Carolina Hurricanes this summer. Saarela expressed his opinion on remaining in the AHL despite much success to the Hurricanes’ front office, which led to the trade. He likely did the same thing in Chicago after being assigned to the Rockford IceHogs to start the season.

Saarela scored 30 goals for the Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers last season after recording 25 the year prior. The 22-year-old Finnish forward got off to a rough start in Rockford though with just one assist in five games.

As for McCoshen, the left-handed defenseman has yet to grow into the defenseman the Panthers thought he could become. McCoshen has played in 115 games for the Springfield Thunderbirds and has tallied four goals and 30 assists. In his 60 career NHL games, McCoshen has just four goals and three assists.

McCoshen has one year remaining on his current contract with a $700,000 cap hit. The Anaheim, California native will likely head to Rockford where he could make his team debut Friday vs. the Cleveland Monsters.

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