But, as we reported earlier this month, the blueliner has been skating. He started on his own on February 6 and began to work out with the Flyers on February 17. Timonen hasn’t played in a National Hockey League game since April of 2014.
For the Blackhawks, this is a significant deal.
“We’ve been working on this one for a while,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. “He was the defenceman we really wanted. He’s been a high-level defenceman for a long time.”
The Flyers have received a second round draft pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and a conditional fourth round pick for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. If Chicago winds up winning at least two playoff rounds and Timonen plays in at least half the games, Philadelphia will see that fourth rounder become a third round pick for 2016.
Timonen signed a one year deal with the Flyers in the summer and had every reason to believe he was hooking up with a contending franchise, but that’s far from a sure thing. Right now the team is six points back of the Bruins for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
For Timonen, this is it. He’s putting all his eggs in the Chicago basket and hoping that the Blackhawks will be able to achieve some playoff glory. He wants a Cup to close things out and this will be his last shot at it, so one has to hope the situation in Chicago improves. The injury to Kane and some other rumbling situations may make this club more volatile than he would like.
On the other hand, Timonen’s veteran presence should do the locker room a world of good. Plus with defenceman Johnny Oduya being placed on the injured reserve list, there’s some room along the blueline.
“He is going to give up a lot of options, versatility and leadership,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “And we’ll get him going. I think we’re happy with the move; you can never have enough defence in this league. He’s been around the conference, knows the conference, so it’s a nice fit for us.”
While this is indeed a nice fit for the Blackhawks, they still have the Kane matter to contend with and will likely still be relatively active with the trade deadline approaching. But for Timonen, it’s nice to be wanted. And Chicago should be injecting him to their lineup right away.