Blackhawks acquire Jeff Taffe from Florida

Published: 7/22/2010 2:20 PM | Updated: 7/22/2010 6:37 PM

Every little bit helps.

With the Blackhawks still looking to free up every extra dollar in order to re-sign restricted free-agent goalie Antti Niemi, Thursaday's trade of center Marty Reasoner to the Florida Panthers provided a bit of financial relief.

Hawks general manager Stan Bowman sent the 33-year-old Reasoner to the Panthers in exchange for center Jeff Taffe, who spent most of last season in the American Hockey League.

Reasonser never will play a game for the Hawks after being part of the package acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers on June 24 for Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu.

Reasoner's $1.15 million cap hit comes off the books in exchange for the 29-year-old Taffe's $550,000 cap hit should he make the club at training camp.

Taffe, the St. Louis Blues' first-round draft pick in 2000, appeared in 21 games for the Panthers last season.

Negotiations between the Hawks and Niemi remain at a standstill with the goalie's arbitration hearing scheduled for July 29.

Bowman said this week he still hoped to get a contract done with Niemi before the hearing.

Meanwhile, in a potentially interesting development, there are rumors of the Hawks possibly preparing to offer 19-year-old University of Minnesota defenseman Nick Leddy a contract.

Leddy was one of the most impressive players at the recent prospects camp, singled out Bowman for his play over the four days.

"Nick Leddy was excellent," Bowman said at the conclusion of prospects camp. "It's the first time we've seen him here in Chicago because we traded for him during the season, but he's really smooth out there. He's going to be a Blackhawk for many years."

Leddy was acquired from the Minnesota Wild last February with Kim Johnsson in exchange for Cam Barker.

If the Hawks do have interest in signing Leddy, it could add some substance to the rumblings of Bowman shopping defenseman Brian Campbell.

The Hawks might see the smooth-skating Leddy as a replacement for Campbell.

University of Minnesota coach Don Lucia told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Wednesday that as far as he knew the Hawks had not offered Leddy a contract.

Lucia told the Star-Tribune the Hawks were impressed with Leddy's conditioning and that his body fat was measured at six percent.

Campbell has a limited no-trade clause in his contract that still has six years to run with a substantial cap hit of $7.1 million.

The clause allows Campbell to pick eight teams he would agree to be traded to. Campbell said at Monday's premier for the Hawks' Stanley Cup championship video that that list of eight teams is on file with Bowman.