ANAHEIM — When the NHL trade deadline rolls around and teams that are out of the playoff picture are looking to sell, the first names to go are typically the pending unrestricted free agents.
The Blackhawks had a few players that fell into that category, and two of them (Ryan Carpenter and Marc-Andre Fleury) were moved for future assets, as was expected. The one interesting name that didn't change sweaters was Calvin de Haan, who's in the final year of a contract that carries a $4.55 million cap hit.
Heck, even he's surprised he wasn't dealt.
"Maybe I'm more valuable than people think in this organization, I don't know," de Haan said after Tuesday's practice at Honda Center. "My wife and I really like it here. It was obviously a weird day with everything going on.
"I did think I was going to get traded, but I don't know what goes on behind closed doors and it's not my decision. So that's probably a question for Kyle [Davidson]. But I'm still happy to be here and I'm going to work hard until the end of the season and go from there."
It didn't seem like de Haan was too stressed out during deadline day. He tried to pass the time by playing some Xbox before leaving for the airport, even though he wasn't entirely sure he'd be part of Chicago's upcoming road trip.
"I was just waiting for a call, really," de Haan said. "There was nothing really I could do. Just a few phone calls here and there with the agent. It was a weird day. All those days, whether you're playing or sitting at home waiting to go the plane or whatever, it's always an awkward time for everyone. You don't know who's going to get moved.
"Did everyone think Brandon Hagel was going to get traded? Probably not. It was a weird few days for everybody. But at the end of the day, I'm happy to be a Chicago Blackhawk. We really enjoy being here."
Even though de Haan takes pride in being a member of the Blackhawks organization, there's a part of him that's a little bummed he wasn't traded to a contender to go chase a Stanley Cup. He turns 31 in May, and his body has taken a beating over the years — he ranks second among all NHL skaters this season with 143 blocked shots — so you never know how many more cracks at the can you're going to get.
"I'm not young in hockey years anymore, unfortunately," de Haan said. "It would've been nice to get some playoff hockey in again. But we can always treat these 20 games left as playoff hockey for the Blackhawks. There's no reason why we can't be competitive and maybe embrace that underdog role a little bit more than we have in the past. It's a good opportunity for everybody, really.
"You've got to still be a pro and guys are trying to make impressions. It doesn't matter if you're UFA or restricted or you have a 10 or eight-year deal, it doesn't make a difference. You've still got to obviously go to work every day. It is what it is."
While de Haan didn't shut the door on the possibility of re-signing with the Blackhawks, it would probably make more sense for him to seek a new opportunity elsewhere next season, given Chicago's plan to rebuild.
"The interesting thing about being a UFA is it's not always your choice," de Haan said. "Teams need to call you and want your services. It's not a free-for-all for us, so it's kind of like a mini-tryout for me these last 20 games to try to make an impression around the league. I've been around long enough that teams know what I bring, but I can always try to work on something new and try to improve on things."