Blackhawks Free Agency: Some Forward Options for Chicago

In the wake of the Blackhawks becoming incredibly active at the NHL Draft, the options for Stan Bowman’s summer shopping have opened up.

Let’s look at some players that might be in play for the Blackhawks in the coming weeks.

Ville Leino, LW
6’1, 190 – ex Philadelphia Flyers
19 goals, 34 assists, 53 points, +14

Leino was the odd man out in Detroit last year, and became a surprising component in the Flyers’ run to the Cup Finals. He stepped up his game even further last year, and could be a quality veteran at the right price for the Blackhawks. He’ll turn 28 the day before the 2011-12 season starts (Oct. 6), and his best hockey is in front of him. Most importantly, he’s a left winger who could fit opposite either Patrick Kane or Marian Hossa in Chicago’s top six next year.

Tomas Fleischmann, LW/C
6’1, 195, ex Colorado Avalanche
12 goals, 19 assists, 31 points, +2 (45 games)

What might make Fleischmann a wild card is his experience with superior talent playing in Washington, and his ability to step to the dot as well as playing on the left side. He had 21 points in 22 games after being acquired by Colorado mid-season, and could be an appropriate financial move for the Blackhawks. After missing some time with an injury last year, he might be open to a one or two-year deal as well. He’ll be 27 this season, and might be able to fill the second center position. Because of his age, however, he might want a longer term deal than the Hawks are willing to hand out this summer.

Erik Cole, RW
6’2, 205, ex Carolina Hurricanes
26 goals, 26 assists, 52 points, -1

Cole, 32, has been on our radar for six weeks now, and would be the perfect fit in Chicago. With Troy Brouwer now in Washington, Cole’s combination of scoring ability and physical play (225 hits last year) would make him a solid top-six power forward in Chicago. and, at his age, he might be looking for one or two more shots at the Cup.

Vernon Fiddler, C
5’11, 201, ex Phoenix Coyotes
6 goals, 16 assists, 22 points, +3

Fiddler, 31, is an under-the-radar name but might make a lot of sense in Chicago. He recorded 85 hits and blocked 60 shots while winning 53.9 percent of his faceoffs last year in the desert. He also averaged 2:53 on ice short-handed last year as the Coyotes’ primary penalty-killing center.

Max Talbot, LW/C
5’11, 190, ex Pittsburgh Penguins
8 goals, 13 assists, 21 points, -3

Cut from the same mold as Adam Burish, Talbot had 154 hits while only averaging 15:04 on the ice per night with the Penguins. A well-rounded player with a charity in Pittsburgh and Montreal, he’d prefer to stay put but might walk if the Pens decide to go young. Talbot is only 27 and has a ring, and might be a perfect fourth line rental in Chicago.

If I were a gambling man…

Fiddler seems like a no-brainer for Chicago. He’s coming off a two-year deal with a $1.1M cap number, and could be looking for something similar now as a penalty killing specialist. With the Hawks having a handful of centers coming up in the organization, a quality veteran like Fiddler would be ideal.

As a wing, Leino might be a perfect candidate for a three-year deal and might fall within the Blackhawks price range. Cole is more of the traditional power forward that the Blackhawks would look for, and Talbot would be a great bottom-six grinder with an attitude. It’s hard to tell where Bowman will go with his new financial flexibility.

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5 Responses to Blackhawks Free Agency: Some Forward Options for Chicago

  1. clint hawks says:

    all are good choices. let’s hope it works out!

  2. mike says:

    Reading tonight that Ryan Malone might be in play. He comes with a slightly larger price tag, but let’s be serious; he’d look great wearing the Indian Head! Some people are floating around the idea of Andrew Ladd out there. Sounds too good to be true if you ask me. Thoughts?

  3. Brad Stevenson says:

    Agreed, all great choices, especially Leino and Cole…could move Sharp to 2nd line centre and have 3 outstanding lines, maybe the best in the league…

    Thanks.

  4. Bubbz81 says:

    Now that Bowman freed-up more cashola…that Blackhawks ought to acquire some really good talent like, Ville Leino, Eric Cole & Erhoff would all put the Blackhawks back into contention for the Stanley Cup. This is very reasonable due to the $$$ the Organization has available. As A Season Ticket Holder, I want to see A something like this materialize very soon.

    LET’S GO FOR IT ALL!!!

  5. Lenert says:

    ‘Under the Radar player of the RFA market’ = Brian Boyle (NYR). Take a hard look at this guy. 6’7″ 248lbs. 21 goals as an often fourth line center. 26 years old. BC native who dominated Hockey East in the NCAA. Current cap hit 525K. Thats right 525k. I’ve studied his habits through the Wash/NYR playoff series…great passes, has speed, blocks shots, hammers the corners, and stands in front of the Net! Take a look at 80+ blocked shots and 240 hits in the regular season. A real steal that would open allot of room for Hossa. We should make an offer or trade on this guy…Today!

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