saad cup

Blackhawks The Model: Is Roster Turnover Good?

On Friday, Adam Gretz of CBS wrote an interesting look at the players lost by Stanley Cup champions during the salary cap era. The Blackhawks are notable in two areas: the most championships (three) and the most significant turnover after winning the Cup.

Earlier, we looked at how the Blackhawks roster stacks up compared to last year’s opener. Changes are always hard for fans; seeing familiar faces in a different sweater is always tough.

But are the Blackhawks showing – indeed, proving – that roster turnover is actually a good thing?

In 2010, the roster turnover was massive in Stan Bowman’s first summer as general manager. As Gretz points out, Chicago had to replace two goaltenders and a group of skaters who combined to score 72 goals in 494 man-games.

As we remember, the prospect depth in 2010 was incredibly limited in the organization. So while Bowman needed to make tough decisions to accommodate locking-up the heart of his team (Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane) to ensure the future, there weren’t internal options that could supplement the NHL roster. Jack Skille and Kyle Beach were among the “best” forward prospects the Hawks had to choose from when trying to replace the likes of Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Kris Versteeg.

ladd goal

To balance the losses and lack of depth, Bowman brought in cheap veterans like Fernando Pisani, Ryan Johnson and Jassen Cullimore to fill out the roster. Meanwhile, he was patient while waiting for a few younger players like Niklas Hjalmarsson, Bryan Bickell, Nick Leddy and Marcus Kruger to develop into NHL regulars.

The two seasons that followed saw the Hawks bounced out in the first round of the playoffs, but Bowman was tasked with building an organization that could not only return to the mountain top, but could also sustain excellence.

There were more roster casualties between the first two Cups under Bowman. Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky and Troy Brouwer were moved as Bowman continued to look for creative ways to create cap space and rebuild on the fly. The Campbell trade brought more cap space, while the Brouwer trade brought back a first round pick (that was used on Phillip Danault).

The 2013 season saw the Hawks dominate the lockout-shortened regular season with the same core of the roster, but a totally re-tooled supporting cast. Keith and Seabrook were still the beasts on the blue line, but Hjalmarsson had become a phenomenal player and key member of a defensive group that included Leddy and Johnny Oduya, a veteran Bowman acquired for a couple draft picks.

And while Toews, Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa were still captivating the bulk of their opponents’ attention, new faces like Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw (both Bowman draft picks) were now playing a key role. Bickell had a great postseason that year, and other newcomers like Viktor Stalberg and Michael Frolik provided depth.

After the 2013 Cup win, the Blackhawks didn’t have to make as many dramatic changes but still saw more defections than the Kings’ roster from the season before; Los Angeles didn’t have a single player leave after their 2012 championship. Stalberg as a free agent, and Bowman traded Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik to re-stock his draft picks. (Note: Gretz’s article states Frolik left as a free agent.)

bolland red

Frolik was traded to Winnipeg for two picks, which were used on John Hayden and Luke Johnson in 2013. Hayden has been very impressive in two prospect camps, while Johnson has played two solid seasons at North Dakota.

Bolland was traded to Toronto for three draft picks. Two of them were used on Carl Dahlstrom and Fredrik Olofsson, and the third was subsequently traded in a swap of picks with San Jose that led to the Hawks drafting Robin Norell and Luc Snuggerud. All four of those prospects appears to have a good future, with Olofsson heading to college after another strong prospect camp.

With minimal turnover and more assets to promote internally, the Hawks came within a deflected Western Conference Final-winning goal from playing in a second consecutive Cup Final. That 2013-14 roster saw more movement, as players like Ben Smith and Brandon Bollig joined the NHL roster as regulars and some new faces like Brandon Pirri, Jimmy Hayes and Teuvo Teravainen made appearances.

More movement in the summer of 2014 opened the door for more new faces to make an impact. Leddy was traded to the Islanders for a package that included defenseman Ville Pokka, and Michal Handzus’ time in Chicago came to an end. Bowman brought in veteran center Brad Richards and David Rundblad, who was acquired late in the 2013-14 season, moved into a more prominent role. In-season trades added Andrew Desjardins and Antoine Vermette, both of whom played significant roles down the stretch.

And, of course, the 2014-15 Blackhawks season ended with Toews receiving the Cup on home ice.

There has been some consistent areas on the Chicago roster over the last five years. Keith, Seabrook and Hjalmarsson are still the best top three in the NHL, and Crawford has been between the pipes since taking the crease away from Marty Turco during the 2010-11 campaign. Up front, it’s been Toews, Kane, Hossa and Sharp throughout with new faces coming and going around them.

Now fans are contemplating what the future will hold for the Hawks as Sharp, Saad, Richards, Vermette and Oduya leave.

Sharp COL

It’s been well stated that the core group of the Blackhawks has a lot of miles on their collective tires over the last six years.

Toews, Kane, Keith and Hossa have played in two Olympic Games, while Seabrook (2010), Kruger (2014) and Hjalmarsson (2014) have medals to show for their appearances on the biggest international stage as well.

Younger players have accumulated a lot of games as well. After making his debut during the 2011-12 season, Shaw has appeared in 58 playoff games over the last three years.

But the changes made around the core have kept the Hawks fresh – and hungry – when the postseason begins.

Veterans looking to win their first Cup, or another, have played a big role. Handzus, Richards, Vermette, Jamal Mayers, Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank have come through the revolving door and made an impact. And all have left – and been replaced.

And Teravainen (a Bowman draft pick) emerged as a budding star in the 2015 playoffs.

It could be argued that the turnover after the 2010 Cup win hurt, and most of the assets brought back from those trades have moved on. But the moves Bowman has made since have not only helped the team at the NHL level, but have also re-stocked the organization with depth.

Now we’ll see how Bowman’s latest round of newcomers perform around the core that Dale Tallon put in place. Where others have succeeded before, it’s time for Marko Dano, Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt to step into the lineup and perform.

Artemi Panarin

115 thoughts on “Blackhawks The Model: Is Roster Turnover Good?

  1. Tab, I keep hearing rumors about Seabrook being moved I certainly hope that isn’t true. I worry as time goes on and we are still over the cap with Kruger still pending. I think Bickell is going to be hard to move.

  2. Panarin=Theon Greyjoy!!!

    I like the SB deals thus far… But still need to sign 16… and SB is “Handcuffed”- right now!!!

  3. “Great write up Tab.” – indeed. In my opinion, it demonstrates Stan Bowman knows what he’s doing. There is NO reason to panic at this time.

  4. Bowman is gambling, but that is really all he can do with the cap situation. Either Dano, Panarin, Anisimov, and some yet to be established prospects step up and contribute or the Hawks will fall flat. I predict there is going to be a steep learning curve next season and there will probably be a losing streak of 5+ games. Don’t be surprised if the mustache spontaneously bursts into flames on a routine basis as the season progresses and expect line combinations to be schizophrenic often. Also, there’s no way Daley scores more than 10 goals. My guess is that he scores 7 with 2 game winners and gets 37 assists.

  5. Dickie is right, as usual. There is no need to panic especially if you listen to Bowman’s remarks from yesterday. They have several alternative plans and it’s just a matter of timing to see which one comes to fruition.

    Found out yesterday they really like one of the free agent prospect camp invitees, center Kevin Rooney, who’s going into his senior year at Providence. Big guy, 6’2, not a big scorer but very responsible two way guy. We’ll see what happens.

  6. Good stuff Hof. I agree. Very telling that Stan said they have a few plans/avenues and at this point it’s just a matter of choosing which path to take. Interesting. Sounds like he has a few solid deals in place now it’s just a matter of pulling the trigger.

    Stan is a very deliberate, patient, smart man, who is truly putting him Notre Dame Business degree to good use.

  7. Hi

    I´m a longtime Hawks fan from Sweden. With a question about why the UC won´t or will respond to fans about their name being in NHL 16.

    There a lot of Hawks fans and fans from other teams in the gaming community that are being ignored by united center. I have tried to contact both the Chicago Blackhawks and united center as well. But nobody wants to explain what the f..ks!!!! going on.

    I find it a bit strange that EA sports can get the licens or paperwork sign by the other 29 teams sponsors in the game. But when it comes to UC nothing, zero. Its in NBA 15 live ( same company EA) over the years.
    Free advertising, right.

    The last time it was in the nhl series were in NHL 11. Note that it was when the merger between Continental Airlines an United Airlines in 2011 was done. Is it becasuse of the logo or rights? Who knows? Noone will give a explanation or respone. Just silence.

    The Chicago Blackhawks can have both Toews and Kane on the cover on NHL 16, they will also have the their unique goal horn and Chelsea Dagger in the game. Even Tommy Hawk, can you belive it. (All this missing in NHL 15).
    They have won 3 CUPS in 6 seasons. But can´t get an authentic and real arena atmosphere.
    The big bad guy in this drama is united center. Keeping on to a policy like the old man did on allowing home games on TV it seems like.

    Plus we as Blackhawks fans deserve to be respected and represented the right way. Even do it´s a game.

    Here are some tweets from the socialmedia up to this date from fans BEING ignored:

    Come on @United @UnitedCenter. Don’t be the one company/arena that is too good for their fans.

    @- I wouldnt be surprised. The United Center name has been in in the past NHL games…

    @UnitedCenter Please, please release the license for NHL 16 from EA Sports Stadium UNITED CENTER writing as a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks

    @United @UnitedCenter We want the #Blackhawks arena in #NHL16!

    @Rammer34 Can you let us know if you guys get United Center?

    @- @- @Rammer34 Why does nba live 15 have united center.

    So “Chelsea Dagger” will be in NHL16 but not the @UnitedCenter? Come on United Center give @EASPORTSNHL permission already.

    @Rammer34 That stinks.

    @- 6 jul
    @united @UnitedCenter @NHLBlackhawks , give us fans our house ! @EASPORTSNHL #ItsInTheGame #nhl16 . #Chicago

    If I remember correctly they have so far 29 of the 30 but were still trying to get them all.

    I can only make 1 guess right now for what arena won’t be in the game

    I really hope that they have the UC in the game this year. It just feels wrong playing a current NHL game in the old chicago stadium or a other arena

    They won’t EA UFC has “chicago arena” instead of the united center.

    United is a hell of a company to get marketing rights from.

    (I think Chicago Arena might never, ever gonna be in because of United Center disliking of the Hawks)

    This just upsets me so much. Being a long time Hawks fan I would’ve loved to see it in the game. Of course my team is the one who’s arena isn’t licensed…

    Can anyone speculate as to why they would have problems licensing one of the NHL arenas? Why wouldn’t the Blackhawks want United Center in the game?
    I really can’t see the downside, especially if you’re being paid to have the arena’s likenss used.

    No united center???
    I live in chicago and am very upset that it says CHICAGO STADIUM or another name on the ice than the UC.
    I guess they did not get the license to u use the UNITED CENTER. Sucks :-(

    Re: No united center???
    It’s been like this for years, if not always, if I remember correctly.

    NHL 11 is the last game to have the United Center licensed, I wish they would get the rights.

    Re: No united center???
    It’s a shame this is another year where they don’t have the UC in the game.

    I think this problem was after Continental Airlines and United Airlines merged in 2011.
    The old rights to the United name and the new logo was not probably not valid after that.
    (The Airline kept the “United” name, but swapped to Continentals logo – the blue globe).

    One thinks it should’ve been sorted by now though.

    But it will still be Chicago Arena (or whatever it is called in the game) right?

    HLHornsandSongs retweetade
    Frozen Faceoff ?@FrozenFaceoff 6 jul

    Dont blame EA Sports, they just need a signature. @united just doesn’t value hockey fans. @unitedcenter bad PR

    Lets get United Center licensed in #NHL16. EA just needs a signed waiver.

    @EASPORTSNHL will the united center be in the game?
    EA SPORTS NHL ?@EASPORTSNHL 12 hours ago@- Hi, -. We don’t have any news on the United Center at this time. Keep an eye on our official channels for updates.

    And on and on and on like this it goes. I find it embarassing, sad and straight fu..ed up. How can you as a company keep ignoring the fans or customers like this? The united center can and are doing it. I know that it will be the same generic arena once again Thats a got damn shame.

    Do what you will with this information. The Chicago Blackhawks and last and not least the united center has done that.
    Hopefully more people and fans contact and pressure the united center on whats going on with a respone or them give us an explanation.

    Thank You for listening

    Best Regards

  8. Of course that is what Stan is going to say publicly. That he has a few options. But it doesn’t mean any of the options available to him right now are any damned good ! LOOK at what it took to move Sharp…a far less than ideal trade and where we are only netting a couple million in savings versus the cap. I don’t want to hear this bullcrap that Stan can move Bickell or Versteeg. Of course he can if he is willing to include Shaw, add prospects or add a high draft pick. The probability of both Shaw and Kruger being with the Hawks next season is looking very very poor. And that is what saddened me deeply. And hell, that doesn’t even contemplate the desperate need to have money to bring in a defenseman.

  9. Changes are good. Always can use veteran hungry for cup and young players to dump to know how hart is to get it the cup. But don´t mess with the core, Philla is bad example of it.

  10. What is sb gonna do when 72 meets his
    bonus clauses. ..

    Hawks will be in cap hell next season if 72 gets the Xtra $2M in bonus, plus cap may go down!

  11. “What is sb gonna do when 72 meets his bonus clauses”

    Raise the Cup for the 4th time in 7 years.

  12. I don’t understand this statement “while waiting for a few younger players like Niklas Hjalmarsson, Bryan Bickell, Nick Leddy and Marcus Kruger to develop into NHL regulars.”

    From Wikipedia on Hjalmarsson: “In 2009–10, he played 77 games in the regular season and all 22 in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the team, averaging over 19 minutes played per game, switching between the second and third defensive pairings. Over that time, he recorded a production value (PROD) of a point roughly every 45 minutes of it, while his season PROD was 89 minutes.”

  13. The Summer of 2105 is all about re-loading to win the Cup in 2016. The Saad trade & the Sharp trade are necessary bold moves. The team is now younger and faster with a lower salary cap number. Bold move to include 65 with 29 or 23 makes it possible to resign Kruger & create roster flexibility. New Seabrook contract in 2016 will need ~2.0M additional cap space as well. Morin & Troop need to be shipped out. In Stan We Trust.

  14. Yep, Mike Morris – Hjalmarsson was already a vital member of the d-corps for the first Cup win in 2009/10. He played his natural left side and was paired with Campbell on the 2nd pairing. He played so well that Dougie Wilson gave him an offer sheet that the Hawks ultimately matched which led to Wilson signing Niemi to be the Sharks goalie because the Hawks could afford only one of Hjalmarsson or Niemi.

  15. So who can the Hawks/Bowman file a grievance against?! This seems like a pretty clear cut case of “collusion” amongst the other GM’s and owners as no one wants to “trade” with Stan. I’m sure Stan will pull something out of the air by opening night.

  16. Erik, other gms are in the business of putting the best team on the ice possible. If an opportunity arises where they get better and something makes sense and said GM decides not to just because it’s the Hawks. Said GM is out of a job. I don’t think 28 other GMs called up Kekkalainen and said wtf did you do that for?!

  17. Dave- see picture above ..#72 is Panarin…inexpensive now but huge bonus in the mllions if all works out…still lets worry about next year, next year! I don’t stay up at night worrying what the price of tomatoes is next April. Events, injuries, world markets are far too dynamic and rapidly changing to worry about future events. Stan is an uber genius as far as I can tell.

    Ebony-” Raise the Cup 4th time in 7 years”. Yah baby. I like the sound of that. Could very well happen with this group and experience. Bettman and the hockey world would be in meltdown mode.

  18. Thanks, Mining Man! I was looking on the roster and it wasn’t listed. It would help if Wall would say who it was instead of using the number.

  19. Wall- Good call on Panarin’s doppelganger! Had to look up the name as I’m not a game of thrones viewer but that’s spot on! Sorry Dave, I thought it was a trick question because of the photo.

    Mining man, any damages on the homestead?

  20. Ernie-Outside of everything on the back deck covered in ash and spent embers all is well. The police tape was still across the door. Also did not get any fire retardent dropped on the house as some others did. About 2/3 of us are back in town. They had a big electronic sign on the Hwy at the town line flashing “Welcome Back” and the Mayor and Chief Tammy from the local Indian Band waving to us all from the back of a pickup truck! Kinda corny but it was nice. Horns honking away. Passed many Army units in groups of 20-30 personnel carriers heading back down South. We cannot go north of town to the airport or the golf course as they sustained damage and it was where a huge wall of flames miles long was halted. Passed lots of damage while driving up. I’m thanking my lucky stars. Wore my Blackhawks Indian Head pin everywhere I went, everyday. It illicits a lot of response from people running the entire spectrum from congratulations to obvious jealousy and put downs. Its all good.

  21. I’ve posted once before on a thread that had only 2 comments so maybe it’s worth repeating…Was filling up with gas just outside of Saskatoon and went in to pay. A lady in line looks at my pin and says “I don’t like your pin, those guys cost me a lot of money”. Quickly I took out my wallet and looked inside and replied to her “So thats where it all came from”. At least she laughed.

  22. Man does that put everything into perspective. Thanks for the updates. And so glad it turned out OK. The family that took you in and people like them are the ones that give me hope for humanity. God bless. Thanks for showing off your Hawks fandom and making us all proud.

  23. Thanks, Tab, for another excellent write-up.

    Want to throw this out to all of you: Do you think that the Hawks could have signed Sharp, Kane, and Toews for less? Considering the long term of the Kane and Toews contract, $10.5 mil per seems high to me when you compare to other elite players. Their cap amounts to 29% of this year’s payroll. Do you think other teams would have anted up that much? Also, wasn’t Sharp’s contract unnecessarily high? As a result, the Hawks has lost two key players and are still in cap hell. Hope they don’t underestimate Shaw’s value by trading him. He is young, skilled, and the most fearless player going to the net and in the corners. Fact is, SB mismanaged the Sharp trade.

  24. Corrected grammar of the above post.

    Thanks, Tab, for another excellent write-up.

    Want to throw this out to all of you: Do you think that the Hawks could have signed Sharp, Kane, and Toews for less? Considering the long term of the Kane and Toews contract, $10.5 mil per seems high to me when you compare to other elite players. Their cap amounts to 29% of this year’s payroll. Do you think other teams would have anted up that much? Also, wasn’t Sharp’s contract unnecessarily high? As a result, the Hawks gave up two key players and are still in cap hell. Hope they don’t underestimate Shaw’s value by trading him. He is young, skilled, and the most fearless player going to the net and in the corners. Fact is, SB mismanaged the Sharp trade.

  25. ^^No, it’s not a fact Bowman mismanaged the Sharp trade. It’s your opinion. You have no idea what was or wasn’t offered in trade, nor do you have any idea what went on during the contract negotiations. Terming your opinion as fact is way off base.

  26. Hello all,

    I’m hearing from my friends in Chicago that is it being leaked that saad specifically told his agent that he didn’t want to be traded. That he wanted to stay and was willing to take less to do so. That bowman offered $5mil and saad’s agent countered with $5.5. That’s when bowman traded saad. Saad was stunned.

    It all sounds believable. I’m just looking to confirm the part about saad telling his agent he wanted to stay for less and his agent blowing it.

    Can anyone here confirm anything like this?

  27. Wihawks, what was reported was Saad would take less to stay. He was coming off deals that paid him 800k in base. He’s 22 and hasn’t made anything (compared to others) yet. It’s been speculated Stan was starting at 4.5 and willing to go up to 5. With a slight possibility of just slightly more depending on term. Saad’s agent wanted 6 years at 6.5. That number was quite a bit higher than Stan anticipated, but there was probably room to negotiate down to 5.5, at the absolute fringe the Hawks could afford. What complicated matters however was the possibility of an offer sheet. That didn’t leave the Hawks a lot of time to negotiate. Stan caught wind that someone was willing to take advantage of the Hawks cap situation and Saad would have signed the offer sheet at his asking price. That would leave the Hawks with an extra 1st,2nd, and 3rd round picks.

    This left Stan with a limited period of time to get something for him, or lose him for future picks that may or may not work out. Saad saying afterword that he was shocked and didn’t want to leave is lipservice to the fans. Or, just pure ignorance of the business on Saads end. Brandon Saad was a hell of a black hawk. However, he owes nothing to the fans. He has earned the right to get while the gettin is good. And he got. Columbus, not being in the same cap hell the Hawks are in said flatly they would match any offer sheet. No offer sheet came because teams knew they would match especially with what they gave up. I wish Brandon luck in Columbus. Thoroughly enjoyed watching him in Chicago. But ill take what he said with a grain of salt. He said what he said to try to make himself look better to all the people that cheered him.

  28. Original 6- I’ll try and keep this short. But yes, other teams not only would ante up to sign 19/88, they gladly would do so. Those contracts will look a lot like their 2010 deals in time. They each made 6.3 this year. That’s a steal, but didn’t appear so at the time. The issue that hurt the Hawks this year was the un-anticipated fall of the Canadian dollar. Had it remained where it was the cap was assumed to go up to 73-74 million this year.

    Regarding Sharps contract, he was last year’s leading scorer. His contract took effect the 12/13 season. This was his worst year of his career and he battled injuries on more than one occasion. Scored 43 points in 68 games, good for .76 ppg. I’d like to remind you that the 22 year old that was traded scored .64 ppg. Sharp at stretches was playing 3rd and fourth line minutes. And still put up decent offensive numbers. I think all the contracts are justified…. Except for Bickell.

  29. Ernie, fair point on Bickell and his contract and I agree with your sentiment. In fairness, after his 2013 playoff he was gonna get paid by someone and I bet more if he would’ve been on the free agent market for any length of time.

  30. Mismanaged the Sharp trade- 2 game 1 starters with good motors for a declining veteran and a good prospect, while saving money. Mismanaged how? If Johns’ production and play is better than Daley’s THIS COMING season, you have a point, but that’s the deal, you give up something to get something. Bowman is playing to win now, his moves are not in any way wishy washy or wimpy, he’s going for it again. He could have stocked up draft picks, but Kane and Toews are entering their prime NOW, not 4-6 years from now.

    For all the Kane Toews salary complainers: they will net .5 mil LESS than Crosby/Malkin going forward. You can debate their merits as hockey players all you want, and C/M could definitely get some more hardware before all is said and done, but the Hawks are still currently closer to that goal, and there’s $500,000 left over to boot. Kane and Toews are a bargain at their prices for 2 generational competitors- not just hockey players, competitors. It’s flat out silly to think they would have/should have/could have taken less.

    Bowman is not without his obvious faults, the Bickell contract being the worst on the books currently (loved it when he signed myself, seemed like a good move at the time), Versteeg being paid above his grade, duh, a million times duh, we know it, he knows it, octopi on the ice in Detroit know it. But the blanket dismissals of Bowman’s acumen are absurd. It’s been a few days since someone panned the Vermette pickup, can’t some idiot chime in?

    My gut says Shaw stays and Kruger is gone, which is my preference in that awful scenario, but who the heck knows.

    The thing that’s been itching me most though, it the United corporation’s brazen disregard for Eric’s pleas for an answer about their name being in a video game. I WILL NOT SLEEP until this is resolved. It’s an embarrassment to the Blackhawks, the United Center, all current, former and future Blackhawks players, their unborn children, united’s pilots, their children, their roommates…

  31. Hof- Agreed. But no matter who was going to pay him all signs pointed to him not being worth it. He’s the typical power forward of this era. Capable of bringing the heavy game, but not consistently. If he stays let’s hope that tooth issue that caused the vertigo was nagging him longer than just the WCF.

  32. Nick, Versteeg is being paid 2.2. Just prior to the all star break I thought he could have been on that team. His second half went to hell. Bowman didn’t give him 4.4, Tallon did. Then ate half for Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen who was sent back to the AHL and appears to be another Tallon draft pick flame out. Hayes was shipped to Boston after a solid year. But again, typical power forward of this era. Doesn’t bring the heavy game consistently.

  33. When I stated that SB mismanaged the Sharp trade, in earlier posts I gave the following reasons why:

    1. Stephen Johns
    2. Cap space not cleared to sign Kruger and chance of losing Shaw

    Mark Lazarus and others expressed shock that Johns was part of the deal. Johns tied for the AHL lead with a +30. In the playoffs he had 7 points in 8 games. He was the top-rated D prospect in the Hawks organization. This 23-year old right-shooting gem has the makings of a solid payer. Signing Kruger is a must. If SB cannot, watch our GA and PK numbers deteriorate. And losing Shaw would be a blow.

    Sure, Daley and Garbut are good assets, but not at the expense of Johns and still being in cap hell.

  34. Not saying the Sharp trade was a win for the Hawks, but they did cut salary and reload with quality players. What indication is there that anything better was possible? 29 GM’s out there are not about to hand the Hawks another cup. Look at the big picture, assuming Dallas wouldn’t consider any other trade (they wouldn’t) and no one else would help the Hawks unload Sharp (they didn’t). Do the Hawks win another cup in ’16 with Sharp, his salary, and Johns? Impossible. Do they win in ’16 with Daley and Garbutt and less salary? Possible.

  35. “The thing that’s been itching me most though, it the United corporation’s brazen disregard for Eric’s pleas for an answer about their name being in a video game. I WILL NOT SLEEP until this is resolved. It’s an embarrassment to the Blackhawks, the United Center, all current, former and future Blackhawks players, their unborn children, united’s pilots, their children, their roommates…”

    Nick this is classic!

  36. Original 6- if that’s the best offer he had for Sharp…would you not take it? Maybe it wasn’t Stan wanting too much back, maybe it’s other GMs realizing Hawks need to get rid of Sharp and took advantage of it. Maybe other GMs wanted Johns/Pokka/TT with Sharp. Maybe this was the best move out there.

    Fact is, you don’t know. And none of us do. We just have to have faith that Stan has his, ours, and the Blackhawks best interests. The trade undoubtedly sucks. Maybe the Stars wanted either TVR or Johns. Maybe Stan runs it by Q and coach wants TVR over Johns…again. Farfetched?

  37. Referring to other GMs …GM Nill of the Dallas Stars quote on Stan Bowman…”They’ve done a great job in drafting, great job in developing, they’ve managed their system well, who they’ve signed, who they don’t sign. They’ve made the right trades at the right time. We’re not there but we think we’re on pace with where are players are at”. ( source )

    Lots of admiration around the league for the Blackhawk organization and Stan Bowman. Seems to me they are more in awe and trying to catch up and basing their models on the Blackhawks.

  38. Ernie, if that was the best offer for Sharp, I agree that Bowman didn’t have much choice but to take it. In the days leading up to draft and then free agency, several sports writers/commentators stated that it was rumored that Bowman was asking for three things back for Sharp. If so, he was living in an imaginary world. A number of people thought that Bowman’s best opportunities were during the draft and FA, and afterwards he was left in a weaker position.

    Hopefully the Hawks will be able to trade Versteeg and solve the Bickell puzzle so that they can sign Kruger and keep Shaw.

    At the moment:
    Key players gone: Saad, Richards, Vermette, Sharp, Johns, Oduya
    Key players added: Panarin, Tikhonov, Anisimov, Dano, Daley, Garbutt

    Overall, I think the Hawks are a little stronger here.

  39. original6 – Kane and/or Toews would have commanded 12mil plus individually on the market. The fact that they’re on the same team causes the problem. The overpay in their case may eventually be the term. Those salaries, when they 35 or 36 will be problematic.

    Regarding the churning of the roster, I’ve watched Scotty Bowman teams since the 60’s. Even with his championship clubs he routinely churned a quarter of the roster. And just like his son Stan, it was never the big stars that left (The Core) but role players or aging stars or young prospects that could be replaced internally. It keeps the team fresh and motivated (and yes, a little uneasy)

  40. HAWKFACTS: I was questioning the lengthy term, as you doing.

    Regarding my post above, I should add that the new players are faster than the outgoing ones. This should help with the new 3 on 3 OT rules.

  41. Original6 – suggest you stop taking comments from reporters as “gospel” – of course SB is going to start high because you also have to think of future deals and you don’t want the reputation as someone who panics when they have to move someone. I think we need to focus on how little interest there actually was for Sharp. The cap is causing issues throughout the league and few GM’s were interested in a 5.9m cap hit for a guy coming off a down year. I am really surprised at the discipline being shown by GM’s which leads me to believe that they are concerned that the cap may not rise again next year. By the way next year’s free agent crop is much better than this years so another reason to keep some dry powder. Bottom line – guys making nearly 6m in their mid 30’s are going to be really tough to move. I would also caution against getting your hopes up that Bickell will move as I don’t see that happening. This is a bitch of a situation for SB so let’s let him finish his moves before we evaluate each piece in a theoretical coulda, shoulda, woulda exercise.

  42. MS, good points. Regarding GM’s showing discipline, you are right for the most part. Speaking of players making around 6m into their mid-thirties, Anaheim signed 31-year old Ryan Kessler to a six-year $41.25 deal for a $6.875 mil annual cap hit. This is good news for us (and any team doing a good job managing their cap). Kessler is a second line center, who will slide to third line in a few years. Let other teams make the big contract mistakes, paying big money into old age.

  43. MS hit the nail on the head. I firmly and sadly believe there is zero market for Bickell. And very little if any market for Versteeg. Bowman is forced to a Plan C at this point. He doesn’t have to execute Plan C immediately because it means trading Shaw as part of the bait to unload Versteeg. Kruger? It comes down to hoping the Shaw-Versteeg trade unlocks $3 M or so. And we still shall have screaming need for another defenseman.

    The cap for 2016-17? God knows what to expect but most think it could stay flat.

  44. … the media conjecture that says the Hawks should be shopping Seabrook right now. The thing is Seabrook is HUGE for the Hawks of course, BUT anybody who honestly looks at things given the cap comes to the same sad conclusion that resigning Seabrook next summer will be impossible to pull off. So just like we all knew this past season was Sharp’s last in Chicago, the frightening reality is that 2015-16 will be Seabrook’s last in Chicago too. So the argument can be made that Bowman should just go stone cold now and trade Seabrook. I don’t want to do that because we can’t lose Seabrook. But I really wonder if Stan is thinking about it?

  45. RTF – You have to believe that SB is considering the Seabrook move although he might get strung up by the fans if he actually pulls the trigger. Seabs will be 31 next year and you have to figure he will be looking for at least 6 years at $6.5m or more. Even if we can swing the money, the term is a bit scary. I recently read an article that showed that most d-men have a clear drop off after 35. If I am not mistaken the deals for 19 and 88 will expire when they are 34. We are already committed to Hossa and Keith until they are 40. Assuming SB is brutally honest, he has to be worried about committing another huge contract to someone on the wrong side of 30. Moving Seabs would solve the cap issue this year and next even if we get a solid d-man in return making $3m. The scary part will be figuring out who plays defense next year. As I said in my earlier post we are in a bitch of a situation but this may end up being the least bad option.

  46. I don’t think moving Seabrook this late is the right move to be made. Whatever return you got back would be minimal. Hawks already have a need on D so while it would help cap relief now. It hurts the on ice product. And when the team unlike 2010/11 could make a llegitimate playoff run, I don’t think it’s something to consider unless the return is 2 young NHL dmen on ELCs. Hawks D depth is suddenly on the more barren side when you look at just Johns and Paliotta. I have my doubts about Clendening and Dahlbeck was an older prospect with marginal upside.

  47. RTF, at least it appears that Bickell’s vertigo has been solved after he had an infected tooth removed. Let’s hope this makes him more marketable.

    Regarding Seabs, my guess is that he could be a trading deadline possibility next year if the Hawks are not doing well or cannot refuse a terrific offer. For now, trading Johns pretty much eliminates Seabs from being moved or a while.

    I know a lot of you put your trust in SB. But who would defend his trade of big and young Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olson for little Versteeg? The small Hawks finally had someone who can get to the net and hit, while Versteeg was coming off ACL surgery. Florida just traded Hayes to Boston for Reilly Smith, a much better player than Versteeg. Now Versteeg, who hardly contributed since returning to the Hawks, will have to be unloaded at a firesale price.

  48. “RTF – You have to believe that SB is considering the Seabrook move” – I believe he is…along with many other possibilities/options – that’s part of his job. (…another site – JJ – seems obsessed with moving Crawford…I believe Bowman must be considering that as well.) What would be a “realistic” return for Seabrook? Maybe he’s the piece (along with McDavid, of course…and, the draft was rigged to place him in Edmonton, but that’s a different thread) that finally revives the Oilers? Do we take Edmonton’s 1st round picks the next two years (and a 2nd either year)? That would provide a LOT of Cap relief… Maybe a little UNrealistic? I don’t know…

    But, RTF, “trading Shaw as part of the bait to unload Versteeg.” seems even more UNrealistic to me. The Hawks have prospects who have been in the organization a few years who very likely will not make the “2016-we’re-going-for-another-Cup” team – maybe they are valuable trading pieces? (Deanault? McNeill? et al…) I’m not the GM (obviously!), but I would move Shaw ONLY if the deal included 29 AND 23 AND their entirely Cap hits.

    Good thing I’m not the GM, AND Stan Bowman IS – he will make it work…
    NO panic. GO HAWKS!!

  49. Chitown– REEK it is!!!

    Let’s hope Panarin “Reek’s” Havoc on the NHL as a Hawk for many years!!!!

  50. If the current lineup doesn’t work out next year, look for SB to move Seabrook before the trade deadline next spring for good prospects and a high draftpick. If the current lineup can match or exceed last year’s, look for Seabrook to hoist Lord Stanley for the fourth time in a Blackhawks sweater.

  51. Regardless, it is very doubtful the Hawks can retain Seabrook beyond next season. And given the cap crisis we still are stuck in it does raise the issue on whether Bowman bites the bullet and trades Seabrook now. Doing so would essentially throw away any serious chance to compete for the Cup in 2015-16, but it could set the stage to be right back in the swing of things the following season and beyond.

  52. I agree with some of the banter on Hawks – dumping some cap… if this line-up doesn’t deliver… BUT- it is probably 50/50 on #7 versus #50…

    A lot will depend on Seabs- asking price, and how Darling advances!!!

  53. Wow! Now the Hawks are trading Seabrook!?!?!?

    Although it’s not out of the realm of possibility I think it’s highly unlikely.

    Unless you get some insane return, which if you live in the world of my little ponies-rainbows-leprecauns-gas station sushi & Mexican tap water you believe it can happen…..(I’m looking at you Rufus!)

    I choose to stay based in reality & trading#7 just doesn’t make sense……

    Unless ala The Godfather you get an “offer you can’t refuse”

  54. So reputable sites say the Hawks are trying to lock up Seabrook w/ an extension and others with a less-than-sterling reputation (Buzz) say they’re trying to deal him. Let’s consider where you read some of this crap before repeating it… If Brent Seabrook wasn’t going to be here next year, why wait until the dust settles from free agency to start having conversations? I would be more shocked that Seabrook isn’t here next year than I was that Saad was traded, especially in the wake of Bowman trading away the only 2 prospects with any kind of size that MIGHT have been able to replace Seabrook at some point down the road. Not buying it at all.

  55. Tab, the other thing is, right now Seabrook is only a year away from UFA. The Blackhawks likely wouldn’t get the value vs. Seabrook’s worth to a Blackhawk team gunning for a repeat this season.

    Stranger things have happened, but trading Seabrook doesn’t seem to fit what they’ve been doing.

  56. As much as i would HATE Seabs moving elsewhere its something that probably needs to be considered. At 30 yrs old its worth investigation. However, moving Seabs would be a hard pill to swallow because his loss would be very unfortunate.

  57. Reading is fundamental Tab ! I didn’t advocate trading Seabrook. What I DID say is that it could be on the table in light of the fact that the Hawks are in cap hell and the probability of re-signing Seabrook after next season honestly grow dimmer and dimmer. There is no way the Hawks will be able to find $6.5 M plus per season to sign Seabrook to a new deal. And they honestly cannot afford to give him 6 or 7 years like some team no doubt will. So yes, trading Seabrook might be on the table right now.

  58. Tab, I agree with you about Seabrook. After trading away big right-shooting Paliotta and Johns, the Hawks are thin at this position.

    If you want goose bumps, watch Seabrook’s three OT goals in the playoffs. Talk about raising your game when it counts the most!

  59. Everything is on the table right now, that’s no surprise. I think part of this delay is due to arbitration negotiations & hearings, mostly on other teams, as it’ll have an effect on exactly how much money those teams have and what they can take on.

  60. Everyone can talk all they want about the leadership that Toews brings to the table. Seabrook is right on top with him as far as being a leader goes. The guy also comes up HUGE in big games and in OVERTIME. When Toews was falling apart in Detroit in 2013, it was Seabrook who settled him and then he went out and won the series in OT. The guy is HUGE on this team.

    Like Hossa, Seabrook will be able to play until he is 40.

  61. Hof, “…delay is due to arbitration negotiations & hearings” – good point. That certainly impacts any dealing with teams involved with that process.

  62. I changed my name to HAWKEY, but it defaulted back to HAWKMAN. It’s the same person. ORIGINAL6 refers to my following the Hawks since the ’60s (in other words I am not young).

    RTF: Trade Seabs to Anaheim. Let them give him a 6-7 year extension into old age, like they did with Kessler. Seriously, the Hawks will have a tough bridge to cross with Seab’s contract. A lot will depend on how much TVR and Runblad develop, as well as anyone else in their system on the right side.

  63. you make me laugh, RTF. You tell me reading is fundamental but I not once referenced you in that post. Good job, good effort… as usual. but by all means, keep spewing the garbage ideas for the Hawks getting under the cap after next season…

  64. re: Hof – absolutely arbitration is a difference maker here. There are some guys (like Smith in NSH) who could end up either hurting their team’s cap situation or just on the open market in general if their team walks away from the awarded amount (see Niemi).

  65. Hey Mr. Rufus: ESPN Hawks’ writer has a nice article about Morin Round II posted today. Your thoughts? Thanks!

  66. Seabrook stays and wears the “A” next season. And I also say pin an additional “A” on Hossa, too. Who says you can’t have three?

  67. … replacing six or more players after winning a Stanley Cup and expecting the team to perform at a championship level possible?…..doubt it sincerely…..the new and maybe not improved Blackhawk team will be entertaining for us diehard fans but I don’t have high expectations for next season at all….blame it on salary cap and lets move forward……

  68. This team will struggle in spots and will struggle with consistency because that’s what happens, new guys need to adjust and there’s no set timetable. Look at Brad Richards last season, he was almost invisible for long stretches and then it came together for him for a segment of the regular season and he was good in the playoffs.

    I expect a lot of up’s and downs this year, along with growing pains and some sub par performances. Their challenge will be to make the playoffs, preferably with a high seed, and peak at the playoffs. Luckily they have a history of doing just that.

  69. RTP, my thought exactly. However, the “A” will probably go to a forward. I’d love to Kruger wearing it (hint, hint).

  70. Pretty sobering thought there Anthony Justin, likely outcome for sure, makes good sense…however, I will go on the record with my predictions one last time–Crawford has his best year ever, Dano is a phenom, the Russians are incredible and unstoppable, TT takes it to a new level, Kane goes for and wins the scoring title, Defense concerns fizzle away to nothing. The picture becomes clear for all of this around late November. Bowman wins GM of the year. Its all possible with this team. Big problems for us will be the Ducks, Calgary, and Washington in the East. Not saying we win the cup because there are too many factors involved but its entirely possible we win it going away. Am I in dreamland, fantasyland? We shall see!

  71. Seabs or Kane will wear the A next, I’m guessing Seabs since he is older. Kane’s chance will come soon enough.

  72. Anytime they have an injury, 7 is the one that gets the letter. Seabrook is a vocal leader in the locker room. And he will and has stood up to Toews when Toews was getting a little hot. How many guys can do that?

  73. Mining Man… I really like and share a lot of your thoughts…

    There could be some bumps for sure with the new guys learning the system..
    AND – I still think it is a MUST to keep Shaw, Kruger ( and would be great to land Erhoff type)… but if SB keeps 16,65…

    I too – think the Hawks will be better/more exciting/offensively,,, faster as a team…

    Crow- MAY actually play better with Darling on his heals…
    Dano- looks to be a beast w/ Hands
    Panarin- can fly/finish
    AA- will surprise
    Garbutt- is a faster/better player than most realize

    BUT- keeping 16- is a KEY
    and- Jury (for me/cuz I haven’t watched close enough) is Daley… if he skates as well as a Lot of people say… I don’t see a reason- he won’t fit in well w/ hawks… unless he is really low in Hockey IQ!!!

  74. I also STRONGLY agree on

    Ducks, Flames, Caps

    Ducks- are way under Cap… and If they choose to spend/load up… they have a 1-2 year window- to win it ALL… and should!!! only negative for them – Forward studs- are in the last couple of years of prime…. and will slow down and window will close soon… but they should be able to “BUY” the cup this year!!!

    Flames- are really up and coming…

  75. Well Hawks fans the Las Vegas Blackknights and Quebec 2.o are poised to be joining the national. If only they could take Bickell & Steeger in the expansion draft now!

  76. @ Wall

    The Flames have turned things around so quickly its almost unbelievable. They have the best defensive unit in the game and an above average goalie! That combo will win you alot of games.

    IMO they are about 1 top 6 forward away from legit contender.

    Thev Ducks on paper are already there. Not solid on that playoff resume or coaching.

    The Kings are always a legit threat these days despite last yr, although losing Williams, Voynov, stoll and mike richards does hurt.

  77. Did the Kings lose Stoll? I know he got his drug felony reduced to a misdemeanor – ah, what the rich and famous get away with – but did they lose him, or was he suspended? I haven’t been following.

  78. Stoll is a free agent and has yet to sign with any club. His contract was up when he got busted at the teams end of season party. Wonder if it’s plan b if the Hawks can’t fit Kruger in. on a one year contract he’s probably cheaper.

    The league hasn’t given any punishment…yet.

    The Kings depth down the middle definitely took a hit. Although I’m not sure Mike Richards had any real value. If both guys are looking for work come spring training you have to wonder if they get a look. I don’t think I want them around the team. But you have to wonder if they get brought in for a camp invite.

  79. No one is disputing Seabs contributions and it wouldn’t shock me if an extension is in the works. That being said we can’t ignore the math of the cap. If we sign Seabs to an extension then it has to make it likely that either Kruger or Shaw or both have to go. I want to be proven wrong but please don’t say we will move Bickell and I don’t expect teams to be knocking down the door for Versteeg either. One small option may be to send Panarin back to the KHL for another year if he doesn’t have a great camp.

    Wall – the Ducks window is this year. Kesler ‘s new deal kicks in next year and they have several key RFA’s coming due that could generate an offer sheet.

    Original6 – I get that you are not a fan of SB but the Panthers got Reilly Smith because they took on the contract of Marc Savard not solely for the immense talents of Jimmy Hayes who had a solid year but was also a healthy scratch (in Florida) several games.

  80. Very interesting Ernie…I’ve also noticed that Robyn Regehr is a free agent as well. Think he’s around 35 …could be a veteran available for inexpensive $ pick up for a cup run. The guy is a tank.

  81. MM – Robyn Regehr officially retired. He was quite a warrior but the body had taken too much punishment over the years.

  82. re: the idea that chemistry could be an issue:

    something I think many/most are overlooking is the fact that Bowman has brought in 4 forwards this summer who played with each other last year. Dano & Anisimov spent a fair amount of time on the ice together in Columbus, and Panarin skated on a line w/ Tikhonov all season in the KHL. You can ease the learning curve if there’s pre-existing chemistry, and Bowman was able to do that (in theory) for 2 of his 4 forward lines. Subtle, but smart.

    Also, the Hawks have (right now) 5 returning defensemen in their top 6. Granted TvR wasn’t with the team the entire season but he & Rundblad were with the Blackhawks when they raised the Cup and both played down the stretch in the postseason. Adding one defenseman, even if it’s #4, isn’t an overwhelming task.

  83. MS, on balance SB had done a pretty good job. I know that Florida had to take Savard’s contract (it’s great to have plenty of cap room). My point is that Jimmy Hayes and Reilly Smith are much better players than Versteeg. Advantage: Dale Talon.

  84. Original 6, Its not a player for player swap. Jimmy Hayes was an AHL player that had played a handful of NHL games. He refused to play like the coach wanted him to play, so the GM got what he could. Jimmy Hayes then became a 20 goal scorer who was also scratched at times on a non playoff team? Why was he scratched? He failed to play the coach wanted him to play. Florida perceived Reilly Smith as a better asset than Jimmy Hayes. Boston Perceived the cap space gained by acquiring and resigning Hayes a bigger asset than Smith and Savard’s dead contract.

    Chicago thought Versteeg at half price was a better asset than at the time 2 minor league players. One player flamed out and is back in the minor’s while the other still wasn’t a regular on a non playoff team. Versteeg’s first half was nearly all star worthy. His second half just went to hell.

  85. Also fwiw, Versteeg had 34 points in 61 games. cap hit of 2.2
    Smith had 40 points in 80 games cap hit 3.425
    Jimmy Hayes 35 points in 72 games cap hit 2.3.

    Versteeg had the highest ppg and the lowest 15/16 cap hit

  86. Original 6, you’ve been watching hockey for decades so you ought to know it isn’t always about the individual players and their stats, it’s about the fit into a system.

    Hayes is a decent player who I guess fit into a Florida non playoff team as Ernie mentioned, but now he has been traded for the 2nd time. He didn’t fit in Chicago, Versteeg for all his faults has versatility and he fit.

    It’s all about team, not necessarily stats, although the stats Ernie researched are eye opening in Versteeg’s favor.

    And, the team’s results speak for themselves. I think you’re just looking for things to nitpick.

  87. Tab, would be interested to know who you think the Blackhawks might be interested in as a potential (let’s say) #5 defenseman. I’m thinking it’d have to be a left handed shot. Any thoughts?

    I wonder too if TvR is exempt from waivers. Let’s not forget he has not had a whole lot of NHL time and might benefit from some Rockford ice. Whether his contract is one way or two way is perhaps another consideration. They obviously like him but if they acquire another vet some how some way …

  88. re: Hof – right now, the Hawks have three lefties and three right-handed shots on the blue line. Rundblad is a righty, so ideally you look for someone who can bump him (right?)…

    If we’re looking exclusively via free agency, the list isn’t terribly exciting. The longer he waits, the more some fans might want to lie to themselves about Cody Franson taking a Brad Richards-like deal for one year but we have to believe he’ll be worth enough somewhere at some point to not take $850k to be in Chicago. So if we look for a veteran chasing one last Cup run (the Timonen model), there are names like Hejda, Zidlicky, Salvador and Ballard that fit the “Quenneville loves dinosaurs” narrative. I tend to think giving a kid like Robbie Russo a shot an an NHL team out of training camp might be worth the gamble, however. Worst case scenario he ends up in Rockford for a year and we find out Gustafsson is up to the task. My personal preference is that the Hawks add a younger player like Russo to an ancient warrior, but there’s always the likelihood that there’s another Rozsival out there waiting for one more paycheck and a chance at a Cup. We’ll see.

  89. The guy that has said he would take less and is in cup chase mode is Christian Ehrhoff. Have to worry about his head, but I like him more than some of the names Tab mentioned.

  90. Tab/Hof, “Rundblad is a righty, so ideally you look for someone who can bump him” – realize he’s had some rough times in his own end, but I don’t accept that he’s still around because Bowman is stubborn and refuses to admit that deal was a mistake (I read that somewhere). Rundblad has some offensive skill – good shot and a plus passer…and above average skating. Isn’t (in most cases) easier to teach playing defense than it is to compensate for skating, passing, etc.? I believe confidence is a large part, and everybody is different (and develops at different rates) — coach Q absolutely knows what he’s doing, but his approach in some cases might not instill a lot of confidence in a young (still in the learning curve) player…that fear of making a mistake – and the consequences. Thoughts…?

  91. Tab, also, compared to who you listed (Hejda, Zidlicky, Salvador and Ballard), I would rather take my chances with Rundblad. And, since Bowman signed him, he may feel the same(?).

  92. Hofmeister, I stand corrected. Didn’t realize Versteeg’s stats were even better than Hayes. Ernie, thanks for the stats. In addition, Hayes was a -4 and Versteeg a +11 (damn good). Then why all of the fretting about not being able to trade him?

  93. On the Versteeg criticism. He made the hustle play to set up the winning goal in game 5 in Tampa on Vermette’s third period winning goal, that in itself was worth the Hayes trade. A memorable play that set the Hawks up to win their third Stanley Cup two night later. How do you quantify that ?

    Same with Crawford. NHL network played game 2 of the conference final versus Anaheim. He made a handful of incredible saves off Perry as well as Getzlaf in 3 overtimes. If he doesn’t stand on his head the Hawks are down 2-0 in the Conference final and there is probably not a Monday June 15th cup celebration at the U C.

    I realize it’s the salary cap era but the animosity directed at players on message boards, and I am talking guys who have delivered in the clutch, is mind boggling.

  94. Original6- I didnt realize Versteeg’s numbers were that good either. A majority of those points came just before the All Star break. it seemed like around that time or just prior he fell apart and turned the puck over in his end and was a scratch on numerous occasions.

    Parlay his first half stats along with his modest cap hit and he’s easier to move than Bickell who most assume is immovable.

  95. Dickie D. – I agree with most of your comments on Runblad and believe we need to let him play to see if he can improve in the defensive end. I thought he had a good stretch last year then had some bad games and was in and out of the lineup the rest of the year. Very few young players can improve with limited ice time. My big concern is that although he is a good skater, his feet are very slow in the d-zone. I am hopeful that he can improve to at least be a serviceable #5 defenseman for us .

  96. Bowman says Rundblad will play a bigger role this year, although I have learned to take what Bowman says with a grain of salt.

    Not that it means anything, but I found it interesting he (Rundblad) was included on two of the fan panels at the convention.

    And as usual, Craig N’s thoughts above are spot on …

  97. Good comments, Hof. It’s worth noting the lack of defensemen at the Convention, but I think they saw enough of Rundblad last year that he’s at least a known commodity heading into this year. Perhaps they employ him on some PP duty early to get him minutes with an advantage? Either way, he’s the team’s 6th defenseman barring injury or another addition/promotion. I am still fascinated to see what they’ve found in Gustafsson

  98. Tab I agree on Gustafsson, from the little I heard they were impressed with him last week at the camp. While I suspect he’ll start out at Rockford to acclimate, I’d be surprised if he didn’t see time in Chicago fairly soon.

    We also have to remember this management group has always said they want/need 10 NHL ready defensemen to get through the year. They won the Cup, but were caught short due to injuries and some sub par performances. Their top 3-4 guys are horses but the team has been very fortunate the three returnees have stayed relatively injury free. No question they need more depth although it may not arrive until the season is underway.

  99. Interesting that the Hawks gave Cameron Schilling a one-way deal in year in 2.

    Maybe they envision him being on the Rockford shuttle this upcoming year and being the #7 in 2016-17, making $575,000.

    They clearly see something in him because they nabbed/targeted him pretty quickly when free agency started.

  100. Ernie, yes dale gave Versteeg the contract but dumb dumb traded for him.
    Nick great players in sharp trade who?.. Daley worst Corsi numbers for top 4 D in the league, garbutt is fourth line hack, his style is like dejardin, who Stan has already signed.
    Some of the posts do not have facts right, Leddy was not in system he came via trade with MN for cam barker.
    I really thought Stan should have signed Matt Irwin , solid two way player, play PK and PP, and would have been cheap to sign. Jury is out on Daley IN MY OPINION would have been nice to cut sharps salary, I think Daley would be great 5/6 D man but not top 4. Better than oduya on offense zone, brutal in our end. Garbutt makes zero sense unless Stan knew Kruger wasn’t count back. Either way too many towards with too few spots, and D depth appears to be problem. Let’s hope the top 3 can stay healthy, and Crawford can keep up magic.

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