As the Hawks head to the All Star Break, the trade deadline comes close with each passing day. The team’s inconsistent play and apparent lack of killer instinct has led to rumors that GM Stan Bowman is looking to make a major move.
So what could be on the way?
Earlier, we looked at a hypothetical trade that could impact the Blackhawks blue line.
In this second discussion of hypothetical trades that could make their mark on the Hawks moving forward, we’ll look at a couple centers. In our first piece, the Blackhawks player we spoke about has not been mentioned in trade rumors at all. In this article, though, the Hawks player has been.
|Player A||Player B|
Would you trade Player B, currently on the Blackhawks, for Player A?
Looking at the numbers without names (and emotions) attached, it appears there isn’t an enormous difference between the two. Both are under contract until they’re 28, with the player that would be coming to Chicago being one year older. The salaries are close enough that the Hawks could certainly afford to make the deal.
There are, however, two numbers that do stick out.
First, the power play ice time average is exactly one minute greater for Player A, especially impressive considering the nearly identical short-handed ice time averages. This indicates that Player A is a solid special teams player on both ends of the ice.
Secondly, Player A indicates a much more effective season at the dot; his faceoff percentage is more than 11 percent better than the individual the Hawks would be trading away.
The minor drawback for the Blackhawks would be adding over $500k to the payroll, but the backside of the deal would be shaving a year off the Hawks obligation.
So who are the mystery players?
Player A is Travis Zajac of the New Jersey Devils.
Player B is Dave Bolland of the Blackhawks.
First, from the Blackhawks perspective, this deal is a win-win. By adding a legitimate second-line center in Zajac, the Hawks would be able to move Patrick Sharp back to wing full time. Zajac is in an elite class with very few names – including the likes of Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby – when it comes to winning faceoffs, and the biggest difference between Bolland and him is health; Zajac has played in at least 80 games in each of his NHL seasons.
The other consideration is, of course, financial. By shaving the 2013-14 off the organization’s obligation, the Hawks would have Bolland’s cap number off the books when Nick Leddy needs a new deal. This move would also stagger potential future losses; as it stands now, both Niklas Hjalmarsson and Dave Bolland are scheduled to become free agents at the same time. After going through painful choices from a General Manager this summer, spreading out the need for new paper would give Stan Bowman more flexibility.
It would also enable the Hawks the potential to get Patrick Sharp under contract again in the summer of 2012 with one fewer season obligated against the cap. Keeping Sharp should be something the organization has in mind when looking forward to future contracts.
From the Devils perspective, this could be an important trade on a number of levels.
New Jersey needs to shave salary off their cap, and are locked up with Ilya Kovalchuk for the next… forever. By cutting over $500k off their cap number, and having a younger, nearly identical center under contract for an additional season, the Devils would have one fewer headache to worry about down the road.
For the Devils, this deal is essentially a lateral move saving $500k; or, as it’s known in some circles, a “no-brainer.”
This isn’t a rumor… But if New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello made the offer, would you entertain it?