Chicago Blackhawks Trade Market: The Perfect Number 2 Center

Everyone in Chicago is enamored with the idea of the Hawks making a move to add a legitimate second center to the roster before the 2011-12 season begins.

Despite quality production from Patrick Sharp in that role last year, and the organization being confident that youngster Marcus Kruger can transition to the North American game effectively, the perception of a need between Jonathan Toews and Dave Bolland continues to be a “top priority” for fans.

Now that the Blackhawks have two goalies under contract and have time to address their other restricted free agents, there may be potential for the Hawks to deal for the center so many feel they need.

An Eastern Conference team has a decision to make at center this summer, having the opposite problem that the Hawks do. They have too many centers, and could use help at other skill positions.

The Boston Bruins have two young centers – Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand – that had outstanding seasons. Seguin has exploded onto the postseason scene in the last two games for the Bruins, and has been labeled as the future of their franchise after being selected second overall in last summer’s draft.

The Bruins also have two veteran centers – David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron – that are top-line guys, and have financial commitments to match. Krejci posted 62 points during the regular season, earning his $3.75M cap number. Meanwhile, Bergeron had 57 points and continues to quietly establish himself as one of the better two-way centers in the game. Bergeron has a new three-year contract beginning with the 2011-12 season, that comes with a $5.00M cap number.

Between these four centers, the Bruins have a healthy investment. Marchand is a restricted free agent this summer, and the Bruins have $13.5M locked up in the other three.

The odd man out in Boston might be Rich Peverley.

And he would be perfect in Chicago.

Peverley, who will turn 29 in early July, has one year remaining on his contract with a $1.325M cap number. He won over 55 percent of his faceoffs last year between Atlanta and Boston, and scored 41 points (14 goals, 27  assists).

If Boston wants to upgrade other positions – defense, specifically - they may entertain offers for Peverley.

What makes a trade for Peverley intriguing is not only the reality that he would be the perfect fit in Chicago, but considering the potential cost to acquire him.

Boston traded 24-year-old forward – and former fifth overall pick - Blake Wheeler and defenseman Mark Stuart to Atlanta for Peverley and defenseman Boris Valabik on February 18th this season. While cutting payroll was certainly part of Boston’s motivation – they subsequently traded for Tomas Kaberle – Wheeler is a high price to pay for Peverley.

The financial situation isn’t as tight for Boston this summer as it was at the deadline, but they can deal from a position of depth. After an awful postseason, it’s unlikely the Bruins will offer a contract to Kaberle. The Bruins could use help on their blue line; Johnny Boychuk’s 16 points ranked third among Boston defensemen last season.

This is where some of the Blackhawks restricted free agents, and prospects/draft picks, could come into play.

While most of the comments from Chicago’s front office have been favorable regarding his time with the Hawks, Chris Campoli might be a player of interest for Boston.

Similarly, moving one of the five picks Chicago owns in the first three rounds of the 2011 Draft wouldn’t make an enormous impact on the organization. One needs look only back to the trade sending Phil Kessel to Toronto to see that adding draft picks is a preferred business practice in Boston.

If a prospect like Kyle Beach, or restricted free agent like Viktor Stalberg, was also included, the package might be more than Boston could pass on for a fifth center.

The salary cap space and term for Peverley are ideal for Chicago, and the skills he brings to the ice are perfect.

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7 Responses to Chicago Blackhawks Trade Market: The Perfect Number 2 Center

  1. Jay says:

    While it is a great idea.. Peverley played wing more than center. That great cap hit is exactly why Boston wont trade him.

  2. Tab Bamford says:

    41 points at wing is OK for that cap number… not special. Adding a top-four defenseman and picks/prospects for a guy they can easily replace internally makes more sense than playing a good center at wing for the heck of it, Jay. While I understand your position, I disagree.

  3. Brad Stevenson says:

    I have been waiting for this article…Peverley is good TWO WAY Centre, he is good at the face off dot and always finishes his checks…this takes the pressure completely off Kruger to be anything but a 4th liner who can grow and develop…but to get back to the final 4, we have to make a move along these lines…now a mean, physical DMan and we are right back in the thick of things…

    BTW…nice work by Bowman to lock up Salak for 2 years and those numbers…two big, talented, young goalies to grow with…

  4. ozzzie19 says:

    I like Peverley, hes pretty decent and good value for the $, but a #2 center on a Stanley cup hopeful team? I’m skeptical. Look at the role he played on Atlanta vs Boston.

    Also, I don’t really know if is a big deal or if people just say it is, but shouldn’t we be looking for a lefty center for Hossa?

  5. Ivan says:

    never thought or heard about needing a lefty for hoss but it makes sense i guess

  6. mbell says:

    Perhaps there is another option…If it’s determined that we can’t live with Campbell’s contract long term (Cap hit of $7,142,875 for 5 more years) then there is a a couple of players in Edmonton that may make sense….Smid & Horcoff. Understand that Horcoff’s contract isn’t great with a $5,500,000 cap hit for 4 years. Smid likely at $1.5 million he’s an RFA. But we get a pretty good 2nd line centre in Horcoff – an attractive addition to the back end in Smid and we move a contract that we really need to move.

  7. Bob says:

    I know the future is now but I wouldn’t give up on Kyle Beach so easily. I know he had a disappointing season last year but he is kid with a lot of potential. He is a power forward and they are not easy to come by. He has shown he may have an attitude problem (may or may not be fixable), some defensive weaknesses (can be fixed), some skating issues (can be improved) but he has great hands an excellent shot, a nose for the net and some toughness and an edge that the Hawks sorely need. I agree Morin and Smith look like keepers, but they seem to be more of the same undersized Hawks.
    Power forwards, like defensemen need time to develop. I recently looked at the minor league results for Kesler and Clowe and neither burned up the AHL. In fact, Clowe spent four years in the AHL before making the big time. I would give anything to have this guy on our team right now. The Nucks ran the Hawks off the ice in the playoffs and demonstrated ( my opinion) their greatest weakness–a lack of grit and toughness. I would have given anything to have Ladd, Buff and Eager for that series. I think we need to give Beach at least one more season before unloading so much potential. The ball is in his court this offseason to work on his weaknesses and live up to his potential.
    By the by, keep an eye on Rob Flick, a fourth round draft choice (plays center) from last year. The kid is big, really tough and had a good year offensively and doing really well in the OHL playoffs. He is a couple of years away, but I saw him play the other night and was very impressed. This is a third or fourth line center of the future the Hawks really need.

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