Grading Stan Bowman’s Moves: Free Agents

Before we can look ahead to potential summer shopping, it’s a worthy exercise to look back at the past performance of Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman.

Bowman made a number of moves before and during the 2011-12 season that he hoped would put the team a position to win. Ultimately, the roster he gave coach Joel Quenneville finished in fourth place in the Central Division, sixth place in the Western Conference, and made a first round exit from the postseason for the second straight year.

As we pointed out in early February, if we’re going to appropriately judge the complete work of Bowman in free agency last year we need to do so with a proper frame of context.

Bowman refused to sign veteran forwards to multi-year deals, and that led to useful players like Eric Cole signing in Montreal and Max Talbot going to Philadelphia. But most of the free agent “studs” from the Class of 2011 ended up doing very little in their big-money destinations; Ville Leino and Joel Ward were a couple names many Hawks fans liked last summer, and they were both disasters this year.

While Steve Montador signed for four seasons, the rest of Bowman’s deals were limited to one season. A couple players have been extended late in the season, but for the most part this disappointing group will walk away on July 1.

Let’s grade the moves individually.

Andrew Brunette

This video is from the press conference introducing Brunette to Chicago. One of the questions he was asked was about coach Joel Quenneville pointing out his lack of speed up and down the ice, which he was able to joke about at the time.

Over the coming 88 games, that lack of speed proved to be a painful achilles’ heel for the team.

His size and hands around the net were supposed to make him an asset on the power play, and he continued to get some of the heaviest minutes on the roster when the team had an advantage… but the Hawks power play was awful all year. He scored only four power play goals this year.

Brunette had one goal and was minus-three in the playoffs after having his worst offensive regular season wince 1997-98, when he was in Washington. His 27 points were roughly what the Hawks were hoping he would score before the All-Star Game, but he wasn’t a good fit at all.

Grade:

 Jamal Mayers

Mayers was brought in to provide a physical presence on the Hawks fourth line. He ended up being the best faceoff guy on the team not-named-Toews, winning 56.1 percent of his draws. Mayers also played a significant role in special teams during the regular season and scored as many goals for the Hawks as he had in the last two years combined.

Quenneville decided to scratch Mayers from three of the six playoff games, favoring Brendan Morrison and a number of rookies to fill minutes in the bottom-six. His benching didn’t make a lot of sense, and ultimately didn’t work out well for the Hawks.

Grade:

 Steve Montador

Montador was an enigma this year. He came in and was supposed to help the power play, but it wasn’t until he was moved into the forward rotation on the unit that it clicked. And his four-year deal would seem to indicate that he could step in and be a top-four defenseman, but he was never comfortable skating more than 13-14 minutes a night.

His season was cut short because of concussion problems. Six of Montador’s 14 points came on the power play, however.

It’s hard to give him a full grade because of the concussion, but we can grade what we did see of him on the ice.

Grade:

Ray Emery

There were many, including me, that felt Alexander Salak had outplayed Emery in the preseason battle to backup Corey Crawford. But to Emery’s credit, he came out and played very well at times this year.

In December, when Crawford found himself stuck in an ugly slump, Emery stepped into the top spot on the depth chart and went 6-1-1 in the month. But a 1-7-0 record in February buried a lot of the positive energy that he brought to the season.

He ended up with a 15-9-4 record, 2.81 goals against average and .900 save percentage, all while making barely above the league minimum. Emery received a one-year contract extension during the season finale in Detroit.

Grade:

Daniel Carcillo

Carcillo missed the opening of the season because of a suspension that carried over from last season. He was suspended again in late October for a couple games for a hit on Carolina’s Joni Pitkanen. And his season ended with a seven-game suspension (and knee injury) after an ugly, illegal hit on Edmonton’s Tom Gilbert.

In between those suspensions, Carcillo scored two goals, added nine assists and was plus-ten in only 28 games. He did, however, rack up 82 penalty minutes in that limited action.

The Blackhawks need the little-bit-of-crazy that Carcillo brings to the ice, and he was surprisingly effective on the offensive end of the ice at times.

But the concerns we had when he initially signed will remain for the two more years he’ll be in Chicago (he signed an extension): as long as Carcillo is on the Hawks roster, the team’s penalty kill unit must be good, if not exceptional. And this year they were terrible.

It’s hard to have a terrible penalty kill unit and a player who is a penalty magnet in the same sweater, but that’s what the Hawks did for 28 games this year. For the next two years, they’ll need Carcillo to spend less time suspended and more time creating space for the team’s skill players to create scoring chances.

Grade:

Sami Lepisto

Lepisto found himself in the doghouse early in the year and never really got out of it. He was limited to averaging 10:34 per game in only 26 games, scoring one goal and adding two assists. He was moderately effective when he got into the game, but was buried for most of the year.

Grade:

Sean O’Donnell

He’s old, and looked every bit of it during his time with the Blackhawks. O’Donnell should have been a serviceable seventh defenseman, but he played in 51 games this year and average 13:31 in those contests. He was credited with seven assists in the regular season.

Grade:

For a complete list of Bowman’s history as general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, click here.

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39 Responses to Grading Stan Bowman’s Moves: Free Agents

  1. Dominic says:

    Tab,

    I know from following this website how optimistic you were about these players at the beginning of the season. I have seen you try to remain optimistic right up until the end, even when all of us were screaming bloody murder.

    It takes a lot of guts to re-evaluate and change your opinion.

    Well done. Very professional.

  2. Eric says:

    easy to grade overall Hawks playoffs and Edmonton games (D-), game over to the yotes 1-19 on power play says it all…….no more Q’s for coach Q get him the players…the NHL game is for men …not boys!

  3. Cody says:

    Seems a tad unfair to give Lepisto an F when it wasn’t exactly his fault he couldn’t get into games. You could definitely make the case that he was a better option than Sean O’Donnell all along and didn’t really do anything to deserve the extensive time in the viewing gallery. If anything his grade is incomplete. I still think he would make a very serviceable 6th defenseman.

    Other than that I can’t say I disagree with the rest of your grades. Aside from Carcillo and Emery, who already have extensions, I can’t make a case for bringing anyone back other than Mayers. A fourth line of Carcillo, Mayers and Shaw could be very, very effective. We’ll see I guess.

  4. Cody says:

    I still really regret the Hawks not getting Max Talbot last summer. I know there’s no guarentee he would have put the same numbers in Chicago that he did in Philadelphia this year, but boy that was good production for a $1.75 mill cap hit. Not to mention he’s a rock solid role player and playoff performer. You can’t say that would have been a bad deal to make.

  5. Ricardo says:

    Should have given Stanbow a grade – I’m thinking about F -, whatever the lowest mark possible is..

    He doesn’t offer Troy Brouwer a contract and spends the money to bring useless Brunette and Mayers in. Typical accountant’s thinking – I get 2 for the price of 1.

  6. 5th Feather says:

    Bowman took the approach of signing minimal investment veterans to address the need for grit and, most importantly to his way of thinking, buy time until the next batch of youngsters was ready. In hindsight, it was a flawed strategy. Why? Because Bowman’s greatest weakness is falling too much in love with organ-I-zation assets. He’s a horder in that regard. Unlike Tallon who nearly always let objective thinking rule the day…if the Hawks had a need then he focused on filling it externally if, in his assessment, the right pieces didn’t exist internally….if a once promising youngster flashed inconsistencies are Tallon didn’t think he could live up to his billing, then that player was moved.

    Stan also needs to be brutally honest on the value of “the core.” The Western Conference has undergone a seismic transition to disciplined, defense first hockey teams with great goaltending winning the day. No amount of Toews, Kane and Sharp can overcome the oxygen-sucking style of Nashville, St. Louis, LA, Phoenix and even Dallas. Not unless they are supported with physicality on defense and at LW that doens’t exist on this team today. This team needs space clearers and it needs net presence, period. And it needs to address the fact that, collectively speaking, Keith and Seabrook and Hjalmarsson and Leddy aren’t remotely good enough.

    Address defense and LW and all of a sudden Corey Crawford isn’t so much of a problem. He’s only serviceable, but he can be alright for this team if the critical needs of this team are addressed otherwise.

    Its up to Bowman to pull his head of his keester and let objective decision-making take over. Quennville? He’s just fine. Fact is he has operated with one had tied behind his back in terms of the overall talent picture. We saw how Phoenix completely neutered Kane, Toews, Sharp and company. “The core” needs help. Big time.

  7. Nancy Anne Johnson says:

    There needs to be a complete shakeup during the off season. Management needs to regroup, and concentrate solely on the problem areas namely “powerplays and powerplay kills, goaltending, defense, and the so-called superstars of the team. Coach Q. and his assistants need to concentrate all their energy in the area of discipline, hire a skating consultant, power-play specialist, and get out their and spend money on goalies.

    In part Tab, I concur with your findings on Emery, however there were more times then not he was brilliant in net. He doesn’t let adversity phase him, like Crawford. Our current defensemen looked exhausted in Game 5, Seabrook and Keith both compliment each other on the ice. They are both strong, able to clear, dig and score.

    Lepisto, O’Donnell, Montador and Brunnette need to go.

  8. Tab Bamford says:

    With all due respect to my friends such as 5th Feather, let me offer a different perspective on Bowman’s unwillingness to spend.

    Some folks believe that Bowman didn’t spend last summer because his perception of his own organizational depth is out of whack, and even if these kids are the goods nobody wants to wait for them to develop.

    What if Bowman didn’t spend big on free agents last summer (like other respected GMs like Ken Holland didn’t) because he wanted to have the ability to spend this summer?

    Have any of you looked at a list of both unrestricted and restricted free agents this year? Eric Cole, the #2 free agent forward last summer, wouldn’t be top-five this year. And the group of defensemen that might come available is stacked, too. There are a lot of other, well respected, general managers that didn’t do much last summer because the class of ’12 is where the money’s at.

    re: Talbot – he was probably my #1 free agent target last summer, essentially seeing him as Adam Burish with an offensive game. And he had an enormous year for Philadelphia. But I still think the Flyers overpaid when they gave him a five-year deal.

  9. AC says:

    A couple of more deals I would say should be added here.

    Stalberg – A-, signed 2 years, great return, 20+ goals without being on the PP.
    Crawford – D, signed 3 years to be #1, really struggled in his first year as #1. Hopefully he can bounce back.
    Frolik – C-, signed 3 years, disappeared during season, his grade is largely due to his play in the playoffs.

    To me, it just doesn’t seem like Q and Bowman are on the same page. Look at the Scott thing. He continued to dress and play/waste minimal minutes before he was thankfully traded.

    As for Brouwer, I miss his size, but he was very inconsistent for stretches throughout the year. Although, I understand the need for a 15 goal, 35 pt guy who is big and will hit and show up for 40 games a year. His presence was missed.

  10. Dominic says:

    “We have tons of money and if we can use our cap space to get high-end free agents, we have a shot to get right back on top,” Babcock said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, two days after Nashville eliminated Detroit. “If we’re fortunate in free agency, we won’t have to look at going in another direction.

    “The standard here has always been to chase the Stanley Cup, so as a coach, I’m hoping the free-agent market helps us continue to have those goals.”

    That’s the attitude over in Detroit. Let’s hope our standards are also to chase the Stanley Cup and not just to sell out the convention! (although I don’t think we have as much money as Detroit, do we?)…

  11. Tab Bamford says:

    the Hawks don’t have as much money as Detroit, but the Hawks also don’t have as much to replace (especially if Lidstrom retires).

    the Hawks also have more bona fide top-end prospects to fill gaps in-house.

  12. Dominic says:

    Good point. Still, I want to see them be aggressive after 2 early exits in a row. This core is only young once….

  13. wall says:

    Tab, I am still not sold on this “top-prospect” stuff…

    Flyers have Schenn, Couttierere (or whatever)… we have Kruger and Shaw???

    Minors… I don’t see one D-man… McNeill played for losers in WHL…
    other than Saad… don’t see it! Hope I am wrong…. perhaps the best two are in Europe… Nordstrom and the Russsian kid Shalunov???

  14. Tab Bamford says:

    wall: come back in two years and we’ll talk about Saad, McNeill, Morin, Clendening, Johns, Danault & Rensfeldt.

    Just because the Blackhawks didn’t have a guy you would personally put on par with Couturier and Schenn this season doesn’t mean they’re lacking for top-end prospects. That’s a VERY short-sighted approach.

  15. Kevin says:

    Carcillo was such a tough grade. I remember seeing all the other signings I wasn’t thrilled about after July 1st. Hearing Carcillo was such a WHAT ARE YOU SERIOUS moment that I was really questioning if Hawks reporters were just joking. He took dumb penalties, he gets suspended [opens season that way!] and he ends his own season early by a stupid accident.

    However, there was something I remember hearing Wiedeman and Troy Murray saying one night during a Carcillo – Kane – Hossa line. Essentially, it was “look at how much space is made on this line. Carcillo is a goon, sure, but he’s being a smart goon lately. He is creating distractions, running his mouth and antagonizing during play…and it is completely screwing with opponents to forget whatever magic Kane and Hossa are generating.” If he isn’t being a blockhead about it, I love seeing that kind of energy and distraction. I think for a little while there, a lot of us were impressed with what Carcillo was able to do in terms of actual hockey play. Kane seemed to develop some chemistry with him quickly, both on and off the ice, so seeing that makes me hopeful that they can grow together next season.

    Some personal discipline, growth and like Carcillo himself said, the comfort of security being re-signed for multiple years by a club…there is some stuff to stay positive about with our favorite toothless wonder . a D+ or maybe even C- might be better than the F.

  16. Mike says:

    Tab, spot on. I think Mayers is the only “rental” worth keeping. He is a good influence on our bigger young guys. Mayers can show a Bickell and a Hayes how to play a bottom 6 role the right way. Q said at the begining of the season that he wants to be tougher to play against. Mayers brings that.

    This summer I hope Bowman works on the D.

  17. Mike says:

    Wait…..Forgot about Oduya. He deserves an extension

  18. Brad Stevenson says:

    You can argue all you want that last year was a weak FA class, but trades were available, and Bowman has the farm system in place to make significant trades with…but he didn’t…he didn’t part with any of his farm system until we moved undersized Brian Connelly to Calgary for Brendan “Even I Can’t Believe I’m This Bad” Morrisson…

    That is ALL on Bowman…even you, last off season, said that you were giving him the benefit of the doubt by not getting the 2nd line centre and top 4 DMan during the summer, because he could see how the rookies and and new additions would fit it and hopefully step up, but that if they didn’t he had to go out before the deadline and make a deal…and then the incredibly disingenuous statement, well you can’t blame Stan because so many teams thought themselves still in it and the prices were too high…

    What a load of sh$t…you can’t have it both ways…if you don’t make trades during the summer when everyone is even in the standings, then you take your chances during the season…Bowman chose the latter and got burned…but by not paying a heavy price and making a deal, he burned the ENTIRE ORGANIZATION, owner and players included…he sold this season short hoping that the core could pull him through, at least until the 2nd round, and wait for all the youngsters in the system to be ready. Again, it didn’t happen, and now we are in about the same situation going into next season.

    Huge unknown in goal, below average on defence with HUGE money invested into it, and no legitimate 2nd line centre on the roster, including in the minors.

    And here’s the rub, if Bowman does own up to his shortcomings and makes some crucial moves, EVERYONE will scream at him as to why he didn’t do it this season…so Stan may choose to stand pat once again, change one coach, and call up 1 or 2 more youngsters to bolster the core (Saad and Olsen). And if you value each and every season individually, that would be another huge mistake, because he would be repeating what he did this year…which was to sell his players, coaches and owner short by fielding a knowingly non championship roster and playing the waiting game!

  19. Tab Bamford says:

    @Brad: what trades exactly were available that the Hawks didn’t pull the trigger on? You blast people for assuming something and base the sermon that follows on another assumption. Please, enlighten all of us to the trades Bowman could have made but didn’t last summer.

  20. Brad Stevenson says:

    5th Feather…great comments on Bowman, but I will disagree with Q…he has to take a TON of responsibility for the special teams…he had 88 games to do something about them and he did NOTHING, in fact a Hawks special assistant to Scotty Bowman was the only one who was able to give the units a little life…which didn’t last…Q has become SOFT on the players, and in a psychotically defensive conference we can’t afford his “nice guy” routine…he needs to be tough on guys so that missed assignments, especially with our weak D core, become a thing of the past.

    For Tab, I will live with what you said about Bowman, IF (and that is a MASSIVE IF), he actually spends this offseason…we are in tough with goaltending…based on how much money we will have available, and what we currently pay CC, we won’t be able to go out and get someone to change our fortunes, so we are STUCK with CC and Emery…so to make them better we MUST HAVE:

    * a TRUE 2nd line Centre, and not some “he shows potential to be a #2 guy” but a Stephan Weiss type player
    * and 2 BRUISING DMen, one with top 3 overall qualities and another stay at home, high character guy to go with Sebs, Keith, Leddy and Olsen…anyone else NOT on that short list needs to go, and that means Hammer, Oduya and Montador!

    If he does these things, we will have a chance of at least getting into the 2nd round next year…but I doubt a lot further…until the larger, talented youngsters in this organization begin to contribute, we aren’t going to win another Cup!

    Next year’s lineup could look like this:

    Sharp-Toews-Stahlberg
    Kane-2nd Centre-Hossa
    Bickell-Kruger-Saad
    Shaw-Pirri/McNeil-Hayes/Carcillo

    Extra Forwards: Bollig, Morin, Smith

    Sebs-Keith
    New #2 DMan-Leddy
    New #5 DMan-Olsen

    CC-Emery

    That means trading Bolland, Frolik, Hammer and Montador…it also means cutting ties with Mayers, Brunette, O’Donnell, Lepisto, etc…

    Now, bundling the likes of Bolland, Hammer, Montador and even Frolik with picks and prospects will return the kinds of players we need. But Bowman HAS to make these kinds of moves, if not, I guarantee that we will be here 1 year from now taking about either how the Hawks didn’t make the playoffs, or exited the 1st round 3 years in a row!

  21. Brad Stevenson says:

    Ridiculous Tab…neither you nor I know of what was available or possible via the trade market…only the GMs do…but the Hawks had the prospects and picks available to go out and get, as you suggested yourself, a Rich Peverley type 2nd line centre…and the same goes for the 2nd DMan…

    You and I can argue that he didn’t because he couldn’t, but the fact remains, he didn’t make a deal during the summer nor at the deadline and left this team 3 players short…2 of them being the centre and Dman, and the 3rd being a goalie…although it is unfair to blame Bowman for CC…he appeared to be the real deal last season…

  22. Tab Bamford says:

    Brad: Please tell me you see the paradox in you admitting neither of us can know what was available in the trade market, only to start your next paragraph with the statement “but the fact remains he didn’t make a deal?” Are you made the Hawks didn’t draft Stamkos, in spite of him being off the board when they picked? Do you hate your parents for not winning the lotto, whether they bought tickets or not? It doesn’t make sense, Brad. If the deal wasn’t available, it isn’t his fault for not pulling the trigger on it.

  23. Dominic says:

    I think what he is trying to say is that there may have been a deal available that Bowman demurred on. We can’t know, only he, John and Rocky know. In all likelihood there were a few deals tabled, and Bowman decided they were not worth doing. Does the inaction appear to be the wrong choice now that we are playing golf? Again, only Rocky and Johnny can decide that because none of it was publicized.

  24. wall says:

    Tab, of the prospects you mention… I only like Saad and Danault, And Saad might “contribute” inside of two years my friend… none of the rest will- including Morin/unless he is on 4th line and “contributing” means 6-8 goals (which wouldn’t be bad for 4th liner.

    McNeill will be the 2nd coming of Kyle Beach (played on a bad losing WHL team)
    please note… Shaw is an over-achiever who played on a Cup winning OHL team…
    McNeill is just the opposite- hope I am wrong ( but I doubt it! Remember who was the guy who said “bring up Shaw!!!”)

    Clendening was awful at the Juniors!!!! Rensfeldt has some talent… but 3-4 years away…. Johns, haven’t seen enough.

    Your two year plan is not even close… we need some help via free agency or Trades.
    I do like your Caps D-man… but we can’t afford him + legitimate 2nd center/Power Forward unless we dump Monty or Someone else!

  25. Tab Bamford says:

    wall: with all due respect, you should have mirrored your assessment of Johns with every one of the prospects you commented on. But I wish you good luck w/ your pessimism.

  26. Brad Stevenson says:

    Where is the contradiction Tab? Read what I said…the Hawks had the prospects and picks to make a deal both in the summer and before the deadline…to say that he didn’t because nothing was there, is ridiculous…

    FOCUS…a deal is always possible, and Bowman didn’t make one, likely because he was playing a dangerous waiting game…waiting for the youth already in the system to develop…and that is what we heard from Bowman today…improvements from within the system…he is NOT talking about Shaw, Hayes and Olsen, as they are already here…Bowman still hopes that going into next season the youth in the organization will fill the remaining holes…Pirri? Stanton? Morin?

    If Bowman thinks that adding these three will make the difference then he is sadly mistaken…I would imagine Saad will be a player permanently added to the mix, but the Hawks need more help than this.

    Will he make the moves you suggested today? Maybe, but more likely not…I think he is convinced he can get by with a few smaller moves and then waiting for the youth to fill the gaps…

  27. Pete says:

    I have followed Pirri for last 5 or 6 years and he has excelled every year. I am sure if given a decent chance he will be a great first or second line center. Any thoughts on that?

  28. Gou says:

    Carter was available and has been an impact in many ways for L.A. Sure L.A. Had to give-up a 1st round pick, but Carter has had three thirty goal seasons and is a big presence. I firmly believe he would have helped in the playoffs.
    Mayors is the only one left worth keeping.
    Bollard provides a great deal in the intangibles category and can provided some O for a third line center.
    Call me crazy, but I would like to see Ladd back. He also provides a great deal in the intangibles category and only scored 27 goals as a first line center in his first year as a thrasher. Guy has grit and plays the game with an edge which is what this team does not exhibit at all.
    Either way the quick fix guys have to go and quality has to be brought in which will require giving up to get. There is a great deal of unproven talent in the system, but help from the outside via the trade is the answer.

  29. wall says:

    Pirri has a very good shot, decent skater… but he doesn’t play D side well, and can’t win a board battle- If Kruger had Pirri’s shot he would be a legit #2 center…. if Pirri could check and Play D… he would be a legit # 2…

    Needs to gain 15 lbs. of muscle or Bowman should move him for a Power Forward.

  30. wall says:

    Tab, w/ all due respect- I never saw Shaw play in Juniors either… but I can read, and analyze the stats… From what I read about Shaw… classic over-achiever… and he scored alot of points helping his team in Junior Finals… this is the type of player you want in your system. WINNER

    McNeill- played on losing teams w/ poor +/- rating for 1st rounder, IMO

    In the case of Clendening- actually saw him play and cough up the puck Monty style more then once…

    I am not trying to be Debbie-Downer… I am just calling it like I see it… If you want me to see things your way, please pass me the rose colored glasses and the Hawk Kool-aid your sipping.

    Just remember- who was the 1st guy on this thread to say-
    1.) bring up Shaw and Hayes
    2.) Monty sucks… shitty signing
    3.) Bruno can’t skate no more
    You might call that pessimism…. to me it was OBVIOUS-ism, Bro!!!

  31. Austin Purkey says:

    Wow the pessimism is flowing for the prospects…good grief. We won’t know until they play big league hockey so don’t act like you know they will be bad or you know they will be good; because you don’t.

    Brad said it himself, we don’t know what trades were on the table, only Stan knows. So what the hell are we bitching about??? Be pissed no huge moves were made at the deadline but then again, what teams would be willing to trade a 2nd line center? If I recall correctly, only 3 teams were out of playoff contention. This is a huge offseason for the Hawks so I will withhold judgement until next season.

  32. Brad Stevenson says:

    Gou and Wall, both of you are usually bang on with your assessments, and they are appreciated…as for Ladd coming back, I agree 100%, he is EXACTLY the type of player we need in the top 6, however, there is zero chance Winnipeg would let him go…so on we move to other options…

    All the FAs from last year, outside of goal, should be gone…so should Bolland, Hammer and Frolik…we need to keep the youngsters we already had here (Shaw, Hayes, and Olsen) plus add Saad and Pirri…if Kane is playing Centre, that only leaves room for one FA forward (but the best one possible) and 1, possibly 2 DMen (again, the best possible)…we could go with the following lineups:

    Sharp-Toews-Stahlberg
    Top6Forward-Kane-Hossa
    Bickell-Kruger-Saad
    Shaw-Pirri-Hayes/Carcillo

    Sebs-Keith
    Top3DMan-Leddy
    Oduya-Olsen

    This is why you trade Bolland…with Kruger definitely an already good 3rd line Centre, Bolland’s price tag and value make him trade-able…package him with a pick or prospect, or even Hammer and you have your top notch Top 6 Forward…the Top 3 DMan will likely be a FA signing…

    Now look at that lineup…as long as the new forward and DMan are BIG, PHYSICAL, and TOP NOTCH this is all the Hawks have to do from a personnel standpoint. We are a balanced team…between age, size, skill, toughness and style of play. The D pairings are perfectly balanced…move Hossa to one of points on the PP and Keith doesn’t have to be on that unit. Also, this lineup can help take the pressure off of Crawford, by clearing out the front of the net, and being better on the PK…

    The last piece of the puzzle would be coaching…Q’s staff has to get better and our special teams HAVE TO SHINE with this talent.

    Not a lot, but Bowman needs to get off his A$$ and do these things aggressively.

  33. Gou says:

    That is a nice line up Brad.

    I will add one more name to the mix. Ben Smith. He has that Dino Ciccarelli net present to bang home the garbage. Toy bulldog type player.

    He never got a real chance to crack the lineup in the same role as last years playoff run after getting nailed in the preseason.

    Might serve well on the third line.

    In regard to special teams, the talent on this team has disgraced itself on the PP.

    I want to add a bit of history. Remember back when Billy Gardner and Ricky Patterson used to be such a threat on the PK. We had that in 2010.

    As we all know, fixing special teams fixes a great deal.

    Brad, you are correct, we are not that far off.

    It is interesting to see all of the powerhouse teams from the last 4 cups are gone, with the exception of Philly. This is a team that lost or let go some high profile players from their 2010 team. Richards, Carter, Leino, Pronger to name a few and have revamped quite well.

  34. Brad Stevenson says:

    Ben Smith and Jeremy Morin both deserve a shot…but it doesn’t change the fact that Bowman has to pull the trigger on a top notch top 6 forward and a top 3 DMan…

    IMO Q was doing the Hawks a disservice now and in the future by playing Brunette and not promoting the youth sooner…Brunette, IMO, brought nothing to the table. I would loved to have seen a PP of Kruger, Shaw, Hayes up front and Leddy and Olsen from the point…It could NOT HAVE BEEN WORSE than what we had…plus 3 or 4 guys ever whistle would have been trying to extract themselves from the opposition’s net…

    Something that our regular guys know nothing about…

  35. Gou says:

    Well said.

  36. Tab Bamford says:

    To all: look at the 3 finalists for the Calder this year. If Saad can make that kind of impact, do the Hawks still need a top-6 forward this summer? I’m not saying he is (though I do think he could be), but worth considering

  37. Brad Stevenson says:

    I think Saad IS that type of player Tab, but you can’t count on it…no more half a$$ed measures by Bowman…he only needs to make 2 moves, but they are CRUCIAL 2 moves…you have already identified one of them, in Wideman…we could also try and outgun Detroit for Suter, but the focus needs to be on that top 6 Power Forward…

    Gotta have this guy…what do you think of the idea of trading Bolland and putting Kruger in that 3rd line role…he was made for it, IMO…

  38. wall says:

    Brad, I agree we need true BIG Power Forward/ Net/ PP guy w/ Big Physical top 2 D man…

    Would love to keep Bollie…. Kruger is a capable Defensive/checking 3rd line center… but Bollie has way better shot, Playmaking skills, and Offensive I.Q. at this point compared to Kruger.

    But financially- might be best trade- if we expect to get REAL talent at the 2 spots needed!

  39. Gou says:

    What’s the deal with Ratislav Olesz? If he does not play on the 2012/13 team, will his salary still go against the cap?

    What about Penner, Boyle, or Parenteau as that big body?

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