Introducing Your 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks (Again)

Now that the lockout is over, the NHL will return to the ice soon. Teams will have incredibly short training camps and games are expected to start in the next two weeks.

So what will the Chicago Blackhawks look like when they hit the ice? Here’s a quick reminder.

Toews PHX

The Blackhawks will have depth to work with when the season starts.

Including Nick Leddy (who has been skating in Rockford), the Blackhawks will have eight defensemen to choose from. Johnny Oduya was brought back, Steve Montador is healthy and the Hawks added free agents Michal Rozsival for one year and Sheldon Brookbank with a two-year deal.

That total is not including Dylan Olsen, who hasn’t been consistent in Rockford this season and will understandably lose a numbers game when the final roster is set.

Up front, Jonathan Toews is physically 100 percent and Marian Hossa has been cleared to play, meaning the Hawks’ top four forwards will be ready to go. But there are plenty of questions to answer with Chicago’s forwards.

Will the Marcus Kruger experiment continue at center on the second line? Kruger has played well in Rockford (8 goals, 14 assists in 34 games), but there are still concerns about his ability to win faceoffs at the NHL level.

Where do the other kids fit in? It’s reasonable to think Andrew Shaw would return after a breakout rookie season, but Ben Smith has done more than enough to earn another shot at the NHL roster in Rockford.

Smith, who was outstanding against Vancouver in the 2011 postseason before a concussion took him out of the lineup to begin last year. So far this season, Smith has 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) in 25 games and has been the most consistent IceHogs player (with an NHL contract).

It’s worth noting that the new two-year deals signed by Smith and Brandon Bollig this summer are two-way deals for this season and one-way, NHL deals in 2013-14. Shaw is still playing on his two-way entry-level contract.

And how will the organization’s depth impact the futures of Viktor Stalberg, Michael Frolik and Bryan Bickell? For different reasons, these three could be hot names around the trade deadline.

Stalberg had a surprisingly good stat line when last season ended, posting 22 goals and 21 assists in 79 games (thanks, in large part, to Columbus).

On the other end of the spectrum, Frolik and Bickell were frustratingly inconsistent all year. They combined to score only 14 goals last year, and the emergence of talented youngsters could push them for ice time (or out the door completely).

And what the hell can we expect from the tandem of netminders? Corey Crawford went from hero (against Vancouver) to zero, losing his starting job to Ray Emery mid-season. One of them will need to play consistent hockey for the Hawks to see the second round of the playoffs this spring.

Here’s our projected “Opening” Night roster for the 2012-2013 Chicago Blackhawks:

Center (4): Toews, Kruger, Bolland, Mayers
Wing (9): Kane, Hossa, Sharp, Stalberg, Carcillo, Frolik, Bickell, Shaw, Smith
Defense (8): Keith, Seabrook, Leddy, Hjalmarsson, Oduya, Montador, Rozsival, Brookbank
Goalies (2): Crawford, Emery
Total: 23 players ($63,557,628 cap)

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19 Responses to Introducing Your 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks (Again)

  1. tim says:

    but don’t forget about the buy out option!!!!!!!!!! who do you think get the gate? my guess would be stalberg and hammer

  2. Tab Bamford says:

    Buyouts don’t happen until this summer, tim, when Stalberg’s an unrestricted free agent. My 2 buyouts would be Oduya & Montador because they have two years left on their deals after the 2012-13 season; Olesz has only one. Clearing longer-term obligations makes more sense, especially with the Hawks’ organizational depth on the blue line improving with Clendening in Rockford this year and (hopefully) Stephen Johns only 1-2 years away.

  3. smitty says:

    So while we wait for the season to finally get started let’s speculate how these buyouts might be used more strategically. My understanding is that the buyout opportunities can be exercised during the summer of 2013 0r 2014. Hopefully the Blackhawks save one for 2014 and carefully consider using it for Marian Hossa. He has been a great player but his cap hit of $5.275M runs until the end of the 2020-21 season and in 2014 he will be 35 years old. With the reduced cap space that will be a huge cap hit for several years for a player with declining production. At least take a look a what he delivers in 2013 and 2013-14 before using up both of the buyout opportunities on situations that provide only short term benefits. With the last four years of Hossa’s contract paying only $1M per year the buyout cost could even be bearable.

  4. KMAN says:

    The buy out options will upset some people so be prepared to see a fan favorite pack his bags. This is of course they are not wanted, but rather they are overpaid for their production.

    Last week I watched the Icehogs play and I walked away thinking the following:
    1. KRUGER is someone who is probably better suited for 3rd line.
    2. BOLLAND may be odd man out due to the crazy contract he signed $3.5 Mil cap hit is simply too much for what he brings. He is worth $2-2.5 only. He is a great team guy, much like Andrew Ladd, but in the new world, you can’t keep everyone.
    3. LEDDY should be traded for a #2 center. Not that he isn’t valuable, but with the cap concerns, he is someone who has up side and value to other teams. Furthermore, I thought Adam Clendening is equally if not more important to the future, than Leddy.
    4. BEN SMITH is back. He isn’t flashy, but he has good hockey sense and easily replaces Frolik. He could provide the team role that we lost with Ladd and possibly with Bolland.
    4. FROLIK should be let go. Great heart but just can’t seem to put it together. His cap hit is approximately $2.5. Use this money to lock up Stalhberg this summer. You simply can’t teach speed. I was willing to give up on Victor, but once he changed sticks, he was far more consistent, and reminded me of a “Sharp-Like” player.
    5. SHAW is mudder. He isn’t flashy but will fit in like Burrish.
    6. SAAD isn’t ready. He has it, but will need more time adjusting.
    7. BEACH is another Jack Skille.
    8. BOLLIG is starting to find his offensive touch. He serves a better role. He isn’t Big John during fights, but more than the necessary muscle.
    9. OLSON: Let him finish his year in Rockford. I was impressed with his 3rd period against Milwaukee and his ability to block shots. He needs to work on his consistency. He will be on the roster next year.
    10. MAYER: One and done.
    11. CARCILLO: One and done, unless he eliminates his stupid mental lapses and plays the team game.
    12. MORIN: will be a career AHL’er. In baseball they call these guy’s 4-A players. Not quite good enough for the show.
    13. HAYES: He has the tools but needs to be given a role. I can’t help but think he could fill the role of in front of the net. He has good hands but is a little slow to get going. In front of the net, he could be a huge need.
    14. PIRRI: He continues to surprise me. He could be the guy. I would like to see him get a chance. He skates well, and understands both sides of the game. If he fails, he is another career AHL’er.

  5. wall says:

    Regarding buyouts:

    Right on Tab- Monty, Do-ya, or Hammer… we could even move a Leddy if Clendening continues to look ok, and Leddy asks for too much cash!
    Leddy looked solid but not as dominant as I hoped in the 3 AHL tilts I saw…

    I know there are some Holes in Stalberg’s game… but to me he is still underpaid, and getting better…

    I know Tuevo will be in Europe… but he is better than ANY PROSPECT we have… and would be awesome w/ a Toews, Hoss, Sharp, Stalberg… he is soooo smart! Awesome I.Q. on powerplay! Can’t wait for him to get here!

  6. Tab Bamford says:

    smitty – I know Kypreos tweeted about there being buyout options over the next two summers, but my sources seem to think it’ll be just a max of 2 buyouts this summer. One & done. That’s it. So, with that in mind, you buy out two guys you can’t trade who have enough time left on their deals that it makes sense to dump them.

    I wouldn’t buy out Hossa because his cap number is only going to look more appealing as the years pass, and he’s one of the best two-way forwards in the game. Worst case you trade Hossa, but not a buyout. Use the buyouts for dead weight that can be replaced internally, which is why I’m looking at Oduya & Montador. I don’t see either of them having a lot of value on the trade market and they both have two seasons left after this. Combined, they’re roughly $6M of wasted space that could be replaced.

    Let’s also keep an eye on potential trade value coming up as well. The Hawks have good depth in the system that could be tempting to a few teams… and could take advantage of teams that are at/over the cap. If the Hawks can pick up a stud that’s accompanied by a dead weight contract. Basically, the deal brought Olesz to town is going to become commonplace over the next 8 months. Just look at the crap that was thrown around in the NBA when they allowed amnesty.

  7. Brad Stevenson says:

    Tab, it was my understanding as well that the 2 buyouts could be used through 2014. If that is the case, then Hossa should be the 2nd one after next year…Tevo will definitely be here by then, he is simply too good not to be.

    Excellent posts and ideas by everyone, so thanks for sharing…DMAN, here are my thoughts to your list…

    1. KRUGER is someone who is probably better suited for 3rd line.

    I agree…I was VERY impressed by Kruger’s play and attitude in Rockford, but his game will likely never match the 2nd line role…

    2. BOLLAND may be odd man out due to the crazy contract he signed $3.5 Mil cap hit is simply too much for what he brings. He is worth $2-2.5 only. He is a great team guy, much like Andrew Ladd, but in the new world, you can’t keep everyone.

    His price tag isn’t as bad as you think, but for a 3rd line centre, and on the STs, he just doesn’t win enough face-offs…this alone is cause to move him…I vote via a trade.

    3. LEDDY should be traded for a #2 center. Not that he isn’t valuable, but with the cap concerns, he is someone who has up side and value to other teams. Furthermore, I thought Adam Clendening is equally if not more important to the future, than Leddy.

    Again, agree…I would like to keep Leddy, but if his contract situation isn’t amicably resolved, Clendening looks like he will be ready to replace him after this season.

    4. BEN SMITH is back. He isn’t flashy, but he has good hockey sense and easily replaces Frolik. He could provide the team role that we lost with Ladd and possibly with Bolland.

    Absolutely agree…he has been the best Ice Hog, and down right outstanding…he has earned his right with the big club IMO…he will be a good NHLer for a while.

    4. FROLIK should be let go. Great heart but just can’t seem to put it together. His cap hit is approximately $2.5. Use this money to lock up Stalhberg this summer. You simply can’t teach speed. I was willing to give up on Victor, but once he changed sticks, he was far more consistent, and reminded me of a “Sharp-Like” player.

    I understand what Bowman “saw”, but as you said, it just isn’t there anymore…see ya…

    5. SHAW is mudder. He isn’t flashy but will fit in like Burrish.

    I think you are under valuing Shaw, he is MUCH MORE than a 4th line mudder…he has a real skill set to go with his toughness…I see him continuing to play a big role on this team! May turn out to be one of the best draft steals in Hawks history!

    6. SAAD isn’t ready. He has it, but will need more time adjusting.

    He’s starting to come around, but Ben Smith is simply better in EVERY aspect of their respective games…give him this season to get better and then next year I think he can contribute…

    7. BEACH is another Jack Skille.

    No, I still think there is legit game in his play…I think that next season he will make the big squad as a 4th line player…he’s had 2 good seasons in Rockford in a row, albeit last year was cut short…

    8. BOLLIG is starting to find his offensive touch. He serves a better role. He isn’t Big John during fights, but more than the necessary muscle.

    You are right…Bollig has some speed and skill to go with his size and toughness…I like him…plus he has a NASTY shot…he should shoot a lot more…

    9. OLSON: Let him finish his year in Rockford. I was impressed with his 3rd period against Milwaukee and his ability to block shots. He needs to work on his consistency. He will be on the roster next year.

    Absolutely…he is starting to show signs in Rockford, but it is too little too late for this season…I really hope he will pan out…

    10. MAYER: One and done.

    I honestly don’t think he should make the roster this season…he is taking a valuable spot away from someone in house who can play this role and gain valuable experience…

    11. CARCILLO: One and done, unless he eliminates his stupid mental lapses and plays the team game.

    Bizarre resigning in my opinion…I haven’t heard a thing about his recovery, but I am not a big fan of him making the final roster…I would much rather see kids take his spot (Hayes, Smith, Shaw)

    12. MORIN: will be a career AHL’er. In baseball they call these guy’s 4-A players. Not quite good enough for the show.

    Respectfully disagree…I have watched a lot of Rockford this season and Morin has game…in fact, as he continues to get stronger, I really see a strong power forward type emerging…I think he makes the big team next year…he can score and hit!

    13. HAYES: He has the tools but needs to be given a role. I can’t help but think he could fill the role of in front of the net. He has good hands but is a little slow to get going. In front of the net, he could be a huge need.

    Love this kid…he just needs someone to push him game in and game out…he is a smart player, with some skill, plus he is an unmove-able object in front of the net…IMO, we simply CANNOT afford to keep him off the NHL roster this season…he is going to be a good NHLer…its another very good move by Bowman to acquire him.

    14. PIRRI: He continues to surprise me. He could be the guy. I would like to see him get a chance. He skates well, and understands both sides of the game. If he fails, he is another career AHL’er.

    I am not sure what to think…I like Pirri as he is a good 2 way player, but I just don’t know…I hope he gets a shot in camp next year, which will be his “make or break” as a member of this organization…

  8. Tab Bamford says:

    I have heard one and two years on the buyouts. Even if you can use them into the summer of 2014, I still don’t buy out Hossa. We aren’t talking about Lecavalier’s cap number of nearly $8M for another decade here… Hossa’s cap # is $5.275M. The fact that Teravainen will be ready in a year or two simply means other guys (Bolland) will be able to walk when their deals are done. Again, I would use the amnesty on dead weight that isn’t likely to be traded, not on a good player the team can afford.

  9. Gou says:

    You have to keep Hossa. His price will be right down the road and he brings intangibles that don’t show up on the scoresheet. He can play in any situation.. He reminds me of Larinov. Just a dog-gone smart hockey player.

    Watched several Icehog games. Smith and Shaw looked real good. They both have a nose for the net and are good muckin it up.

    My real question is in the cage. Just not sold on Emery or Crawford to take us to the mountain.

    Surprisingly, Carcillo has some nice hands as he showed that before he got hurt. He just has to stay away from stupid.

  10. Morrison says:

    2014

    Sharp-Toews-Kane
    Saad-Teuvo-Hossa
    Smith-Bolland-Shaw
    Beach-Danault-Hayes
    Morin

    Keith-Seabrook
    FA-Rozy
    Hjam-Clendening

  11. BHawk78 says:

    Tab,

    Totally agree with you that Montador will and should be one of the buyouts however if Oduya is the other then Bowman should probably be axed as well. Buying him out after signing him to a 3 year deal this Summer when other more attractive d-men were on the market will look like another bad Stan move. He’s probably already on notice after back to back 1st round playoff losses and let’s be honest, he’s not very popular amongst most Hawks fans anyways. FWIW I think the buyouts will be Monty and Olesz. Olesz still has 1 year left after this and with the new CBA rules even if he plays in the “A”, he’ll count against the cap.

  12. Dickie Dunn says:

    It seems I’m alone, but I like Oduya. I don’t believe he can be judged (entirely) on his (lack of) effectiveness in the Phoenix series. It would have to be something REALLY good in return to trade Leddy (- the contract situation could be worked-out and I believe there is a LOT of upside). I like Bollig and Smith – I haven’t seen any Rockford games, but I’m glad to hear they’re playing well. Also, I like Stalberg – agree with Brad “can’t teach speed” and Wall “getting better”…at times last season he looked like he was putting it together. Hopefully, Crawford just had a bad year (“sophomore jinx” or whatever) and he’s really the goaltender we saw vs Vancouver in the 2011 postseason. “Game On”?

  13. wall says:

    Re: 2014 line up-

    I would like to see Tuevo w/ Stalberg-Hossa (which would allow Toews-Kane-Sharp)- where Kane would be at his best…

    To me Tuevo has the patience and I.Q. of Hossa and the hands of Kane! And actually a better shot than both! (of course time will tell). Stalberg would benefit greatly from two guys who can see the game as fast as he can skate.

    Hammer- should be sent packing- Zero offense, weak getting puck out, Only thing he excels at is blocking shots. Olsen, Dahlback- can replace…
    Monty- has never been ok (dizzy and concussed from day 1)

    Bolland- is worth the contract IMO- luxury to have him on 3rd line- but I could see Hawks letting him go and trying to fill w/ Kruger (who is really a smart, hard working player… but not as gifted as Bolland!)

    Hayes, Shaw, proved they could play- Smith deserves chance… but Mayers No!

    Frolik????? I like him! Even though he seems to have a big hole in his stick!!!

    Pirri and Morin… still don’t impress me.

    the sooner Mac Carruth or anyone replaces Crow the better!

  14. Jon Kottkamp says:

    I would like to know if the cap system is now changed. My understanding was that we are to use actual current year salary going forward. I never heard or read anything that stated the league let that go in the negotiation, which also would make you concerned as to why the owners (or Bettman/Daly) would want to die on that hill for contract length and varience. Using the actual salary in my opinion takes care of that for the most part, so why do I still see all these blogs using the old cap hit #s like on Hossa @ $5.275m when he is going to be at I believe $7.9m this year according to capgeek.com . Did I miss something ?

  15. jeff says:

    As long as Kruger isn’t our 2nd line center this year, I’m liking our chances!

  16. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Seen a lot of the IceHogs. Following is my assessment.
    1. KRUGER has been disappointing in Rockford. To the point where he needs to spend more time in the AHL before he is ready for a real NHL role.
    2. LEDDY is overrated and replaceable. He is a tradeable asset that I think Bowman will trade next offseason. I agree that Clendening is equally if not more important to the future, than Leddy.
    4. BEN SMITH is back is not NHL material. He’s a shuttle guy. Nothing more.
    5. SHAW has consistently been the most vital producer in Rockford. It says a lot given his limited skill set. He will be up with the big club.
    6. SAAD isn’t ready. He has it, but will need more time adjusting.
    7. BEACH sucks shit. Time to mercifully pull the plug on this failed experiment. He has made my eyes bleed watchiing him play at BMO Harris Arena. He is not remotely good enough to be in the NHL. Even on a bad team. Scathing in my critique.
    8. BOLLIG is a goon. That’s all he is. In his audition with the Hawks last year he played surprisingly well, but way over his head if his Rockford experience is a good indicator. He’ll be on the Hawks’ roster out of necessity.
    9. OLSON: Disappointed with his Rockford performance. Nothing really stands out, other than the fact that Clendening has a WAY bigger NHL future.
    10. MORIN: will be a career AHL’er. He’ll keep Ben Smith company.
    12. HAYES: Haven’t seen much from Jimmy, despite my big support. I’m guilty of overrating his potential. Honesty compels me to say he is probably 4th line material. Too slow, too reactive. Curt Frasor without the red hair and grit.
    13. PIRRI: He has a future, but he isn’t ready. Not a star by any stretch, but he will be serviceable and/or decent trade bait
    14. CLEDENING: Absolutely friggin love the kid. Blown away by his presence on the ice in fact. He gets “it” and is bursting with talent. He’s not ready, but when he is then he becomes an instant 2nd pairing type. He also makes Leddy expendable. But he has a different package of skills versus strict Leddy comparison. Did I mention that I LOVE this kid?

  17. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Here’s the problem with I have for the Hawks this abbreviated season. Corey Crawford ain’t good enough. He just isn’t. Especially in a 50 game balls to the wall streak to make the playoffs. Ray Emery is on this roster for reasons that I find dumbfounding. He’s not a good enough # 2 if you are going to say Crawford is your # 1. And hence my indigestion about the Hawks’ chances in 2013.

  18. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Two buyouts? Very easy for me to answer. Steve Montador and Johnny Oduya. I really like Stan Bowman, but he fucked up royally on the Oduya deal. Especially with the cap being cut by nearly $5 M next season Oduya is a cinch to be gone. Montador is a pile of suck and is gone, gone, gone. Olesz? The deal will unwind itself not to worry terribly.

  19. SouthSideHawkMan117 says:

    I’m still waiting for Bowman to put together a legit Stanley cup contender(one the can win in the playoffs). When I look at the 2013 Hawks roster I see an awful lot of questions marks next to established Tallon players. I didnt like the Oduya move, I liked the Montador move on paper but not the contract and certainly not the results from last season. I like Nick Leddy but not nearly as much as Stan. I’m dumbfounded on the lack of value on a 2nd line center. I’m also still wating on that stay @ home d-man and plenty killer. Kelly Bookbank isnt him

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