NHL Central Division Player Movement Update II

In the wake of Nashville matching Shea Weber’s offer sheet and Columbus trading their captain, Rick Nash, to the Rangers, it’s worth looking at the landscape surrounding the Blackhawks in the Central Division as the summer continues.

Here’s an updated look at the player movement around the division.

Detroit Red Wings

  • ADDITIONS
    G Jonas Gustavsson – 2 years, $3.0M ($1.5M cap)
    F Mikael Samuelsson – 2 years, $6.0M ($3.0M cap)
    F Jordin Tootoo – 3 years, $5.7M ($1.9M cap)
    D Kyle Quincey* – 2 years, $7.55M ($3.775M cap)
  • TRADES
    acquired F Andrew Murray from San Jose for D Brad Stuart
  • LOSSES
    D Nicklas Lidstrom - to retirement
    F Jiri Hudler – to Calgary

Nashville Predators

  • ADDITIONS
    F Paul Gaustad* – 4 years, $13.0M ($3.25M cap)
    D Hal Gill* – 2 years, $4.0M ($2.0M cap)
    G Chris Mason – 1 year, $1.25M
    F Brandon Yip* – 1 year, $750k
    F Sergei Kostitsyn* – 2 years, $6.0M ($3.0M cap)
    F Colin Wilson* – 3 years, $6.0M ($2.0M cap)
    D Shea Weber* – 14 years, $110M ($7.857M cap)
  • TRADES
    acquired G Sebastien Caron & two 2nd round picks from Tampa Bay for G Anders Lindback, F Kyle Wilson and a 7th round pick
  • LOSSES
    D Ryan Suter – to Minnesota
    F Jordin Tootoo – to Detroit
    D Francis Bouillon – to Montreal

St. Louis Blues

  • ADDITIONS
    D Barret Jackman* – 3 years, $9.5M ($3.167M cap)
    F Jamie Langenbrunner* – 1 year, $1.5M
    F TJ Oshie* – 5 years, $20.875M ($4.175M cap)
  • TRADES
    Acquired 4th round picks in 2013 and 2014 from Tampa Bay for F BJ Crombeen and a 5th round pick in 2014.

Columbus Blue Jackets

  • ADDITIONS
    D Adrian Aucoin – 1 year, $2.0M
    F Derek MacKenzie* – 2 years, $2.0M ($1.0M cap)
    G Curtis McElhinney* – n/a
  • TRADE
    acquired G Sergei Bobrovsky from Philadelphia for three draft picks
    acquired F Nick Foligno from Ottawa for D Marc Methot
    signed Foligno – 3 years, $9.25M ($3.083M cap)

    acquired F Brandon Dubinsky, F Artem Anisimov, D Tim Erixon and a 1st round pick in 2013 from the NY Rangers for F Rick Nash, D Steve Delisle and a conditional 3rd round pick.

* = returning free agent

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26 Responses to NHL Central Division Player Movement Update II

  1. Dickie Dunn says:

    …as it stands today, I think the Hawks have a legitimate chance at first in the division. (Injuries, future transactions, or lockout not considered…)

  2. ratboy36 says:

    Blue Jackets should be interesting,Detroit will be fun to watch miss the playoffs.St Louis seem to be the only team to fear.And we handle them pretty well

  3. Reggie Dunlop's Leisure Suit says:

    Not sure how you think we handle the Blues well. I remember us being on th wrong end of some terrible losses to them.

  4. Mickey Slapshot says:

    Actually the ‘Hawks took the season’s series from screwy St. Looie last year. The brutal Blues will be tough but it is to be seen if they mature and improve or if others besides the ‘Hawks have figured them out. The L.A. Kings certainly demonstrated how to handle them. 1 – stand up to the Blues bullying without being too drawn in. 2 – out skill them, they’re mostly a gang of drooling goons This isn’t the Bruins who are very skilled goons. Their animal trainer/coach, Hitchcock (a fine coach) may have less success with the Blues this year.

  5. Will says:

    It seems like almost every year people say the Blue Jackets are gonna be good, or at least better that season. But then the season starts, and they do exactly what the Jackets have always done, lose. Until they actually prove that they can win, they are gonna guarentee us AT LEAST 5 wins a season. One of the few perks of being in the Central.

  6. ratboy36 says:

    Reggie Hawks took the Blues games games 4-2 last season.Grant it I think one was an OT win but whatever a wins a win.Blues play a hard game but what I’m banking on is the Hawks might be better since there all the same from last season mostly.No need for chemistry etc.Geling as they say.Crawford has a good season we might all sing a DIFFRENT tune

  7. Zesty_N says:

    Didn’t Alexander Radulov go back to the KHL also?

  8. Tab Bamford says:

    Yes, Radulov did go back to Russia. But he was w/ the Preds for such a short – and unimpressive – amount of time, it’s hard to say they’re losing something with him departing. B

  9. Tim G says:

    The Hawks definatly are in a catbird seat. We should finish no worse than second in the division, and with the addition one defender i think we will be primed to be a leader in the West.

    The offense has never been the issue, especially when healthy. People want a 2C, but when you have 2 of Kane/Hossa/Sharp on the second line, does it really matter who else is there? The issue is we dont have the Depth at C do deal with an injury like the Toews injury when only 1 of the three is on that line. Not to mention if Saad has staying power. Dealing Hammer/some propects/Picks for a high end Defender could be the ticket.

    If we can put Keith/Seabs on the top D line, with Leddy/a 1st line talent, and Olsen/Oduya/Brookbank rotating the 3rd line, I think we will be fine. Last I checked Cody Franson hadn’t re-upped with Toronto. he could be nice fit for the 2nd line. he is a RFA, so we would have to give up picks to sign him out right, or if they wil trade his rights i dont know what it would take. or if we make an in year trade, Mark Streit will have an expiring contract and the Islanders should be the bottom of that division again. Streit can be a leader in the locker room, on the ice, and bring great expirience. Not sure if NY would want to part with him, but he is older, so it might be fisable.

  10. Dickie Dunn says:

    I already miss Sarah Kustok….

  11. wall says:

    she is way hotter in person too!

  12. Dickie Dunn says:

    What if the Blues overachieved last season? Whatever “magick” Hitchcock conjured up has a limited shelf life? (That seems to fit his career…) Maybe Halak and Elliott had (fluke) “career years”? (15 shutouts and .940 & .926 SV% — quite possibly could be hard to repeat)

    “The Hawks are in the catbird seat” *might* be SO true. Possible if any of the “talk” at the convention translates to a dedication to consistent effort and injuries don’t kill ‘em. (I choose “Half-FULL”…it’s going to be a great year. The Bears, too, but that’s probably better suited to a different blog…)

  13. Ryan says:

    I know we haven’t made the alleged big splash in Free Agency. However, could adding Doan and either Daymond Langkow or Jason Arnott be just as good? For this team that would be a big splash cause we don’t have as many holes.

    If Doan is asking for the 7 mill I have seen reported then his price may be a little much. If that is the case, I’d still like to see us add Langkow or Arnott for a couple years. Honestly I know some may freak out on me but Langkow or Arnott may be more important to this team than an addition of Doan. We would still have Stalberg and Saad to fight for the other top 6 spot, but we need a 2nd liner that can win face offs

  14. Dickie Dunn says:

    Ryan – I agree…if Doan is asking for $7 million it’s MORE than a little much (- good luck with Phoenix). In my opinion (and that’s all it is…no delusions), Langkow and Arnott would not be an upgrade – I believe Kane is a right wing, not a center – there is better talent signed/on the roster. I think Doan would be a GREAT addition – possibly adding the skill/”intangibles” Andrew Ladd contributed in 2010, but he’s not a $7 million player.

  15. Ryan says:

    Dickie I think Jason Arnott would be a perfect number 2 Center for us. He won a little over 50% of his faceoffs last year and scored 34 points. I imagine with the talent we would put on the 2nd line with Arnott he would probably have more points than the 34 he had in Stl. last year.

  16. Dickie Dunn says:

    Ryan, you might be right? Sometimes they bring a guy in (for one season) to fill a specific need and it works well – John Madden. Or, sometimes it turns out more like Andrew Brunette.

    It would help with the faceoffs problem, but I’d rather see Shane Doan on the team.

  17. Dickie Dunn says:

    Ryan – that should read: “would NOT help with the faceoffs problem”.

  18. Ryan says:

    Dickie what are u talking about? Toews was the only player on our team that won over 50% at 59. Kruger was at 45.9% and he took about 130 fewer faceoffs than Arnott who was at 50.3%. Arnott definately improves the faceoff problem and he has tons of experience to boot.

  19. Tab Bamford says:

    To those all over the idea of Jason Arnott “fixing the faceoff problem” for the Hawks…

    Jason Arnott isn’t a second line center. He’s a third line center. And the Blackhawks don’t need that.

    He took only 769 total faceoffs last year. Ryan’s right when he points out that he won 50.3% of those, and took 130 more draws than Kruger. But Kruger & Kane split over 1,100 faceoffs, mostly as the second line center last year. A full-time replacement would have to be able to take over 1,000 faceoffs and continue winning over 50% of those. The last time Arnott took over 1,000 faceoffs in a season was in Nashville in 2009-10, when he won 48.8% of 1,077 draws; last year between New Jersey & Washington, he took 894 and won 50.2%.

    The other concern with trying to make Arnott into a second line center is the ice time requirements of a 2C. Last year, Arnott averaged only 14:05 on the ice per night. The year before (again split between Jersey & Washington), he averaged 15:31. Kruger skated comparable minutes last year for the Hawks (15:23).

    Is Anott a good player? Sure. Does he win faceoffs? Sure. But bringing in a 38-year-old (which he will be on Oct. 11) and trying to force him into a top-six role SCREAMS Andrew Brunette 2.0 to me. You can’t force a square peg into a round hole, folks. And Arnott’s trends make him more attractive as a 3C at this stage in his career than a 2C.

    If we’re looking for a fix at the dot, perhaps Quenneville should consider being a little more creative with ways to get Mayers and his 56% to the dot more often, especially in the defensive zone. He found ways to get John Madden on the ice for every defensive zone draw Toews didn’t take in the 2010 postseason; maybe he should use Mayers in a similar fashion.

  20. Dickie Dunn says:

    Ryan, to clarify (my miscommunication) – What I was talking about, “Sometimes they bring a guy (Arnott, for example?) in (for one season) to fill a specific need and it works well – John Madden. Or, sometimes it turns out more like Andrew Brunette.” and “It would not help with the faceoffs problem, but I’d rather see Shane Doan on the team.”.

    I like Kruger (I said this before) and I hope he gets a real opportunity to center the second line. Also, I don’t believe the Hawks *must* make any moves – it’s no disaster opening the season with their current roster.

    Tab makes a very good point about getting Mayers (or whoever else is effective) on the ice for critical faceoff situations.

  21. Tab Bamford says:

    Further backing of my doubts re: Arnott:

    Three Blues took more faceoffs than Arnott after the all-star break, and he won 49% of only 222 faceoffs post-Break. By comparison, Kruger won 46% of 326 faceoffs after the Break. Also, Arnott’s ice time dropped to barely 13 minutes per game after the Break, and he posted 10 points (5 G, 5 A) in 24 games down the stretch.

    Like I said… those are #s of a 3C, not a 2C. Sorry folks.

  22. Ryan says:

    Thanks Tab and Dickie.

    Is sticking with Kruger and maybe more faceoffs for Mayers on 2nd line, better than getting Arnott for 3rd line and elevating Bolland to 2nd line?

    I am just asking. Cause at this point only Arnott and Langkow (who I really don’t want) are options in FA left.. Unless they made a trade there really isn’t anything.

  23. Dickie Dunn says:

    Ryan, I think Bolland has been very good-to-great as the “checking line” center. I’m not certain that he can transition into #2 center — maybe Tab will weigh-in on this. If he did center Hossa and Sharp (or which ever wings), who takes the checking assignment and can he be as effective as Bolland? In addition to playing defense, it seems that at times Bolland is pretty good at irritating – invaluable vs. select opponents. …tough skates to fill?

  24. Tab Bamford says:

    Bolland is the ideal 3C, which is why he’s stayed there. Which is also why the Hawks continue looking for a 2C.

    The organization is in a tough spot right now to fill that spot, too. Many in the organization want to keep running 88 out there as the 2C, which is why a physical RW like Doan makes sense (at the right price… which imo is no more than 3 years and $20M total). Others like the idea of Mark McNeil or Brandon Pirri getting a shot… which handcuffs the organization from signing a veteran for longer than one year (which is why the door remains open for someone like Arnott). There are centers coming up in the organization (finally), but there aren’t any ready NOW.

  25. Dickie Dunn says:

    Tab, no matter how the organ-EYE-zation spins it, Kane is a RW, correct? Do you think Kruger can be a #2 center this season? If the Hawks sign Doan (“3 years and $20M total” — sounds reasonable to me, but I ain’t Shane or his agent), could he play LW? Kane and Hossa playing on the first two lines and Doan is a “top six” forward.

    What do think of Viktor Stalberg? I really like his speed, and last season he seemed to have figured out how to use it (at least at times). Maybe he’s a “top six” forward (given the chance)?

    I haven’t seen McNeill or Denault play at all, and Pirri only in the couple of games he was called-up. You say they aren’t any ready NOW. That may be OK for now – the Hawks have a lot of players signed. It seems it also might be incentive for Bowman to try to move some “assets” (Pirri was an AHL AllStar?) who have little or no chance of playing in Chiacgo as part of a deal or for draft picks. Your take on that?

    (Again,) I chose “half-FULL” – I’m looking forward to a great season!!

  26. Tab Bamford says:

    re: the Kane-C idea… I am with you, Dickie, that Kane is (and should remain) a RW. But it does matter how the organ-EYE-zation spins it… if they want 80 games of 88 at 2C, they can force the issue. Do I think Kruger can be a 2C this year? That depends on what he’s done since April to get stronger and better at the dot. If he’s 185 lbs and winning 46% of his draws, then no. I have been of the opinion for 2 years that Kruger would eventually replace Bolland at 3C, but now he has some pressure to do even that w/ Danault looking like he could be a solid player in the same mold as well.

    re: Doan swapping positions – no. You don’t teach an old dog new tricks. Doan makes perfect sense if the org is going to force the issue w/ Kane at C. If Kane’s a RW, then they need to consider other options at 2C still.

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