What’s Next For Chicago Goaltending?

Catching up on the current state of goaltending in the Blackhawks organization is easy:

Corey Crawford started the 2017-18 season playing at a Vezina-caliber level. He had a .935 save percentage in October and followed that up with a .927 in November. With all of the glaring holes that were exposed in his absence, he finished the season with a 16-9-2 record, a 2.27 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.

Here’s the problem: he finished the season on Dec. 23.

Crawford leaving the lineup was the biggest contributing factor to the demise of the Blackhawks this season. With him turning 34 on New Year’s Eve, his long-term health is a significant concern moving forward. He has two more seasons on his current contract with a $6M cap hit. Shockingly, his deal also carries a modified no-trade clause as well.

In the wake of Crawford’s injury, the goaltending situation in Chicago was a shitshow.

The only moment of brief hope came from an accountant from the burbs who, unlike the Hawks, had a playoff game to be worried about a couple weeks after his moment in the sun. Scott Foster earned his #BlackhawksLegend status with a terrific relief performance against the Jets.

Here’s what the contract status situation looks like for the Blackhawks between the pipes moving forward:

  • Corey Crawford: $6M (thru 2019-20)
  • Anton Forsberg: $750,000 (thru 2018-19)
  • Collin Delia: $767,500 (thru 2018-19)
  • JF Berube: $700,000 (thru 2018-19)
  • Jeff Glass: UFA
  • Scott Foster: UFA

At least the Hawks’ mediocre depth is affordable?

The Blackhawks have drafted two goaltenders since 2013: Ivan Nalimov (6th round in 2014) and Wouter Peeters (3rd round in 2016).

Nalimov, 24, had an interesting year. With the financial struggles in the KHL, Nalimov terminated his contract with Admiral in December. As Scott Powers of The Athletic noted on Dec.21, Nalimov had been the KHL’s hottest goalies early in the season.

“[Nalimov is] second in the KHL with a .942 save percentage and has faced 265 more shots than the save percentage leader. Nalimov has stopped 532-of-565 shots this season,” wrote Powers.

Powers quoted Nalimov’s agent throughout the piece linked above, and he was firm that there was no way Nalimov was going to come to North American with the Hawks having a crowded goaltender situation.

Does that change with the organization’s need at the position?

On the other hand, the youngest

Peeters, who will turn 20 on July 31, is a big kid (6-4, 205). He opted to play in the USHL with Youngstown this season and performed reasonably well in his first season on North America. He’ll likely stay with Youngstown for another year before the organization has a conversation about the professional ranks.

So what happens if:

    • Crawford isn’t right again
    • Nalimov doesn’t want to come to North America yet
    • Peeters isn’t ready, and
    • the guys under contract clearly aren’t good enough?

No, really. What about free agency?

The top of the list of unrestricted free agents isn’t very sexy. Does Kari Lehtonen or Jaro Halak or Cam Ward of Ondrej Pavelec do anything for you? I guess we could all rally around the idea of  Jonathan Bernier, but his career has consistently been… inconsistent.

If we wander down the restricted free agent road, Petr Mrázek appears to have fallen out of favor in Detroit and might be a change of scenery candidate. Philipp Grubauer got a couple starts for Washington in the playoffs this spring and… nevermind.

We’ve talked about the Hawks’ forwards moving forward. Chicago looks pretty good up front.

We’ve talked about the Hawks’ blue line looking to the future. Chicago has questions, but a lot of skill coming.

The picture isn’t nearly as rosy between the pipes. If Crawford isn’t right, the Hawks will need to do something drastic this summer to fill an enormous hole.

 

 

57 thoughts on “What’s Next For Chicago Goaltending?

  1. I presume Crawford’s medical problem was a concussion-related injury. But I have not seen any detailed report as to what is actually the issue. Has anyone seen this?

    Which brings me to another beef I have with the NHL. How come every injury is described as either an “upper” or “lower body injury?” No details.

    This is not the case with other major professional sports. For example, when Derrick Rose injured his knees there were detailed medical reports as to the extent of the injuries. I recall participating in Bulls’ message boards and blogs where there were numerous opinions provided on the extent of his injuries and his prospects for his full recovery. These were all based on the details released on his ACL or meniscus injuries. What gives with the NHL?

  2. McDonough, Bowman and Q all said Crawford would be fine for next year, just wonder why Crawford isn’t telling the media that too. I had hoped he would have been available after season to offer his reassurance.

  3. There does seem to be a bit of mystery and lack of details concerning Crawford’s condition.

    However, Reg, in basketball the other players aren’t travelling over 20 mph with a stick that can be used as a weapon to test how ‘healed’ your injury is. Targeting injuries of opposing players for physical punishment is a long standing tradition in the NHL and part of the reason teams try to hide injuries as much as they can or be as non-specific as possible.

  4. This is the huge gaping hole in the Hawks “contender vs rebuild” status right here in the blue paint. Crow is 34 yrs old and his mysterious “upper body injury” is extremely concerning. For the last few seasons, the Hawks were able to dive into the scrap heap and “find a goalie” Emery, Raanta, Darling and it worked. It worked because the team was good. The players around the goalie were good. They aren’t that good anymore. What SB did before isn’t going to work because of the roster isn’t as skilled. This is a continuing theme for Mr. Bowman, finding solutions outside of what he did in the past. The last time SB brought in a goalie was an Epic failure-Sub .900 SV% Marty Turco. Prior to that Dale made a worse signing in Christobal “loaned to another team” Huet. Not exactly the track record of an Org that knows goalie talent.

    Petr Mrázek appears to have fallen out of favor in Detroit and subsequently got traded to Philadelphia where he is back on the bench. There are worse options than him but at 4 million a year No. If you can sign him for 2 million a yr prove it deal maybe then.

    If I am SB I make a RFA offer to Philipp Grubauer and sacrifice a 3rd round pick thats a 1.9 million dollar offer. He is not the savior but at minimum is a young proven NHL backup. These other guys just suck; Forsberg and company all belong in RFD. Just like the blue line no quick fixes here either, which is why this just smells of multi-year rebuild and tear down.

  5. Ian I agree about him not saying anything- even if you let people know your committed to returning when healthy (the no visibility only leads to more rumours)
    Oh well, hope he’s OK.

  6. re: SSHM’s Grubauer thought – why sacrifice a pick via offer sheet when you have assets to work with and they’re looking at likely needing to replace John Carlson. Think they’d take Forsling + Forsberg + the rights to Duclair for him?

  7. Through not even all the Game 3’s yet of the 1st Round, we have seen goaltending is the key, it is vital, the lifeline of all teams. If your goalie doesn’t play well, good night Irene. You are toast.

    Tab’s list looks like spoiled bread (other than Crawford).

  8. If Caps go for that, be worth it but depends on what value they put on him.
    Anton Kudobin could be option too, he had a decent year in Boston backing up Rask.

  9. Sign Hellebuyck to an offer sheet? Cap Hit: $2,250,000 — how much would it take/what would Winnipeg pay to match? (Just a thought…)

  10. Duckie Dunn the qualifying offer would have to be between 4-5.8m and cost them their own 1st and 3rd round picks. Without their own 2nd rounder they can’t offer over 5.8m or between 2- 4m basically, according to cap friendly. Rfa s rarely move that way so not sure if they’d go that route or not.

  11. Not only is it a dangerous move, but there is probably another reason why it doesn’t happen much-GMs and assistant GMs want to work in the industry long term.
    If it’s to hurt another team you piss people off, and if it works you further damage the rebuild.
    (this move would also say Crow is done)

  12. SSHM- agreed… Great teams in past- made Emery/Darling/Niemi look a lot better

    Tab- while I like a lot of the “speed/skill” guys, and their ages – Forwards- Kane/8/D-cat/Kampf/Saad/Sikura/Hino… This group is MISSING SIZE…

    Size to Cycle
    Size to win Board battles
    Size to win /battle in front of net (and will – see A. Shaw)…
    SIZE- to win/Exit D zone… and Take hit on boards in D zone…

    The “exit D zone” size/skill is GREATLY missed.. this was very evident watching
    Sikura play last few games… the Kid did it with skill/IQ – quick , easily, making Hawks faster…

    Jets- do it with Forward/size and speed

    Hawks- Forwards- are lacking there-imo

    we Know the D sucks (mostly # 5/6 D men)
    we Know Goalies suck (back-ups)

    But- the Team D and lack of Forward (size/speed combo) as constructed…
    NO Goalie- will really make difference/save day.

    Can Hawks- find a couple of Forwards (in $2-3.5M range) with Both Size/Speed- to chip in 12-17 goals… like a Ladd/Bickell/Frolik… Hawks had these guys- and won- BEFORE- they signed there BIG $$$ deals… tough Job for SB and Hawks to find/draft these types???

    Martinsen? I like all he brings… only question- can he score the 12-17 goals?
    Hayden- same as above
    Kampf- I like
    Ejdsell– don’t know if skating is there??

  13. @ Tab

    Interesting concept, I hadn’t really thought about trading for the rights of Grubauer. The problem is Washington is right up against the cap so whoever the Hawks would send back would need to be a cost controlled player. Forsling sure, but I’m not sure DuClair would be desirable for them. Blake Hillman or Osterle might have more value to the Caps. I wouldn’t mind the Hawks parting with several of their younger D prospects because I don’t think any of them are building block type players.

    Anton Kudobin or Cam Ward aren’t bad options but they are older and are going to cost more and aren’t long-term fixes. I have a feeling Bernier resigns with the Avs the longer he keeps them in the series with Nashville. At least with Grubauer, it feels like he can provide some upside. Clearly, there is no one in the pipeline ready to be an NHL backup or eventual starter.

  14. The Caps have 17 roster players signed for next season and have just under 65m committed to them. If Carlson signs for 8m/yr., that ‘s 73m with 18 signed. There is speculation that they will buyout the last year of Orpiks contract and save 3m. That would be 70m with 6 spots to fill. If the cap goes up only to 78 or 79, resigning Grabaur may come down to how bad they want to upgrade their defense behind the big 3 of Carlson, Orlov and Vistanen, which they likely want to do.

  15. re: Wall’s comments about size – if you have 2-3 guys in your bottom six who can score 15-18 goals you’re alright. If Hayden & Ejdsell can do that, terrific. Also, let’s keep in mind that under the current roster format Anisimov is a 3rd line center, and he should be a 20-goal guy if utilized right.

    I did laugh when you talked about adding “size, speed + chip in 12-17 goals” and then named Frolik, who scored 11 in 3 seasons in Chicago and despite his 6-1, 190 frame was never considered a “big, physical” guy like you’re advocating w/ Ladd/Bickell.

  16. re: Dickie Dunn’s idea of an offer sheet for Hellebuyck – if you’re going to do it, $2.25M isn’t big enough. Winnipeg is going to have to pay him more than that already. It would need to be comparable to Hjalmarsson’s offer sheet ($4M+ for 3-5 years) and that’s something that’s hard to mitigate w/ Crawford’s contract + unknown future. The Hawks had a $4M backup in Darling and couldn’t afford to keep him.

  17. My Hellebuyck thought/suggestion was only if Crawford is done – age and recent injury prone. I mentioned the current cap hit as reference to speculate what (obviously more) it might take to lure him. If Delia or Peeters are candidates to develop into legitimate #1 goaltenders, it probably won’t be in the next couple of years. Their own first round pick this season is prime, but that could weighed against possible success without someone with Crawford-like ability in goal.

  18. Tab– let me rephrase…. those guys w/ Size/skill/speed in Bottom 6 – are CAPABLE of scoring that and more (when skating top 6 — (Like ladd/Frolik)) yet- are also capable of playing bottom 6… and grinding/cycling/etc. (Bickell/Frolik’s)…

    Frolik- was a capable scoring threat – when utilized on other team’s…

    and if u don’t think he is a Great- Utility player- or able to Muck on boards/Physical..
    I strongly disagree… He was NOT a hitter… but very capable/strong skater/board mucker

    Hey- Kruger has no size… BUT super capable/willing to fight on boards- to make plays… back in the day… and very quick/agile skater

    to Clarify- They need forwards- who can play strong on boards and skate–
    mixed in with the Smurfs/that are skilled/quick… if they score – has alot to do with how they are utilized.

    I would be happy with Martinsen scoring 5 goals on 4th line…
    but if he skates on 2nd line- 15 minutes… I am going to need 17-20 goals… can he do that???

    I say- Frolik/Bickell (before $4M contract/MS issues)/Ladd could all do that

  19. I think Frolik was a terrific role player here, Wall. And I agree that the Frolik/Kruger role is a significant void. I like what I’ve seen from Kampf and Hinostroza in that regard, but agree the Hawks need more…. grit… guys who are a pain in the ass to play against. That said, I think there are guys coming to fill those roles.

  20. Wall and Tab…….good points about size and board battles. My thought process was that the Hawks were never going to “bury” the opposition with body checks, but they needed to win more board battles. Sometimes it takes more heart than it does size to win a board battle.

    I think the Hawks know that and, like you said Tab, those guys are on the way. We hope.

  21. Tab-

    who do you see as those guys?

    I only see Soderlund as that “Shaw” type… I don’t see anyone at Rockford right now like that… Size or WILL w/ + skating (like Frolik /Kuger/Shaw)…

    I haven’t seen enough of Barratt- so-idk

    kinda – why I see that as a need- that SB Hawks can maybe fill 2-3 slots for under $3M… BUT- still need to spend on top 3 D + find legit Backup Goalie (or better-pending Crow’s status)

  22. It would be nice if Stan could ID a bigger player who also has skill, perhaps someone like Evander Kane? The Hawks have to have one of the smaller rosters in the NHL.

    As for Hellebuyck, No it’s not a smart move to spend all those resources and money to bring him over from Winnipeg. Besides, let’s see how Winnipeg finishes. They have an awfully talented team around him. I guess what I’m saying is I’m not sold on him for what they would need to give up to acquire him and Crow is still here after all.

  23. Wall alot of how the bottom 6 looks is going to depend on if Sikura gets 3rd line time to adapt like Debrincat. Also how useful Ejdsell and Kahun if he signs will be. That will probably play a big part in AA s role next year or if he still around. I would have no problem from the point of being more physicsl in resigning Wingels. He can give you depth at both wing and center as interim basis without hurting you too bad. He score some but not alot and showed he is capable in the crunch as well.

  24. Although the chatter is quiet on if on Soderlund is going to being in Chicago next year, he seems to be doing good in his teans playoff run. There was a comment made that he always comes through in big situations.

  25. I wouldn’t offer sheet any goalie. Just not worth it.

    Of the goalies mentioned I’d go for Cam Ward. Yes, he’s around 34 and his prime years are behind him but he has a pedigree and respect. He also knows the number one goalie so if Crawford does go out he woildnt be overwhelmed like the goalies that filled in this year.

    I do agree with the suggestion of using assets to acquire a goalie but I doubt Mr Bowman is ready to part with Forsling. (I personally have my doubts aboot Forsling but given the defense situation, I do think we have to give him one more crack.)

  26. good comments about forwards with some grit to win those 50/50 pucks which the Hawks seem too often to be on the losing side of

    Looking back the 2010 we had Buff, Hossa, Ladd, Brouwer, Bolland, Eager, Madden, Burish plus Toews in his physical prime – that’s a whole lot of grit among just the forwards

    I haven’t really looked closely at the available UFA forwards but James Neal is interesting to me at a reasonable price of course because of these exact reasons

  27. IF Crawford doesn’t return at (or very near) 100%, and you hope for a serious Cup run while Toews, Keith, and (possibly?) Seabrook still have a pulse (- this depends on whether two or three of them can actually rebound to acceptable form…and, include Saad with them, except for the “still have a pulse”), Cam Ward or any other second tier journeyman is not going to do it. (I believe it was Tony Esposito, while departing, who said, “You will never win anything with two back-up goalies”…)

  28. …Oh, and let the record reflect that I would have to seriously consider whether of not I could move a first round pick with a chance to be #1 overall, and actually a pretty good chance at #2 or #3 for ANYTHING. Especially since the Hawks have not been drafting anywhere near that early for several years.

  29. Serious cup run ??? are you serious Dickie ? 2018 -19 will identical to this underwhelming season .The majority of our forwards are so green and unproven Q has no choice but play the revolving door blender game again. Our D are so old and tired or so overpowered outmatched , untalented and unskilled that bringing in a u.f.a. or 2 in either position will be well ,.,.,pointless . The Hawks management has not kept up with the times .

    We are in for a 2 -3 year rebuild , by then you know who will be real slow and worn out,.,.,yeah OUR CORE .lets draft a goalie ,some big Canadian D boys , hope Crow is o.k ,what was the play where he was injured ?

    Carry on Hawks .

  30. I am not against the Hawks landing one of the top forwards in the draft, especially if they move up to the 2-4 spots.

    Talented wingers with or without size is not something we have in the system right now either, as much as we need a top flight defenseman, gotta take the best player available.

    We do have numbers on the young defensmen coming, and maybe one or two of them develops into legit top 4.

    We need high end talent regardless of position.

  31. I say get the best player you can and if it makes sense move up for a forward. But whoever is drafted is likely a year away.

    If Hossa is preseason ltir this year they can go to 84m range heading into season. Why not look at Acquiring a winger like Mike Hoffman who may be available, he could fit into top 6 right off and allow Sikura time to become a top 6 forward. Hoffmans contract runs out in 2020 to co-incide with Debrincats next contract and expansion draft. Sikura could play 3rd line with Hino on other wing and AA or if Ejdsell looks like he can handle that, move AA. That would still leave room to acquire a mid range salaried dman and goalie help, although probably want one if them to come off the books again next year.

  32. Personally i feel that the goalie situation will be a reliable not overly expensive backup who can be trusted to play if Crawford has issues. If things look like acquiring a number goalie can put them over then that would a mid season move.

  33. Hoffman is good-a consistent 20 to 30 goal scorer. He is another guy that needs space (he isn’t a creator of space) and has a great shoot. One of Ottawa’s legit mature pieces and they would want quite a bit-not sure what. Rumour in Ottawa area is the Blues want him. Also the Oilers.
    There first decision is Karlsson, who looks like he will be gone–it’s a mess in Ottawa.

  34. From the sound of Nalimov’s season, I’d say its worth taking a chance on him. Tell him he’s #2 after Crawford.

  35. Noonan he won’t be given away but for sure, but ufas probably want long term deals so choices are limited. If you give Ejdsell a shot at 3rd center, you could start off year to allow Sikura time to adapt.
    15 19 88
    20 8 12
    95 14 48
    48 64 13/ Kahun
    Wouldn’t cost anything and let everybody play their way up and down, in and out of the lineup.

  36. wow Panarin is so skilled! The Hawks were way more of a threat and fun to watch when he was on the team, before one of the worst trades ever- for Saad.
    Panarin: top 20 player in league
    Saad: top 200 player
    Hawks are finished for quite awhile, sorry to say. Hockey is still fun to watch though, enjoying watching Buff destroy opponents in Winni.
    Painful to watch Blue Jackets however.

  37. Hartman establishing himself as a goon. Delivers cheap shot to the Carl Soderberg’s head. He’s lucky to receive just a one-game suspension. Now if the Hawks can make a decent pick from this trade, it’s a big win for us.

  38. SIZE and SPEED on offence and defence! The best teams in the playoff season do not dress players like Osterle, Rutta, Hinostroza, Highmore, Gustafson, Murphy, Kero,…and so on. Are you looking at these NHL playoff rosters?

    We simply do not have the talent to rival with teams like Vegas, San Jose, Preds, Pens, Caps, or the Bruins. The difference is enormous. And listening to Gord Miller talking about the top teams made up of mostly 1st, 2nd or 3rd round picks with maybe one free agent or one player drafted low like Patrick Hornquist, it’s no secret why the cream rises to the top.

    For an organization like the Hawks to not have enough new quality players drafted in the first 3 rounds results in a mediocre lineup.
    Players like Blake Hillman and Dylan Sikura??? Really? 5th and 6th round picks?
    Sikura would not make any lineup of the current teams playing in the playoffs, neither Hillman or 2/3 of the players on the Hawks. Bowman, Kelley and Gauthier are to blame.
    How do you explain Graham Knott? Drafted in the second round and he can’t skate? Vinny was another 5th rounder…
    Why would you sign a Div111 player like Pelletier to take a roster spot in Rockford?Another 5’7′ player like Anthony Louis??? Why would you draft a goalie out of Belguim? CANADA!!!! Look at the CHL for players!!!! ?? Carter Hart was available. Years ago Matt Murray and Tristen Jarry was available????
    I mean that tells you all you need to know about the amateur scouts and pro scouts in this organization. This is why all 3 need to be fired. And unfortunately, when a GM trades players like Leddy, Panarin, Teuvo, Danault, Saad, Sharp, Johns, and you get nothing in return, you have a team without any talent left. Too bad because Kane, Toews, Keith, Seabrooke and Crawford deserve better.

  39. Its funny Mikita the same things were said about Hartman, Wingels, Kempny and even Panarin they are all doing nicely playing contributing roles for contending teams.

  40. And to add-“Kane, Toews……….deserve better”-??
    better then 3 Cups when stars play their whole life not getting one? Not to mention money most only dream of—-hhmm, I think they’ll survive.

    Now you can make some kind of argument that the younger group deserves better but not the 2010 core.

    Life and Sports has both ups and downs.

  41. I have been impressed with what Kempny has been doing with his ice time next to Carlson in Washington. I was skeptical at first, but the more I watch those games he is showing the ability hold his own on defense.

    When you look at what’s left here under contract, ie, Osterle, Rutta, Gustafsson, Forsling, Dahlstrom, etc, it makes me wonder if we didn’t trade the wrong guy.

    The Hartman deal is only a good one if we get an NHL player with Nashville’s pick. If we take a stiff like Graham Knott, Dylan Olsen, etc, then it was a waste. He was an RFA with no leverage and would have come back pretty cheaply. Keep an eye out for the cap hit on his next deal with Nashville. And Kempny’s next deal with Washington…….

    Danault by the way re-upped with Montreal for 2 years at $912,500 per after the Weise trade. Johns re-upped with Dallas for $725k per year for 2 years after the Sharp trade. I bet the Kempny and Hartman deals will be for very reasonable dollars.

    It would be nice if we were on the receiving end of a deal getting young useful players that can be resigned cheaply and play every game, carving out a role on our team. Instead we keep gifting them to the rest of the league.

    Same reason I am against trading Forsling. He makes next to nothing and might be able to earn a role next year, and will make very little on his next contract. Or should make very little on his next deal…

  42. Love the way Kempny can move laterally, and he seems more confident with the Captitals. Washington may have turned the corner and might be a real Cup contender, especially if Holtby has one of his runs.
    Selfishly I don’t want the Pens to get a 4th.

  43. Kempny competes, scraps, engages, battles, whatever you want to call it. Osterle and Forsling are timid. Gus is a daffodil. And yet each of those guys got more ice than Kempny and now, behind DK, form the core of our muscular 175 pound left hand defense core while Kempny is gone. Frustrating.

  44. I agree Jordyhawk…..and remaking a blueline is the toughest thing to do because every offseason there are about 30 other teams looking to do the same thing.

    Defensemen are like pitchers in baseball…..if you trade them young, …..it’s trader beware. The learning curve is slower with defensemen.

  45. Tuulola 6’3″ 215 lbs. A good skating left shooting offensive defensemen may be worth watching how he does during Icehogs playoff run and through to next season.

  46. Hartman I don’t think will be that cheap even though he’s RFA – he does have a 20 goal season on his 2 years in the league resume

    I’ve heard commentators speculate that his agent will be looking for $3 mil or so – he’ll likely settle between $2 – $2.5 is my guess

  47. $2 million is not bad for a 20 goal scoring forward.

    Panik got $2.8 mil for 2 years from Stan, after basically half a good season, so I can only imagine what he would have given Hartman, something in the 3’s no doubt.

  48. Jordyhawk-you put it well-when you see a Hawk defenceman use some force, and actually make a forward feel uncomfortable it sticks out. (it’s so rare) And of course in the playoffs it’s a battle zone— Seabrook used to engage, and in the past opponents weren’t sure if Keith would lose it and carve somebody up. (Sometimes Murphy gets pissed off and will battle.)

    Now….? Com’on in and make yourself welcome. The rules have changed but the Hawks don’t do much in front of their goalies. It surprises me with Ulf there, so it must be in their personality and to a lesser extent size.

  49. An article in LA Times today saying both the Kings and Ducks need to immediately transition away from the “heavy” game with slower players as the NHL is all about speed now. Kempny has been ok for the Caps but I read an article that indicated no decision has been made to re-sign him so I don’t think he has overwhelmed anyone. I will still take the draft pick we got for him. Regarding next year it is highly unlikely that any draft choice from this year will have an impact (unless we get a top 2 pick). Therefore the changes will need to come from trades, free agency or the current roster. This makes it very hard to see us catching up to the Preds or Jets in the short run. One interesting UFA will be Evander Kane. I have never been a fan of his but he is a completely different player with the Sharks and his size, speed and offensive talents have been very impressive lately.

  50. Excellent post by Mikita. Following up on his point that the scouts should be fired, I do not know anything about them and who may be better out there and available. But let me just say that the Hawks’ drafting has been sub-par for many years and, unless some changes in personnel are made, we shouldn’t be optimistic that things are going to turn around anytime soon. As I posted earlier this week, THN ranks the Blackhawks’ farm system #29.

  51. Happy Birthday Seabrook.

    Kempny has the been the textbook definition of steady; it’s a novel idea what regular ice time and confidence from your coach can do for a player. It is utterly amazing that Rutta was re-signed for over $2M; Kempny has to be worth at least that much — even for one season — on the open market.

    Q dropped the ball on this one. He must have really had something against Kempny. Who knows what was said behind closed doors.

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