1 month until camp.....Let the wheels start spinning now.
(Written yesterday on 300level.net)...a Blackhawks dedicated Social Network Site...Check it out!!!
With the Hawks only a month from starting their camp, we are now well aware that the Hawks were pretty aggressive during the Draft, were mildly active during the Free Agency period, and have aligned themselves according to the Cap so that they aren't screwed during the future.
One of the questions right at the end of the season to me was , "How are the Hawks going to get under the Cap with their current lineup?"
It was pretty apparent that the Hawks were going to let Viktor Stalberg go. Benched twice during the playoffs, and often in Q's doghouse,...we could see the writing on the wall that if Stalberg was to stay,...he wasn't going to get paid jack (expletive).
I did look at CAP GEEK quite a bit during the year, and I did think that Dave Bolland was going to be an issue. Not, that the fans nor the organization didn't like Dave Bolland,...most fans loved Bolly,...but his play wasn't equal to the pay he was receiving. I didn't think he'd go,..but what a wise move to trade away that 3+million salary and still be able to get quality picks for him. Good move on Bowman.
I also was not a big Michael Frolik fan. What? yeah, I wasn't. Here was a guy that was drafted in the first round by Florida, and ended up being a 4th line guy most of the year because...to be honest,...that is where he belonged. I often described Frolik like this." one of the hardest workers on the team, but when isolated with the puck, he cannot put the puck in the net." I got tired of seeing him do the same move over and over.......you know the one.....cross behind the net and do his quick turn around snap shot (that always was blocked). That move probably worked in his younger days,.......but it didn't amount to anything in the pros. Frolik often looked befuddled when he had the puck,...BUT when he was on the PK,.... his tenacity was wonderful. His hard working habits allowed him to go after the puck and/or defender and he was a perfect person for that position....BUT,...he wasn't worth the 2.25m with a big cap cut....How was Bowman going to handle this, I thought? Surprise, surprise. He calls his buddy in Winnipeg for a nice trade. NICE job.
Now, to be honest, I was a bit surprised that Bickell landed 4m a year for 4 yrs. I thought he was going to get 2.5 and that would have nearly been 5x his previous salary. But 4m? Wowsers!!!! Good job on him to be able to get it.
Emery leaving was not a surprise, but I was a bit let down. I was hoping he'd stay. He appeared to enjoy the city of Chicago,...but his desire to go after that starting spot was what he was really after. I can't say Chicagoans really blame him for that. We loved Razor's 2 years in ChiTown. Way to go Razor!
Leddy, Kruger re-signing's were not really a surprise. Rozsival re-signing, again not a surprise, but Handzus taking a pay-cut to 1m was shocking. I didn't see that one coming.
How Bowman played his hand to the AHL players was absolutely brilliant. Kyle Beach, Drew LeBlanc and Ryan Stanton all getting near the league minimum JUST for that opportunity to crack the lineup and fit under the cap making Stan's decision a bit easier if he needs to shuffle players around from Chicago to Rockford.
I had one person tried to point out to me that Brandon Bollig and Ben Smith's contracts are ONE way contracts meaning they cannot be shuffled back and forth to Rockford. Ahh,....but, the Hawks ween't afraid in doing that last year. Remember, if he lets Bollig go and someone picks him up, is he going to really lose much? NOT really. He could bring in another enforcer who could actually fill the net in Kyle Beach. (Actually a much better player than Brandon Bollig). Ben
Smith, is looking more and more (from listening to some late interviews from Quenneville, that he has a STRONG shot of making the team as the NEW Frolik. Put it this way, Smitty is going to do everything he can to try and make that roll happen. Great.....SO we don't lose much if that connection of Smith and Kruger work out. We need to keep that strong PK unit . Cuz our PP sucks to high heaven.
A player that has woken me up since my last post (on hawktalkalways,blogspot)is Teuvo Teravainen. He was the best player on the ice at the Juniors a few weeks ago.
Let's look at who is on the Hawks and what is available (yeah...once again). IF the Hawks keep Bollig, that leaves 4 open spots (Pirri, Morin, Smith and J. Hayes) all as front runners. All very much have earned that right,...but there are players like Ryan Stanton, Adam Clendening who also have earned that right, but because they're defensemen,...tough out of luck. Danault impressed Bowman during camp,...and will get his shot ....and McNeill was also told by Bowman that he will be given a shot.....up to them to perform like crazy a month from now.
Ross, Beach, LeBlanc, Kostka, Peckham are outsiders looking in. (btw,...I'm becoming a big Garret Ross fan,....like I was a big Brandon Pirri fan (for the past 2+years) and I still am a huge Jeremy Morin fan.)
Players to watch in the future?
1) Teuvo Teravainen: kid is simply AMAZING!!!
2) Watch out for this one: Tyler Motte.
3) Of course.....Adam Clendening. (Next Chris Chelios maybe?)
4) Chris Calnan...anyone related to J.R. get's a quick gander I would think.
5) Antti Raanta: why not? This guy was ALL Sweden for cryin' out loud.
6) Mac Carruth: Played well with the WinterHawks. How's he do in Rockford
Curious signings......Brad Winchester...is he the next Bollig's replacement?
Nikolai Khabibulin....okay,...I can't be the only one that went,..."What the f*ck?" after they signed him.....Am I?.....Keep that seat warm for Raanta my boy!!!!
Sheldon Brookbank anyone? He's keeping the seat warm for Adam Clendening (or possibly Stanton),...let's be honest.