Coming into training camp, Ryan knew his chances of making the team were....and still are pretty slim. The reason isn't because he isn't showing promise, potential or NHL caliber play, but because they have 7 defenseman under contract. It is known throughout the league that if Ryan was a prospect of many other NHL teams, he would be donning on their sweater right now. However, he chose to re-sign in the off-season with the Hawks hoping to crack the line-up either this year or next year.
Joel Quenneville was asked if they would consider taking an 8th defenseman if he (most likely speaking of Stanton) was better than the 4th offensive player. Joel looked perplexed when asked this. He wasn't sure how to answer that. "That's a good question", stated a dumbfounded Quenneville. What he is hoping is that the 4 players he has in mind (Pirri, Morin, Hayes, Smith) along with keeping Bollig as his enforcer would be the easy answer. However, players like Teravainen and Stanton are making it very hard for the Blackhawks. Teravainen's answer may be a little easier,...send him back to Finland for one more year for further seasoning. In Stanton's case, it's not so easy. He is proving time and time again during the 5 days at Notre Dame and in the first preseason game against Detroit, that he should make the 2013-14 roster.
What are the Hawks to do? Pirri is the favorite to make the squad, however, he has been recently hurt, and his play, although good enough to make the team, and his off-season conditioning with Paul Goodman has shown brass he deserves this opportunity, despite a quite camp. Morin and Hayes are proving they belong on the team. They are racking up points left and right, and Smith (who scored off a Hayes deflection) is a valued player and a possible player to replace Michael Frolik.
Yikes! This makes decisions very difficult. Although I am not a proponent of keeping Bolling on the team, the coach (Coach Q in particular) LOVES Brandon Bollig and what he brings to the game. He does have some old school thinking and believes an enforcer is needed on an NHL roster. With the departure of Jamal Mayers and Daniel Carcillo, that leaves only Hayes and Shaw as true enforcers. But, could the Hawks live with having Hayes as their enforcer and let go of Brandon Bollig to bring in Stanton? Not likely, unfortunately. I think if that happened, they would bring up another forward i.e. (LeBlanc). I think it would take the departure of Brookbank in order to bring Stanton aboard.
I wonder if Stan's phone has wrung off the hook with interest for Stanton. He's talented, has signed for the league minimum, and he could easily make many teams better. Maybe he has had that phone ring, (I'd be calling him all night if I was week defensively), but the return on a Stanton loss may be the thing holding up talks. Again, not sure if this is even close to a reality, (probably not), but Stan has some decisions to make.
1) Do you keep Bollig who is most nights a healthy scratch?
2) Can you unload Brookbank and bring in Stanton?
3) Do you bring up the 4 guys that were favored to make the team, and just bring up Stanton during the year when players are injured, thereby not affecting the cap or the team structure as it currently is now?
These are all decisions the Blackhawks are going to have to do within the next 2 weeks. Stay tuned.......