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Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks: Let’s Make A (Long-Term) Deal!

Chicago BlackhawksNow Playing: AC/DC - The Razor’s Edge

I’m sure everybody’s at least somewhat aware of the impending announcement regarding what most consider the Blackhawks young core, and I just wanted to share my take on it as well as get your thoughts and/or opinions.

As the Blackhawks prepare to announce that they’ve (allegedly) signed Kane and Toews to 5 year deals and Duncan Keith to a “Blackhawk For Life” 13-year mega-deal, things are really looking bright for the foreseeable future in Chicago. Unfortunately, these contracts will require some Kris Versteeg double toe-dragging type maneuvering to fit things under the salary cap in the coming years. This will almost certainly require the Blackhawks to make a move, and whether it’s through waivers or a trade, it will likely mean someone that has grown into the fabric of this team and town will be changing his zip code.

There’s really no one that I want/need to see pack his bags, but with the salary cap virtually guaranteed to be lowered next year, the reality is not everyone can stay at this party. In my opinion, the most likely guys are Cam Barker, Dustin Byfuglien, and Brent Sopel. Byfuglien has really proved himself as a guy with a huge presence wreaking havoc in front of the net and an absolute canon from 20 feet. He also has tremendous value because the things he lacks (very strong stickhandling & skating ability) are coachable and learnable. Barker has had a tremendous season so far. He’s played as well and even better than I expected. But listening to Assistant Coach Mike Haviland last night, there’s a lot of things that are holding Barker back, and they’re mental. He has all the talent in the world, but he has to remind himself to really kick it into gear. I really like Barker, but in order to maximize the potency and efficiency of this team someone has to go elsewhere. On defense, it’s either Barks or Brent Sopel. Now, I’m going to try and keep it clean here, but for the life of me, I can’t understand what team out there would want him for his $2+MM cap hit next year. More importantly, if there is, why the Blackhawks would make them call more than once!

In my opinion, the more outside names would be guys like Kris Versteeg, Patrick Sharp, Ben Eager, and Adam Burish. These are guys I would not count out at all. They are an incredible group of talent, and many teams could see tons of value in acquiring them. But they just wouldn’t be my first guess. With a few exceptions (Cheli, J.R., Savvy, Belfour) I’ve been OK with moving guys to make the team better. I really love the Blackhawks, and with that, the guys that wear the Blackhawks logo. But I’d have some serious issues if Patrick Sharp was the one looking for new digs tomorrow afternoon. I love watching him play, and he adds so much value to this team in terms of leadership and on-ice production. If the Blackhawks trade him now, I fear I will have to compare to one of my favorites from the past, Stevie Sullivan. I always felt the Blackhawks should have held on to him, and he’s had a very successful career in Nashville. I just think that if this team is going to reach the heights many of us think they can, Patrick Sharp not only should be part of it, they damn well need him to be.

I believe this trade will be used to lighten next year’s salary hit, but also to gain either A. young prospects they can develop within their system; or B. a “name” player with an expiring deal. My money’s on A (but always expect the unexpected).

That’s my take on this whole firestorm. And I’ll probably be completely wrong. What are your thoughts?

-hackett
http://www.twitter.com/hawknut

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Discussion

5 comments for “Chicago Blackhawks: Let’s Make A (Long-Term) Deal!”

  1. I’m curious to see how they perform going forward. There’s always the possibility that players “relax” once they sign that big contract. That’s not a knock against your guys, that kind of thing can happen to anyone. If my job gave me a 10x raise with guaranteed employment for 5 years, I might take a mental vacation or two…

    Posted by sharksfanNo Gravatar | December 3, 2009, 10:20 am
  2. I don’t see that being a big issue, but you’re definitely right. If this were the NBA or NFL, I might agree with you 100%. Again, this is all completely speculative, and as we stand just a shade over 2 hours from this presser, there’s still no word on even IF there will be a roster move made to make room… It’s like in-season “hot-stove” talk. LOVE IT!

    Posted by hackettNo Gravatar | December 3, 2009, 10:44 am
  3. Unfortunately just when the Hawks decide to open the wallet and spend some money there’s a salary cap! I think they need to keep the team together for the rest of the season, because this may be their best opportunity for a cup. The team is good now, but they will surely lose some key players before next season. Under the salary cap drafting and developing prospects are important.

    Posted by Michael JohnsonNo Gravatar | December 3, 2009, 11:06 am
  4. I will be curious to see how this all works out for the Blackhawks. Signing all of these guys to the amount that has been rumored will definitely put some stress on the management to make sure that they are able to keep their team productive.

    Posted by pittpenNo Gravatar | December 3, 2009, 11:45 am
  5. Posted by pittpenNo Gravatar | December 3, 2009, 11:48 am

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