Ducks in Town; Someone else leaving?

At this point, it appears the ‘Hawks will have to face the Anaheim Ducks with Chris Pronger still anchoring their blue line.  The swirling rumor from Sunday evening of Boston sending Phil Kessel, a prospect, and a pick seems to have cooled down.  And thank God for that.  I don’t think any of us are prepared to live in a world where Anaheim General Manager Bob Murray is fleecing people. 

Either way, the ‘Hawks have taken two out of three thus far against the Ducks (even with Pronger) and will look to take the season series tomorrow night.  Anaheim is still trying to figure out if they’re fighting for a playoff spot or not.  As of now, they hold the 8th spot by the slimmest of margins.  Unfortunately, Murray will tell anyone who will listen all of his older veterans are available.  With a nice crop of young talent, he’s trying to rebuild on the fly and make his team a contender for next year.  We all know how that went the first time he tried doing that.

Meanwhile, back in the Blackhawks teepee, it looks like Dale Tallon is burning up the phone lines and I’m not just talking about trades.  In Pierre LeBrun’s latest Trade Blog entry, he included this little nugget:

The Chicago Blackhawks continue their search for a No. 3 center, but, in the meantime, they are also in “serious talks” with star winger Martin Havlat on a contract extension, a source told Havlat is slated to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

So it appears that Havlat may stay after all.  Now let me remind you, Martin Havlat’s parents may not love him as much as I do, but if they re-sign him to an equal or greater contract to what he’s making now (3 year, $18 million), that’s probably a pretty big mistake. 

Is Havlat a top-10 talent?  Yes

Does he make his teammates better? Yes

Can he be trusted with a big contract?  As of now, no. 

During his first two years in Chicago, Havlat only played in 91 games.  Many ‘Hawk fans believe he intentionally dogged it or jaked injuries to sit comfortably while collecting his steady paycheck.  I have a hard time believing that and even if he did, I can’t say that I blame him after taking a look at some of the guys he played with.

Regardless, Havlat seems to have a bit of an issue (classic undersell) avoiding the injury bug.  He missed the majority of the ’05-06 season with a shoulder injury (before he had a big contract, fyi) and last year, he battled a shoulder problem from the first game of the year and then in his return immediately injured his groin. 

Then with his contract finally expiring this July 1st, Havlat is a beacon of health.  Coincidence?  Perhaps, but I’m not willing to stake my reputation on it.  Let’s hope Tallon isn’t doing the same with his.  

–In other rumors and shakedowns, Tim Sassone included in his notes package about the ‘Hawks looking for a center and defenseman.  The three guys being used as bait are Jack Skille, Cam Barker, and James Wisniewski.  After New Jersey acquired Niclas Havelid from Atlanta tonight, it doesn’t look as though there is going to be much for the ‘Hawks to acquire at the back line.  However, there’s still some considerable talent up front that is available.  It may cost one of the above mentioned three or one of them plus a draft pick.  Anyone have problems with that?  As long as they keep one of the two defensemen they’re shopping, I see no obvious downsides to dealing any of those three. 

–Also, chicagokill has the ‘Hawks schedule preview for the month of March.  After the ‘Hawks death march that was the month of February, anything else seems like a cake walk.

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