You can put Versteeg on the board

It’s becoming readily apparent that Blackhawks realized the error in their ways with the “Qualifying Offers Fiasco” and are doing everything in their power to remedy the situation.  After signing 6 restricted free agents yesterday, Kris Versteeg appears to be the last domino to fall.  According to Tim Sassone, Versteeg is on the verge of signing a 3-year, $9 million deal with the Hawks.

What this does in the short term is help save face for the Hawks franchise as losing any young players for no compensation because of a clerical error would be a real big black eye.  Any kind of arbitration hearing is now moot as the Hawks have come to agreements with all of their restricted free agents. 

So if you’re scoring at home, the Blackhawks have replaced Martin Havlat with Marian Hossa; Sami Pahlsson with John Madden; Matt Walker with Brent Sopel, Aaron Johnson, and Jordan Hendry; Nikolai Khabibulin with Corey Crawford; then returned the rest of last year’s team with Tomas Kopecky added to the mix.  Still, it’s very likely that someone will be traded in a salary dumping transaction.  Hell, it could be more than one guy.

The only salaries that appear to be immovable right now are Sopel, Cristobal Huet, and Brian Campbell.  There will be a market for everyone else. Patrick Sharp, Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Cam Barker, we’re looking right at you. 

However, assuming the Hawks still fit under the cap after this signing (and I really have no idea who to believe at this point) it also could be very likely that this will be the team you’ll see come training camp.  They could be preparing for one big bang, then selling off parts immediately after next season ends to get their payroll back to a reasonable level in order to lock up the ‘Big 3’.  In fact, this may be the most logical thing to do.

If there’s anything positive that can come out of the “Qualifying Offers Fiasco”, at least the front office made the mistake this summer, and not next, when it will be absolutely imperative for them to mail out the qualifying offers overnight.  Here’s hoping they learned their lesson.

UPDATE– Versteeg signing official.  3 years, $9.25 million with an annual cap hit of 3.08.  Same as Barker.

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14 Responses to You can put Versteeg on the board

  1. Fork says:

    Of the players listed, Sharp certainly has the most value on the trade market, just as he has the most value to the Hawks.

    VERSTEEG! is probably the odd man out in the situation though. Maybe the Hawks can move him for a contract due to expire after the 2009-10 season.

  2. Patrick says:

    The gang’s all here, now who gets voted off the island? The Hawks will be dealing from a position of relative strength – they have what others want. I propose a “Sam Smith’s Stupid Hockey Trades” edition…

  3. Lee says:

    Blackhawks just confirmed that they signed Versteeg to a 3 year contract. recieved from the Blackhawks via text mail

  4. Lou says:

    Now let the trades begin. I just don’t see this as the final team. If it is great and it is better with Hossa on the front but we need some more on the blueline. I don’t see Fraser around and it will come down to Eager vs. Beach vs. Aliu. One or two of the forwards will likely go dumping some $ to get a defensive blueliner

    Let’s be real, barring miracle and waving of NMCs, Soup and Huet are probably here. Sopel will only move as part of deal in which some combo of like salary or years are in play.

    Having said this, I think our legit trade pool is. Buff, Brouwer, Steeg, Barker, Skille, Aliu. The kicker guys in a good deal might be Sharp or Ladd.

    I think we need to shore up the blueline and we have some offense to offer.

    One thing to remember in all of this, is that Madden is only a 1 year contract so most of that money is available for the big three. We also have nearly 1.8MM coming off the books if we don’t re-sing Skille and Curtis Brown won’t get paid anymore. It is getting hilarious watching all of the Canadian-based bloggers think we are gonna let Toews, Kane and Keith walk. Texas has a better chance of becoming it’s own nation and they the 50th state. Rocky might as well sell the franchise now if he plans on doing that.

    So what we gonna do?

  5. Lee says:

    Lou: I think there is a better chance that St Louis trades the Arch to Chicago before the Hawks trade Aliu. They have spent too many years letting him develop and if you saw him in the few games he played in Rockford at the end of the season you would see he was dominating. Also the same with beach!!l

  6. Lou says:

    Lee, you may very well be right. But at a certain point we only have so many slots too.

    Who do you think they are gonna move?

  7. Lee says:

    I think all of the names you listed will be available except for Sharp and Buff who should be untouchable. I still disagree with most on this board and feel that we do need an enforcer who can also play. Funny thing was I kinda liked Walker even though most here did not. He at least was always willing to drop them if someone went after one our our many non physicals types

  8. Patrick says:

    In my mind, any of the “moveables” like Versteeg or Buff would have to be paired with an “unmovable” like Huet or Sopel, with Skille and/or some of the 2nd Round picks the Hawks have to get them done. personally, I would go after Nabokov from SJ if they can make the cap situation work (he’s a good goalie with a favorable cap hit). From what I’m seeing on hockeybuzz, it looks like the Hawks are $4.5MM over, but that’s a fully loaded number with some guys hitting the cap who will be in the minors next year.

    BTW, what’s the deal with Sopel – other than his bad contract and injuries last year, can he play? Does he have any value if he sticks around, and if so, what is it? I’m an “old-time”, Dirk Graham-type Hawks fan who took a little bit of a hiatus when the Hawks were in the wilderness of Old Man Wirtz. Good to be back…

  9. John says:

    Sopel is fine. He had a terrific year in 07-08, was rewarded with a rather silly contract, and probably played all of last year with a bum elbow and subsequently, was bad. I believe he’ll be a perfectly acceptable 6th d-man next year.

    Like I said, I have no idea who to believe in this salary cap thing. Sassone is saying they’re just below 56. nhlnumbers has them at about the same. ThirdManIn had them at 156,000 before the Versteeg signing. Hockeybuzz didn’t even have all the signings on their cap page last I checked, so they would probably have the least amount of credibility in my opinion.

    If the Hawks really believe Beach is able to step in next year, then Byfuglien would be the first shoe to drop.

  10. Lou says:

    I agree with John on the first to go. Buff is probably him. With Hossa, Buff becomes expendable and is the most marketable. I think Steeg is next and Barker third.

    Interesting days ahead.

    As for the enforcer, in my opinion we can’t afford to have a roster spot for someone that can only fight. A guy like Brashaer or Parros is not a good asset for this team. I agree we need to get tougher but we need a physical presence rather than just a goon presence. Eager is adequate but just that.

    We need someone with some stones that drops them judiciously but intimidates people from being overly stupid. I think Beach and Aliu will hit everything in sight and from what I have been reading will drop the gloves. Maybe they are the answer.

  11. Dan says:

    Not so certain about keeping all the pieces around, then selling off after this season to free up room for the Big 3. At that point, the return would be sub-par because every other team would know that we HAD to move guys to free up cap space, and we’d be dealing from a weak position which could potentially have a very negative effect on our returns. Not to mention, I think what you see is what you get on Buff at this stage of the game. Might as well sell high on him after his playoff exhibition.

  12. John says:

    It doesn’t matter when they move these guys. Teams know the Hawks have to move these guys, whether it be now, 6 months from now, or a year from now.

    Whatever trades they do make, the return will probably be a bit better than the Aucoin-Cullimore salary dumps of two years ago, but in that same ballpark.

    If you’re expecting to fleece some team for a lumbering power forward, you’ll only end up disappointed.

  13. Lou says:

    John, your right on. I think we will trade them for picks and/or an expiring contract. Way may dump 6MM to free up 4MM type deal.

    There is always the chance of a blockbuster trade but that will take some salary going one way in exchange for some salary going back.

  14. Fork says:

    Ladd isn’t going anywhere – based upon what he brings and size of paycheck, he’s probably the biggest bargain among Hawks’ forwards.

    I can’t see Sharp going anywhere, even though he makes almost $4M/per, he’d be worth far more on the open market. Not as big a bargain as Ladd, but a bargain nonetheless.

    Byfuglien and VERSTEEG! are the two where other teams would be interested, and the Hawks could clear cap space.

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