The 2010 NHL Draft weekend came and went. The Blackhawks went into the draft with the highest amount of draft picks with 11. They finished the draft with 10 picks, trading one of their second round picks to the Maple Leafs for Jimmy Hayes, this year’s 1st round pick, Kevin Hayes, older brother. Kris Versteeg is still a Blackhawk for some reason and Stan Bowman claims the Hawks don’t need to make any more moves to fit under next year’s cap.
As for the Hawks draft, it’s a little worrisome that Kevin Hayes played against lesser competition this season and the only time he played against elite competition was in a tournament in Slovokia. Bowman claims Hayes had no problems playing against the best of the best so at this point, we don’t have a whole lot else to go on.
He’s set to begin his freshman year at Boston College this fall. He is also a dead ringer for Woody from “Toy Story”.
The Hawks spread out the rest of their picks among various positions as opposed to last year when they drafted two defensemen and five centers. They chose two goalies, two wingers, three centers and three defensemen. None of the players are listed at shorter than 6’0″ so it’s clear size was important.
Other news from the weekend was the Hawks reportedly sent qualifying offers to Ham Sandwich, Antti Niemi, and Andrew Ladd. It remains to be seen why the Hawks are choosing to be cloak and dagger about this. While most teams formally announce when they send out the offer sheets, news of this has been leaked from sources throughout the weekend.
The three players have the right to accept or reject the Hawks offers. However, so long as the offer sheets are sent out and received by the players, the Hawks retain their rights on July 1st; it doesn’t matter if they reject their offers. That means any team that wants to negotiate with them is freely allowed to but the Hawks will have the ability to match the offer or refuse, thus receiving draft pick compensation.
Considering how rare it is for restricted free agents to be poached by other teams, the Hawks are still in the driver’s seat.
There are only about three teams in the hunt for a goalie upgrade and only one has the cap space to do it (Tampa Bay). Yzerman was tutored under Ken Holland for years so there’s no way he’s going to tie up substantial cap space on a goalie. Niemi will probably end up in a below market deal for a couple years and then bank on hitting the jackpot in free agency down the road.
Ham Sandwich isn’t going anywhere, either. There seems to be debate how much he’s worth but a nice comp for him is Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk is similar in age and statistics and just re-upped on a two year deal worth 3.75 million. Sandwich should probably be in the ballpark around that.
According to Darren Dreger, Ladd’s offer sheet is at $1.65 million. No word on whether it was a one-year or two-year deal. There were rumors of the Hawks shopping Ladd’s rights before the draft, but it didn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Hawks to deal his rights before qualifying him.
Free agency is just a few days away. These secrets should become clearer by the end of the week.