The preseason mercifully ended on Sunday. If you’re of the belief that the only goal of the preseason is to get the regulars out healthy, well then the Hawks failed because they lost Brian Campbell for a month. If you’re not so obtuse, then it was actually a pretty good preseason for them.
They saw enough out of two 19 year-olds that it’s going to take an act of God, or the salary cap, to keep them out of the opening day lineup. As a team, they had several strong stretches of play once the regulars were in the lineup. Their top players look like they’re ready to go, including Marian Hossa who has looked like a demon spawn thus far.
So things could be worse.
Losing Campbell stings, no doubt, but at least the Hawks now have a laundry list of candidates to take his place. Unlike last year when the options were Nick Boynton, Jordan Hendry, and a swift kick in the nuts. Nick Leddy will get the first look. Brian Connelly the next.
Campbell is expected to miss about 15 games. At the least optimistic prognistication, those two should give the Hawks 7 games of adequate play. Joel Quenneville will have to mix and match the rest of the way.
A bigger concern will be the second power play unit, but with so much new blood infused on the roster, it was going to take awhile for everything to click on that unit, with Campbell or without him.
The Hawks will likely make their final cuts in the next day or so. It will be interesting to see what they do because it’s going to be pretty difficult to fit 24 contracts (that’s with the assumption Campbell isn’t placed on LTIR) under the cap to start the season. So there’s still a couple things left to decide.
–In the next week, we’ll start up our farm updates. The OHL, WHL, and QJMHL have all begun their seasons and due to simple laziness, we haven’t started keeping tabs. No longer.