Back With A Bang

And just like that, we’ve returned…..for now.

The Blackhawks draft was the most eventful it has been in perhaps the team’s storied history.  Before the draft started, it was reported that the Hawks had traded Brian Campbell to Columbus.  That went to be unfounded as Columbus immediately denied it.  Then Troy Brouwer was supposedly sent to Ottawa.  That was also unfounded.

Eventually both would become former Hawks.

Brouwer was dealt first, this time to the Washington Capitals for the 26th pick overall.  Not bad for a guy originally drafted in the 7th round and was thought to not have the skating ability to be an everyday player.  It should not have come as a huge surprise that Brouwer was on the block.  Due for almost a million dollar raise, the Hawks simply didn’t have the ability to spend that kind of money on a guy they couldn’t find a consistent spot for.

To me (and perhaps as short-sighted as this may be), Troy Brouwer’s time with the Hawks peaked on January 28th, 2010.  He scored two goals against San Jose in a 4-3 overtime win including the game-winner when he dangled the Sharks defenseman and roofed a shot over Evegeni Nabokov.  After that, it was a lot of empty promises and 4th line relegations.

There’s probably a pretty good chance Brouwer becomes Rene Bourque part II but his role in Chicago was already solidified and whatever success he enjoys in Washington simply wasn’t going to happen here.

The Hawks took Mark McNeil with the 18th pick.  A center who played with the Prince Albert Raiders last year, McNeil was hailed from all corners for his physical maturity.  No word on whether his hairline plays a part in that evaluation.

With the 26th pick, the Hawks selected Patrick Danault from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.  The best thing the TSN crew could say about him was he lost a bunch of teeth because he ran into the cross-bar.  A cynical person would say he should probably learn how to stop then he’d still have his teeth.  Either way, the Hawks have had minimal success with any draft pick from the “Q” so it’s probably best if expectations aren’t set too high for him.

For an encore, Stan Bowman and Dale Tallon exchanged bad contracts to set the NHL world ablaze.  Well not really, but the long awaited day for the Hawks to get out from Brian Campbell’s contract came to fruition when Campbell agreed to accept a trade to the Florida Panthers.  In return, the Hawks get another bad (but not as expensive as Campbell’s) contract in Rostislav Olesz.  Olesz has a $3.125 cap hit through the end of the 2013-2014 season.  He’s had a mostly underwhelming career in Florida with his best season coming in 2009-2010 when he notched 14 goals and 15 assists in 78 games.  Incidentally, this was also the only season where Olesz stayed mostly injury free.

As for Brian Campbell, the Hawks say goodbye to his contract and also a luxury that most teams didn’t enjoy.  That is, having a third/fourth defenseman with elite offensive talent.  Having Campbell and Keith on two seperate defensive pairs played a huge part in the Hawks success for the past three years.  Now, they’ll have to either A) adjust the way their bottom four defensive partners play or B) find someone else to take on Campbell’s role.  It’s not going to be a simple solution either way.

It doesn’t make much sense to dissect this move any more deeply because whatever else the Hawks have in store won’t be revealed for another week or so.  So trying to figure out who plays where and with whom is kind of a waste of time.

As it stands now, the Hawks have just over $14 million in cap space with 16 players (15 if you’re not counting on Marcus Kruger and it’s also counting Olesz who won’t be promised anything) on their roster.  Michael Frolik and Chris Campoli are probably the biggest restricted free agent priorities on Stan Bowman’s plate.  Both will receive raises from their contracts last year.  After that, it will be Stan’s team to design.

Buckle up.

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32 Responses to Back With A Bang

  1. MArk says:

    I think this will work out in the long run and we still are a PO bound team.

  2. Mick says:

    I thought I was hallucinating when I checked the site for a new post and was greeted with a headline different from “As I Lay Dying”.

  3. chico maki says:

    Big Splash Stan making a run for Shea Weber?

  4. John says:

    Doubt that. Think it’s going to be more along the lines of multiple players filling that $7.1 million than just one guy.

  5. Francis Roberts says:

    Welcome back, John! These are certainly proactive moves on Stan’s part, and we won’t be able to completely judge them until we see what he does with the cap space he just created. I think the Hawks will miss both Brouwer and Campbell. Despite all the carping, they were both solid contributors to the team the last few years. The problem for Stan and the Hawks was that the bottom half of the roster did not have enough cap space to allow for solid players who could contribute on a meaningful level. That should not be a problem now. The Hawks also have the opportunity to go after some really interesting RFA and FA players in the next few weeks, for the first time in a long while. Let’s see what happens.

  6. Patrick says:

    Welcome back, John!

    I want Brad Richards at roughly $30MM for 5 years (+/-) and Matt Carle on his last year of a $3.4MM deal (and I think he could come somewhat cheap in trade). Per Cap Geek, they’ll both fit, along with several other decent vagabonds. Can I have them?


  7. sTeve says:

    This Mcneil fellow is a beast check his youtube ass whoppins

  8. Cam says:

    CBS Sports, and The Hockey News all listed the Hawks as winners or gave them “A” grades for their draft haul. McNeil was highly coveted by many fans of the Rangers, Stars and Canadians. Quite fortuitous that he fell to 18, I think. And Brandon Saad at #43 could be the steal of the draft. He was seen as a top 10 choice for over a year, but his stock dropped precipitously when he didn’t dominate as expected and suffered a lingering groin injury this season. I only wish McNeil and Saad could play in the AHL this year. They certainly are physically ready to do so.

    As for free agency, Brad Richards seems to be a pipe dream. Once the Hawks re-sign Frolik and Campoli, they’ll have less than $10 M to play with and still need another defenseman and 4th line. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stalberg was moved.

  9. Otter says:

    I don’t like moving Campbell, but I understand the move. It’s a shame the Hawks couldn’t get more for him since I thought he was the best blue liner for them last year.

    They got great value for Brouwer but who knows if the guy they drafted will be the played Troy is.

    As for free agency, just a few names I’m throwing out there to see what others say… Langenbrunner? Erik Cole? Glencross? Gagne? Ryder? Brooks Laich?

    Does anyone else think Eager is going to be back with the Hawks?

  10. John says:

    Glencross signed a long extension with Calgary a little while back. Not sure how much Langenbrunner and Cole have left. Same goes for Gagne. Ryder had a really good playoffs but was otherwise a disappointment in his time in Boston. Laich is interesting and I would imagine the Hawks at least kicking the tires on him.

    I also think there’s a fairly decent chance they take a shot at Eager. Seems like he won’t be in line for that large of a raise after he was thrown under the bus by basically the entire Sharks organization.

  11. Steve from Rockford says:

    “Big Splash Stan making a run for Shea Weber?”

    Weber entered arb with the Preds, so basically no chance in hell its going to happen. The Predators know they needs to keep the guy, especially considering how good they looked last year. I could see them being a big surprise team next year, I guess we will have to see what he brings.

    According to StanBow he has prospects ready to come up and contribute. I do wonder who he is talking about, because I haven’t really seen anyone up here in Rockford that is going to have an immediate impact. Hopefully I am wrong. So far, StanBow has had a bad habit of overvaluing younger players.

    I have very little confidence in him right now, I hope he does the right thing but I do not like the comments he is making.

  12. Patrick says:

    Stan’s doing just fine. What’s he going to do, talk ill about players on his team in the media? Sorry you’re not connected to the pulse, but that’s how it goes. Stan keeps his real cards close to his chest, so I think we fans will be just fine.

    Did anyone see the Hossa signing coming? And yes, even though that was technically under Tallon’s tenure, it signaled a new way of doing things. Worked out.

    Did anyone see Kim Johnsson and Nick Leddy for Cam Barker? Not a bad deal – at the time, we thought Johnsson would be more valuable, but Leddy is the real steal. Worked out.

    Did anyone have Frolik and Salak on their radar at last year’s trade deadline (especially for what he traded to them)? Yea, I didn’t think so, and that was a good deal (so far). Worked out.

    Other than last summer where there was good and bad, and Stan made chicken salad out of a chicken shit situation (okay, some things didn’t work out, but more than not did).

    The “core” that’s been identified is still damn good.

    Right now, I don’t have a problem with the Campbell dump, so we’ll see what happens with free agency – the Hawks have a lot of room to work with and I don’t think targeted FA’s are going to look at the Hawks and say “no way” – it’ll come down to money for some, but for others, it’ll be about the opportunity to win the Cup.

    Please, doubters, tell me why we should fear – four days before the start of free agency, sitting on top of a boat load of cash to spend. What should we fear?

  13. Adam F says:

    Why should we fear? Well the GM has publicly stated the need to get Jon Scott more ice time….. but I’m not casting a yay or nay until I see how things shake out July 1st…

    Anyway, welcome back Feather boys. Missed the hell out of you. Now seems a good time to ask you about Nick Leddy. Everyone seems to be in a “We don’t need Campbell,because Leddy is ready to go….” attitude. While that is eventually going to happen, is it realistic to think it’s gonna happen next year? he averaged 10 minutes a game last year right? He’s gonna double that? And triple his production to give you what Campbell gave you last year? More importantly, is Q, whose reaction to EVERYTHING is to double shift Keith and Seabrook, going to allow Leddy to play those minutes, make those mistakes, make that jump in one year? I don’t see it. But would love to hear what you guys think.

    Did you hear Eddie O on the Score yesterday. What a jackass! How this guy isn’t in traction from towing the company line as hard as he does….Unreal. Hopefully his VS and NBC schedule takes him away from more Blackhawk games. He’s becoming an annoyance of huge degrees…

  14. John says:

    This is going to sound like a cop out to your Leddy question, but I would say wait until free agency opens. There’s no doubt he’s going to play a bigger role next year (as he probably should). Just how big will depend on who they bring in. We should anticipate his game jumping up a level or two in skill so doubling his minutes, hopefully, won’t be an issue by the end of the season. So basically I would say hang tight and the answer will probably reveal itself by the end of the week. But now that I said that, it probably won’t.

  15. BobbyJet says:

    Yes, this should be one interesting summer. I wanted to keep Campbell for one or two more seasons but I understand the business decision to get his contract off the books, when the opportunity predented itself. Right now, it looks like short term pain for long term gain, but it is hard to say what Stan is up to beginning July 1st.

    I know many Hawk fans are concerned by his re-iteration that he wants Scott to play more, and hopefully that can taken with a grain of salt. Trouble is Q seems to be on the same page in that regard. With Brouwer gone, the need for grit becomes even more of an issue this summer and John Scott is not the answer.

    As for the vacancy left by Campbell. I agree that Q needs to give Leddy more minutes and Stan needs to add another physical presence in the back end. Hawks have a lot of work to do in the physical department up front as well or we could be in for a season of being pushed around … something I saw too much of last year.

  16. Adam F says:

    I can hang tight. I can do a lot of things.

    Hey you want another reason to be worried? Here’s one: A team in the Western Conference that has as much talent as anyone in that western Conference added Mike Richards.

    Did I mention how much of a jackass Eddie O was yesterday? Really, really was.

  17. John says:

    The nice thing is that LA isn’t in the Hawks division plus with the new realignment being discussed, the Hawks wouldn’t run into the Kings until the 2nd round each year. So it is troubling, but it’s not like Detroit or St. Louis acquired him.

  18. Grunfeld says:

    “Did I mention how much of a jackass Eddie O was yesterday?”

    Yes, you did. And you were right to do so! A complete company man, who was quite unfair to Brian Campbell. Another thing worth mentioning from that interview is the idea that Dan McNeil is a hockey guy is b.s. He may like hockey, but I’ve yet to hear him say anything astute or remotely interesting about the game. In fact, he has shown himself to be nearly as ignorant about the current game as most mainstream sports media personalities.

  19. Patrick says:

    Adam – I hear you. My guess is that Stan would love to NOT talk about Scott, but that’s all that the regular beat reporters ask him about (appealing to the lowest common denominator of their readers). What’s he going to say? And no, he can’t admit that mistake – this year.

    Would have loved to have gotten a chance at Mike Richards – if only Philly wouldn’t have blown it load and made that trade last week.

    With Laich gone, who does Stan grab?

  20. alpo says:

    Well, Brooks Laich is now off the market sticking it to the Caps for $27M for 6 years (4.5 cap hit). Seems like an overpayment for a 28 year-old forward who while is a nice two-way forward that can kill penalties and win faceoffs just came off a meh 16 goal 32 assist season.

    He’s a solid player who would’ve looked great in Hawks sweater but I’m glad the Hawks didn’t/couldn’t have the opportunity to throw that kind of money at him.

  21. John says:

    The Hawks were/are going to throw money at somebody so whether it’s Laich or someone else, somebody is going to cash in.

  22. feyer says:

    I just saw that Minny placed Cam Barker on waivers, which might mean they will also place him on re-entry waivers so they can buy him out.

  23. Otter says:

    Let’s see if I’m forgetting anyone, but the Brad Richard’s race is:
    Hawks, Wild, Ducks, Habs, Kings, Wings, Leafs and Rangers correct? Maybe Tampa. The unknown are the Jets, but I’m guessing they take it easy this summer.

    The Habs and Wings need bodies on the blue line, the Kings have to reup Doughty… that doesn’t eliminate those three, but they have ‘bigger’ issues. I’m not sure what the Ducks financial situation is, so they might not be players. That pretty much leaves the Rangers and Leafs, plus probably the Hawks (using most of Campbell’s money) with the Wild being some sort of weird wild card possibly.

    I’m guessing that Frolik and Campoli are going to cost $4 million combined. That puts the Hawks a D man short and in need for some sort of top 6 player and about 10 million bucks. Does anyone know the ETA for Olsen, Lalonde and Vishnevskiy? Olsen isn’t ready… but the other two are closer correct? Could they be #6 guys or are we looking at #7? Either way, 10 million could bring home Richards plus a #6 d-man… some 3rd pairing from someone out east.

    Anyway, in doing this, it’s looking harder and harder to get Richards on the Hawks unless he signs a Keith/Hossa contract and I’m not sure that would be the best move.

  24. John says:

    Vishnevskiy is now part of the KHL and it’s still up in the air whether the Hawks own his rights or not as the qualifying offers they sent to their minor league players was not released. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Hawks are not part of the Richards race. I think they’re focusing on a couple guys from the middle tier of free agents as opposed to blowing their load on Richards. Plus when you take into account a new CBA on the horizon in 2012-2013, it wouldn’t be the wisest move to load up on another huge contract.

  25. Otter says:

    If the Hawks are going to spend to spend, I’m starting to think that it might not be a UFA. Just looking at the 17 guys who made more than $4m last year, other than Richards or maybe Joni Pitkanen (though I’m claiming ignorance with him) I don’t see anyone deserving of a raise. That to me would be money poorly spent.

    The RFAs, per usual, are more interesting… is someone like Parise available? Oshie… just so we can read weekly stories about how he and Toews were teammates? Have to swing a deal for those guys, but I think that would be a more interesting and better way to spend money than throwing $4 million at Arnott or Connolly.

  26. Tom says:

    It’s a shame Barker couldn’t become something w/ the Hawks, and being sent to Minny is almost hockey purgatory in the NHL.

    If only the Hawks had a better slot in that draft by a pick or two… Haha.

  27. Tom says:


    I was under the impression that Richards wanted a long term deal, and because of that, the Hawks would be out of the running. But, offering him a Keith/Hossa contract… What kind of cap space would that eat up over the next decade? I assume it wouldn’t be good?

  28. John says:

    This is just absolutely a flat out shot in the dark but I’m guessing the Hawks are probably looking hard at the crop that consists of Leino, Ward, Kennedy (assuming he’s still there Friday), and Bergenheim. Their price would probably range between 2.75 and 4.5 because that’s pretty much the going rate for a winger of their career pedigree. To me, it makes more sense to give money to guys who are younger with more of a chance of giving them a big year rather than wasting big money on a stop-gap center. That’s why I think whatever center they sign will be of the 3rd/4th variety.

    I don’t see them making any big trade for a RFA, either.

  29. Patrick says:

    If the Rangers get Richards, I’d lvoe to see the Hawks go after Dubinsky. He’d be the perfect fit – can play the physical game and still has offensive skill. He could be a center for a few years before McNeil or one of the other Rockford pups come up and then he’d move to LW.

    I think that Stan is going to slow-play any big moves this summer. He’ll pick up his needs early and then swoop in to pick up his wants (a 2C) after other teams are capped. It’s going to frustrate we fans, but it would be the better move.

  30. BobbyJet says:

    Unless Hawks have a plan to free up more cap space, I agree that signing Richards is not an option. I doubt Stan will want to get himself in the financial situation he was in last year. I think Brunette is on their radar. Q knows what he offers and he has been an iron man in his career. We’ll know soon enough but I hope Stan is active on Friday.

  31. Baltobob says:

    Wow, Leino or Kennedy would be terrific additions.
    Watching the Bruins and the 2010 Hawks, rolling four lines is so important. Q just didn’t have the 3rd and 4th line support last year, and I hope Stan has this burned in his brain to guide his player selection.
    I guess Leddy is the new Campbell, but seeing Brian on a determined rush was hockey at its best.
    BTW, welcome back. The season has now officially started.

  32. Blackhawkdown says:

    I like this draft..2 centers right away. More “sandpaper” guys on the backend to keep the other team honest and away from our smaller, skilled players. Sorry to see Campbell go, but the guy was not an everyday player last year..huge contract. Someone mentioned Matt Carle…I don’t know the status of players on the trading block or the trade deadline, but he might be another piece to the puzzle if available. I thought Andrew Brunette was a good pickup for us. The team should go much deeper in the playoffs this year. On another note, yeah Heatley did not do much for San Jose in crunch time, but really Martin Havlat. I mean that’s a joke.

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