Now that the siege of July 1 is over and the Hawks have picked their lot, we’re left to sit and wait out the rest of the summer as the Hawks bleed out the rest of the moves they’re going to make. So just want to clean up some thoughts as we begin to hit down time.
-The Hawks only made one move, signing Viktor Tikhonov, which is interesting if nothing else. He has first round pedigree, and was somewhat unlucky to be promoted to the NHL too soon and under coach Gretzky, which you’ll remember was not a very pleasant experience for anyone. That clearly stunted his development. I don’t know that his numbers in the K make anyone spit out their drink, and he may just end up Rockford depth. But it’s clear the Hawks are going to give themselves plenty of options on the wings.
The only wings for sure on next year’s roster are whichever of Teuvo or Dano isn’t used as a center, Kane, Hossa, Panarin and Shaw. Any or all of Sharp, Bickell, and Versteeg could be gone. And Danault (also could be a center), McNeill, Morin, Tropp, Tikhonov, Hartman and maybe one or two more are going to scrap for what could be as many as three spots open or as little as one, depending on who’s traded. Someone’s going to earn it, that’s for sure.
-There’s one name out there that I really hope the Hawks are looking at, and that’s David Schlemko (and yes, I like saying “Schlemko,” which is part of this). Schlemko only made 1.2 million last year and I doubt he’s going to get an increase from anyone off of that. His peripherals are almost off the charts. He’s been a +4% Corsi relative his past two years on three different teams, and Calgary and Arizona were possession allergic. He generates shots at a rate much higher than a normal third pairing d-man. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but the third pairing right now needs more a mover than a free safety. This could be a sneaky good signing if the Hawks do want a veteran to anchor TVR. Check out this chart:
-Looking around the conference, I don’t see where anyone has taken a leap forward yet other than possibly the Flames, which will probably be balanced out by a correcting of their luck next season. The Blues have basically made a lateral move in giving up Oshie for Troy Brouwer, and will hope Rattie can make the team full-time. The Wild added Mike Reilly. The Predators actually paid Mike Ribeiro, and will now get the uncaring one before he loses his entire salary to his former nanny. The Wild and Preds will be counting on development from their young players to be better, which is not the worst idea in the world.
In the Pacific, I don’t know that Bieksa from Beauchemin is all that big of an upgrade anymore. Bieksa’s performance severely dropped the past two years in Vancouver and he’s an injury risk. The Kings watched their center depth end up in the Stoney Lonesome, and replaced useful Justin Williams with dumber and slower Milan Lucic. They don’t have a real puck mover behind Doughty unless you think it’s Alec Martinez, and that’s 50-50.
Whereas I thought it would be a real struggle for the Hawks next year, if they can find a way to hold onto Sharp and see his percentages correct and have a couple things go right (like Dano and Anisimov producing and Johns being everything we think he can) it feels like they have every chance again.
-I want to head this off at the pass if possible. Brandon Saad hasn’t gotten an offer sheet yet, and I know it won’t be long before people lose their minds about it and wonder what the Hawks were so afraid of. It’s important to note the difference in situations. The Hawks certainly had a limit on what they could match. The Jackets most certainly don’t, so teams are figuring it’s a waste of time for now. That means the Jackets can wait him out a bit, and he might just end up signing for not that much more than the Hawks wanted him at. But the Hawks probably couldn’t have waited him out, as someone was likely to come in with an offer sheet. Keep this in mind, it’ll be hard for all of us to stay calm.