Not much going on today. Crawford isn’t as sick but won’t play tomorrow against the Penguins. Niklas Hjalmarsson won’t play the rest of the week, and that’s worth keeping an eye on, or at least his return is. A non-healthy Hammer when things start to matter would be worrisome indeed.
Other than that, the Hawks extended Jordin Tootoo and Michal Rozsival for a year, and some of this is for expansion draft purposes. In fact, it’s all about expansion draft purposes. The Hawks didn’t have what was required to expose in the draft in June, or at least not in a way that could prevent them from having to expose both Ryan Hartman and Marcus Kruger.
The extension of Tootoo makes him available to be exposed, because he’s played in 70 games the past two years, which is a wonderful statement on where this league is. Rozsival would have to play four more games this season to reach that mark, and you won’t believe you’ve sat through 70 Michal Rozsival appearances the past two seasons. But you have.
We know the Hawks have to protect seven players already in Toews, Hossa, Anisimov, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, and Hammer. They have to leave one d-man exposed, which we all hoped would be TVR as he was the only candidate before Rozie. They could conceivably protect him now, which would then use up all their protection slots. Or if they wanted to go the seven forward, three d-man route they could protect Kruger and Hartman and then extend Jurco or Rasmussen and have either of them and Tootoo be their exposed forwards. This is what I would expect.
If nothing else happens, Tootoo would only be one of two forwards they have to expose, though I would bet the house that Kruger or Hartman would be the other one and the Hawks would sacrifice a draft pick to make sure the Army of A Yellowish Hue don’t take either player. We’ve been over and over how important and unique Kruger is and both Q and Stan know it, and they certainly don’t want to lose out on what Hartman is and could become. Perhaps that’s another reason they’ll keep their powder dry tomorrow, to have that first round pick to sacrifice in this aim. I have no idea if that’s what it would cost, but based on deadline prices you could certainly see where Vegas would require a first or second for Kruger’s… well, for the declining of Kruger’s services.