It was never likely, as the Hawks were under the impression they didn’t need him or couldn’t afford him, but it was also a good plan. Erik Karlsson has re-upped with the San Jose Sharks for $11M a year for eight years, pretty much getting the “max” deal we didn’t think his exploding red crotch dots wouldn’t allow for. Sure, it’s too many years, but this is Erik Karlsson after all. The Sharks are all about the next two years right now, you’d think, and Doug Wilson probably isn’t around anyway when Karlsson’s age becomes something of an issue. Not that Doug Wilson will age, because he can’t.
With Karlsson off the market, that means there’s basically nothing on defense in free agency. We’ll go over these again I’m sure next week after the draft, but Tyler Myers sucks, Dion Phaneuf is even worse, Alex Edler is old and useless, and Jake Gardiner is like, a person who stands behind the forwards. You can probably talk yourself into Jake Gardiner, but the acquisition of Maatta makes any acquisition of Gardiner nonsensical. Which is maybe why the Hawks would do it.
So it’s either a trade or nothing, then. Though god, can’t we see the Hawks being smitten by Myers’s size? You can see it, can’t you? I’m going to see how far I can get this spoon down my throat.
Which does put a slightly different take on the draft, though doesn’t alter it that significantly. The Hawks are saying that what their pick an do next season isn’t really a factor on what their choice will be, and that’s fair. A pick this high should be around for a decade and that’s the view you take. Still, immediate improvement on the blue line, if the Hawks even conceive that they need it, basically can only come through another trade or Byram now. That shouldn’t be the only factor, but if they can’t split Byram and Turcotte, perhaps it’s a deciding factor?
As far as trades, it’s hard to believe the Hawks think they’re done. But as we’ve said all season, and last season, and will probably be saying all summer, we have no idea how they view the upcoming season. It it urgent they leap back into the playoffs? Do they see it as one more developmental season before Boqvist, Mitchell, Jokiharju, maybe Kurashev and others are ready to make a real impact in ’20-’21 and beyond? Do they know? Are Keith, Kane, and Toews willing to toss away another season in a limited amount of them left? Have they talked to them? Have the players talked to the front office? Was last season a developmental one or a massive cock-up from a team that doesn’t know how to build a defense? We’ve been asking these questions for about two years and we still don’t know.
Maatta’s arrival means making a move for Ryan Murray is a touch redundant, as they do the same thing (though the latter far better than the former, and we don’t even know if the latter is all that good either). Calvin de Haan was another name mentioned, but that’s the same again. And even if the Hawks have called the Canes about de Haan, or Faulk, or Dougie, the Hawks don’t have what the Canes need, which is frontline scoring (not wanting to use Schmaltz to get Faulk last summer is looking a real swift decision now).
So even the trade targets are limited. I would think HAMPUS! HAMPUS! is worth a phone call, but after the hiring of a new coach it’s hard to know what the Ducks think they are doing, and they may be more interested in trying to stick you with Perry or Getzlaf and that spoon is only getting deeper now.
You can’t force what’s on the market, and teams get in deep trouble making moves for the sake of making moves. It’s starting to look like the Hawks might have to readjust whatever their sights were. Then again, they just made one bad trade, so who knows anymore?