Hockey

The last time Stan Bowman came out to open his mouth and find out with the rest of us what would come out of it, and a continuing theme the Hawks have hid behind, is that the price for “going for it” every season there for a bit cost them their future. Which is what we’re living with now. And it seems reasonable, but I thought I’d go a little more into it than just taking it by word.

I’m going to start with 2015, even though that season ended with a Cup and no one’s complaining at least about Antoine Vermette. Before that was six years ago, and even picks the Hawks gave up then would be veterans now that the Hawks likely wouldn’t be able to afford anyway. This is also going to assume that the Hawks would have nailed even any of these picks, much less all of them. But we will see who might have ended up as a Hawk if they still were making those pick. So let’s review:

2015

Antoine Vermette – Acquired for Klas Dahlbeck and 1st round pick (30th)

Coyotes drafted: Nick Merkley

Players that followed immediately: Christian Fischer, Travis Dermott, Sebastien Aho, Brandon Carlo

Clearly, Merkley never became anything. And again, the Hawks won the Cup that year, so this is what you sacrifice. But clearly, any of the four taken directly after Merkley would have been a huge help to the Hawks going forward. Even Dermott would have been the best defensive prospect they’ve produced other than Boqvist. Aho…d’oh.

Kimmo Timonen – Acquired for 2015 2nd round pick (61st) and 2016 2nd round pick (52nd)

Maple Leafs drafted (2015): Jeremy Bracco 

Players that followed immediately: Kyle Copabianco

Flyers Drafted (2016): Wade Allison

Players that followed immediately: Filip Hronek, Dillon Dube

Not as damaging as what came before. In 2016, Hronke would have definitely made this Hawks roster and showed some promise, while Dube probably could have been a useful bottom-sixer. Or he would have gotten the Dylan Sikura treatment for no reason other than the Hawks didn’t see him fight the one night they were scouting Rockford. Who knows?

2016

Andrew Ladd – Acquired for Marko Dano, 1st rounder in 2016 and conditional pick in 2018

Pick later traded to Flyers, drafted: German Rubstov

Players that followed immediately: Henrik Borgstrom, Max Jones, Tage Thompson, Brett Howden

Didn’t miss out on much here, but Howden would have been nice.

Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann – Acquired for Phillip Danault and 2018 2nd round pick

Canadiens Drafted: Alex Romanov

Player that immediately followed: No one

So Bowman can bemoan going all in all the time cost them the future, but this trade is more than that. It’s just bad. Fleischmann and Weise weren’t as valuable as Danault was that season, let alone what would come after. And deep down, we knew that at the time. This was splurging for the sake of splurging. And from the draft that they gave up a pick from, they didn’t really miss anything, although Howden’s future looks promising, except he hasn’t done much in the NHL yet. So he wouldn’t really be pulling the Hawks out of their current spot, just promising a better future than they have now.

2017

Johnny Oduya – Acquired for Mark McNeill and 2018 4th round pick

Dallas Drafted: Adam Mascherin

Players that immediately followed: No one

The Hawks didn’t really go all in at this deadline, as they were in first and felt pretty good about themselves, even if it felt like it was all on stilts at the time. McNeill never went on to be anything, and there’s no one from the fourth round of the 2018 draft who has mattered yet.

So looking back on all this, on the surface it seems like the Hawks sacrificed a lot to win in ’15 and try again the next two years. But the only cost really was that 1st round pick for Vermette. Now, maybe the Hawks would have taken Sebastien Aho, and things would look awfully different right now. Even Brandon Carlo would have changed the trajectory a bit. But how much?

At this point, this is deflection from the front office. The Danault trade was just bad. That wasn’t a sacrifice, that was idiocy. Extending Anisimov immediately to try and justify giving up a fan favorite in Brandon Saad for him wasn’t a sacrifice, it was idiocy (coming from on high). That cost you Teuvo Teravainen.

And the players Stan did draft, as the Hawks haven’t been bereft of picks, have been hit and miss. They’re not exceptionally good at it, but they’re not bad at it either. Still, on this current team, only Boqvist, Dach, and Debrincat look like Hawks draft picks that will make a difference for the Hawks. That’s just not good enough. That’s not about sacrifice, at least not entirely.

Again, this is Stan hiding while trying to justify his continued employment. And it looks thinner and thinner every day.

 

Baseball

While this series doesn’t have to serve as an execution in the public square, it’s hard for Cubs fans to feel otherwise given the whiskey-dick nature of the entire season. Should it go that way, the epitaphs will range far and wide, even though it will mostly do with what the Cubs didn’t (or wouldn’t) do in the offseason. There will be articles about “Cardinals Way” or “Magic,” and you’ll customarily vomit up your ankle joints. Some will speculate whether this signals a tectonic shift in the NL Central, back to the way things were forever, or whether this was just a one-off. We’re sure you’re very excited.

But one thing to focus on, if the Cardinals should hang on, is that they’ve done what the Cubs refused to do. Because this isn’t a great lineup, the Cardinals have had to pitch their way through. And they’ve done it behind a couple of first-round picks and developed relievers. We know, it sounds illegal, but it turns out teams can actually do that.

The Cardinals spent 1st round picks in recent years on Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson. The Cubs will see both this series. You’ll recall the Cubs policy has been to spend high picks on hitters, because they’re more of a sure-thing (and boy don’t Happ and Almora and Russell look like sure-things!), and they would either develop the pitching in bulk in later rounds or simply buy it on the open market. And it worked there for a minute.

But they’ve been passed by a team led by Flaherty and Hudson. Flaherty is the unquestioned ace of the staff, sporting a 4-to-1 K/BB ratio while striking out over 10 hitters per nine innings and keeping his ERA right around 3.00. He’s been otherworldly of late, as he had an ERA of 0.71 in August and 1.23 in September so far. His K/BB ratio is nearly six in that time.

Flaherty of late has been throwing what is a plus-fastball less in favor of a two-seam or sinker. It’s gotten him a ton of grounders, as over half of his sinkers end up killing worms, and this month it’s been near 75%. His slider has been the real weapon, as it had been generating over half whiffs on swings taken against it. Of late though, it’s been losing some tilt and some of those whiffs, and that might be one concern the Cards have closing out the season. Flaherty has already thrown 23 more innings than he did last year, and perhaps fatigue is showing in the finish on that slider.

Hudson isn’t as explosive, but he’s been no less effective during this Cardinals charge/plague. He carried a 2.38 ERA in August and a 1.89 so far in September. He doesn’t have near the strikeout power that Flaherty does, but he does his work by getting an obscene number of ground-balls. And for once, the Cardinals infield isn’t a collection of generally bewildered carnies. They catch everything thanks to Wong and DeJong.

Hudson gets there through the use of a power sinker that averages about 94 MPH but doesn’t get a lot of swings-and-misses. It’s meant for hitter to pound into the ground, and that’s precisely what they do. Hudson will feature a cutter more often to righties, and that’s another meant to generate ground-balls.

Given that Hudson is 25 and Flaherty 23, it feels like the top of the rotation down there in Mos Eisley for the foreseeable future. Wouldn’t that be nice instead of wondering what might fall off Hamels tomorrow or if Lester is finished?

In the pen, the Cards have been able to convert Carlos Martinez from a occasional boob of a starter into an effective reliever. John Brebbia and Giovanny Gallegos were brought into their minor league system either via Rule 5 or trade and turned into effective relievers. That’s another thing the Cubs haven’t done in a while.

Now, the pen is hardly long-term fixed, and given the volatile nature of any pen could turn back into a suck factory next year. Still, St. Louis was able to fashion a successful one for a season out of spare parts and leftovers, which the Cubs have been angling for for a couple season. They’ve had to solve that with established free agents, which has had a mixed record. Then again, Andrew Miller is essentially a scarecrow these days as well.

Even with that, Flaherty and Hudson will anchor whatever the Cardinals are for the next few years. They’ve led the Cardinals to a three-game lead with 10 to go. Meanwhile, first-round flameouts like Happ and Almora and a half-season of meh (followed by one of greatness, to be fair) from Schwarber are a big reason the Cubs are where they are.

Maybe all policies on the draft shouldn’t be so ironclad.

Everything Else

As the weekend wore on, I sold myself more and more on the Kirby Dach pick. We’ll never know, but my hope is at #3 the Hawks wouldn’t ever pick for need. Those picks come around maybe once or twice a decade (unless you’re the Oilers), and you take the best player on your board. If for the Hawks that was Dach, fine. Any argument for Turcotte there seems equal to me as Dach at this point, and at least Dach was playing in the realest junior league. He also seems to have a higher ceiling, and I’m always here for guys who make the game look easy, as Dach does, than go-go-motor guys like Turcotte kept being advertised as. That “making it look easy” can easily devolve into just remaining on the perimeter and fading into the background of games, which is why the Getzlaf comparisons are frightening. It’s up to the Hawks to make sure that doesn’t happen.

But what bothers me about the whole drafting policy is that it seems a whole new sense of direction, and a dumb one at that. We’re only two years removed from THAT press conference after the Predators had left tire tracks all over the Hawks where Stan Bowman definitely wrestled total control of personnel from Quenneville and his cronies, and promised that this team would and had to get faster. Saad-for-Panarin didn’t really make the Hawks faster, but you could see the logic (only kind of). Murphy-for-Hammer did make them more mobile on the blue line.

And their draft kind of reflected it. Jokiharju is hardly big and is supposedly mobile, though I haven’t really seen that yet. Ian Mitchell is definitely mobile. Altybarmarkyan is small and fast. Evan Barrat isn’t even that quick and he’s small too. Same goes for Tim Soderlund.

Last year’s offseason moves are barely worth talking about, because all it really included was Bowman spiking Q with Brandon Manning. But signings like Kampf (admittedly earlier) and Kahun and other Euro signings stuck to the “getting quicker” theme. And at the draft it was Boqvist, Beaudin, Kurashev. All meant to get to playing at a quicker pace in the future, especially from the back end. They even reached on Boqvist to do that.

And now we’re here. Dach at #3, Vlasic at #43, who just happens to be 6-5 with skating concerns. Michal Teply is 6-3, and he doesn’t have the skating worries that Vlasic does but the “good speed for his size” doesn’t make you think he’s a burner.

This goes along with the rumors that the Hawks are hot after Anders Lee, who is a good player and has a fit here but is also something of a big plodder. So has there been a gear shift? And why?

The why you know, even if it is complete horseshit. I don’t know how the Hawks could buy into the theory that the Bruins and Blues grunted and farted their way to the Final through the use of viking warlords or something. Here’s the Blues top players from the playoffs, and that’s even if you think you should be using a team that missed the playoffs last year and then got sweetheart matchups all the way to the Final as some sort of model:

Schwartz, Schenn, Tarasenko, O’Reilly, Perron, Pietrangelo, and Parayko.

I guess Pietrangelo and Parayko are big and the latter plays like it, but where are these crushers at forward? Do the Hawks really think Pat Goddamn Maroon is such a difference maker they need like four of him.

Now the Bruins:

Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak, Krejci, McAvoy, Krug, Grzelcyk.

Chara was a fucking anchor all playoffs. Where are the monsters here as far as size? Back it out to the conference finals and you have the Canes, who simply battered Lee’s Islanders, and the Sharks. Again, where are the heathen hordes on those teams? Or on the Lightning, who did manage to be one of of the best teams ever in the much larger sample size of the regular season?

I don’t know where the Hawks think they’re going to go by getting slower. What are you going to do about Colorado on the five nights you’re lining up against MacKinnon, Rantanen, Makar, Byram, and Girard? If Nashville does sign Duchene, he is pretty damn quick if nothing else. Did Winnipeg lose speed? You’re still trying to catch up to all these teams, and you’re going to do it with Anders Lee and Olli Maatta?

Having your finger in the wind isn’t a plan, and maybe that’s why the Hawks have told you they don’t have a plan.

-The Hawks were making it seem like they really want Dach to take a spot this season, though most experts think that’s a stretch The thing is, they can shelter him just about as well as any team could. A center at 18, you’d want to keep him at the offensive end as often as possible. Which means you’d have to have Kampf and Toews take most of the defensive zone shifts. And you can do that, but is that what Toews is anymore? He could do it, but you’d lose a fair amount of offense from him because he’s no longer the guy who can continually flip the ice. Maybe he’s got one more year of doing that in him, but I’m skeptical.

And who would Toews do that with? Saad in theory, but then who? Would be a waste of Kane (and don’t be surprised if you never see Kane and Saad on a line together ever again) or DeBrincat. Is that what Lee would be for? That involves flipping Saad over to the right, which he’s never really taken to. It’s an odd fit, though I guess you could scratch it out.

Then one wonders who plays with Dach. Kane? You want shooters with Kane, and Dach isn’t that. Just give him Kubalik and like, Sikura and shelter them as heavily as possible?

The problem for Dach might not be what he can do, but what the Hawks can give him. Still, I find it hard to believe that there’s that much benefit from beating up on children he’s already played with for another season, and because the AHL isn’t an option you might as well keep him here. At least show some urgency. You just said it’s not like you’re waiting for him to grow.

 

 

 

Everything Else

God bless our friend Scott Powers. Here, even in this nuclear winter of Hawks news while the playoffs go one without them, he’s got seven thousand words on Hawks prospects, some of whom might even matter! I need to take whatever it is he’s taking.

Anyway, the meat of this stuff is right at the top, and concerns Bowen Byram. Scott does something I do a lot, which is to look at players drafted in the same or similar position that play the same spot. That list of first d-men taken certainly makes you sit up straight when you see names like Heiskanen or Makar, and then make your asshole itch when you see Gudbranson or Reinhart get mentioned, though some of this is varied based on the depth of forwards in the draft as well.

Let’s go one better than Scott, and just go through any d-man taken in the top three picks the past few years: Dahlin, Heiskanen, Ekblad, Ryan Murray, Gudbranson, and Hedman in the past 10 years. So that’s possibly three franchise-turners in Dahlin, Heiskanen, and Hedman (Heiskanen is the only reach there but he sure looks like he could be). One just below that in Ekblad, and then two whiffs in Murray and Gudbranson. And even Murray found some use this year.

No one would say Byram is a reach at three, and every projection you read says he’s a future #1 d-man, and could even be ready to play in the NHL next year. He’s certainly more certain and projects out better than anything the Hawks already have. But Powers goes on to note the wealth of other prospects the Hawks have on the blue line, the ones they already have signed, and says the Hawks might skip over him because of that.

Which I think is horseshit.

Look (say that like Terry Boers), if the Hawks think Alex Turcotte has the hands to take the torch from Jonathan Toews one day to anchor this team from center, then I or no one else could have complaints. He might be that. We wouldn’t get the immediate satisfaction of seeing him, because he’s going to Madison for a year (lucky boy), but long-term that could be just as good of a pick and prospect. Fine. If he’s higher on their board than Byram, you do that.

But if Byram is highest on their board, you take him and you worry about the rest later. That “wealth” of defensive prospects puts you on the radar for any big piece you want to trade for (say, what’s up, PK? You like Italian beef?). Having too many prospects or players for a position is a better spot to be in than not having enough. It’s not like any of these guys are on the cap yet anyway.

And none of the prospects the Hawks have are projected to be all-world, do-everything ass-kickers for the lord. They may become that, or combine with Byram to be that. But that’s built on more hope than it seems to be with Byram. There are no sure things after the top two picks, but Byram certainly is close enough.

We’ve run over this again and again, but you can’t talk about this without discussing what the Hawks already have locked in for next year. You know the list: Keith, Seabrook, Murphy, Jokiharju Gustafsson. And you know what we’ll say. Seabrook shouldn’t even be a consideration. Saying he has to play and play a lot simply because of his salary is doubling the mistake. Maybe the Hawks are doing this, and they would never say it publicly, but maybe they know that Seabrook is the #7 next year, and not just the number on his back.

Here’s another thing. The Hawks aren’t the only team badly needing defensive help, and there’s only one true difference-maker on the UFA market, and you know that by now. There’s one or two more that might help a team, but spending in the middle of the market is what gets you in cap hell. So a few teams are going to miss out on Erik Karlsson, and I’m willing to bet you could sucker them into Erik Gustafsson in a hurry. That points total is going to be the light that blinds some GM to his faults. He’s only going to be here one more year anyway, then be far too expensive for a glorified Lubomir Visnovsky. You were a dogshit team with him popping off for 65 points anyway, so what’s the difference here? I’d make the bet that Jokiharju can do most of the stuff he did on the power play with a little prodding. Byram or Boqvist certainly can, if they prove ready from the off.  You can do something here.

If you were to take that tack, you only have three spots locked up for next year, and fuck Jokiharju could play himself out of one just like he did this term. You never know. That’s plenty of room for an actual prospect or two to take a dive, not Gustav Forsling or Carl Dahlstrom. It’s also enough room for an acquisition. And it probably saves your cap space for help at forward.

There, I’ve done it. I’m so smart.

It would be a mistake for the Hawks to draft for need when they may not have another swing at a pick like this for a while (and when they do, it won’t be this front office taking it). They also need to have a frank discussion of what they really have, not what they want us to think they have. There’s a lot of ways to screw this up, but there’s a lot of ways to get it right too.

Everything Else

The obvious joke, and one I’ve made several times, is that for a second time in recent history the Hawks have landed the third pick in a two-player draft. The thing is, if you go look at history, the 2004 draft where the Hawks were left with the pan-scrapings after Ovechkin and Malkin and chose Cam Barker, there wasn’t much directly after Barker. They ended up with Andrew Ladd anyway, and the only other name in range is Blake Wheeler. And he didn’t even sign in Phoenix.

BUT THAT’S NOT WHY YOU CALLED.

The Hawks won the lottery last night, and ended up with the third pick again, as the NHL rigged it to get the New York area to care about hockey again (as they probably should). But whereas the Devils and Rangers are in the midst of total rebuilds, the Hawks are not. What the Hawks do have is a bevy of options, which I find more terrifying than exciting because I’m fairly sure they’ll choose the wrong one.

Let’s rewind a year. For the second straight offseason, the Hawks were promising you urgency and that nothing that went on during the season was acceptable. They told you they wanted a quick return to being relevant, and having a higher pick than they’d had in basically a decade gave them ways to act on that. They proceeded to take the biggest project in the top-10, and Boqvist might be the only pick in the first 10 who won’t appear in the NHL either this past season or next. And no one seems sure if he’ll be the next, pint-sized Erik Karlsson, Jared Spurgeon (which would be more than fine, honestly), or a Gustav Forsling sequel.

So to me, all I ask is that the Hawks don’t do something that’s not going to do anything for this team next year. And that should be everyone’s ask. If they were an organization you could trust had any idea what it’s doing, and not one still attempting to bask in the fading glow of success they were mostly born on third for, you’d have hope they’ll take the chance.

Let’s get this out of the way. As good as Valeri Podkolzin might be one day, he’s not a choice for the Hawks. If there’s any chance he won’t be coming over from SKA for two years, that does the Hawks no good whatsoever. They might not even have two years. That doesn’t move them forward in any way. They need help now. Maybe you regret that in three years, but that’s not where you are now.

That doesn’t mean the Hawks can’t just use the pick. They definitely can. Bowen Byram can probably step into the NHL next season, and then the Hawks could package two or three of the other defensive prospects they’ve been bleating on about all season and yet have no idea if they’ll work for even more immediate help. That’s one option. Alex Turcotte might be a reach, but he’s also probably ready to step in right away. So could Dylan Cozens, and might have a Garbage Tkachuk Son aspect to him, which we know the Hawks brass will get tumescent over. These are the simplest options.

The more complicated one, but the one that probably that could net the biggest reward, is trading it. It’s hard to gauge what the #3 pick’s value is, though. Most every other team knows it gets them no Kaako or Hughes. But to a team that’s probably trying to get as many lottery tickets as it can, and who don’t terribly mind if it takes a year for that player to get to the NHL, it probably still has a lot of value. Or maybe a team that needs to add cheap talent with cap problems that needs to unload something. Or just a dumb team. Hi there, Oilers.

I don’t know what is available and what isn’t, but the Hawks need to listen to all of it. Perhaps packaging the #3 pick and one of Boqvist or Jokiharju lands you some big game from someone. Maybe the pick alone can pry a Chris Kreider or Brady Skjei or both loose from the Rangers, who can dream about kick-starting their rebuild with both the #2 or #3 pick. Maybe our dreams of HAMPUS! HAMPUS! come alive for a team that needs to start over. We could do this all day.

If the Hawks take another project, then you’ll know they’re trying to plan for the post-Daydream Nation era. Which I guess they can do, I just wouldn’t want to bother with the next three years. And I’d also love to be in that meeting when they lay out that plan to Toews and Kane, and Keith as well if he does actually want to stick around.

The Hawks have spent the last two seasons standing still, and not even in a good area. They have watched the league pass them by and still don’t look like they’ve adjusted. It’s almost as if they don’t know why they suck. They have a chance to propel themselves forward here. If they miss on it, then just maybe, finally, someone or everyone will be held accountable. You’d think if you were trying to save your job, you’d do something pretty big and instant.

Everything Else

As with everything, how you judge last night’s first round is whether or not you take the Blackhawks at their word. And that’s not really something we do around here.

As Fifth Feather pointed out on Twitter, the Hawks for the past two years have come out and said their performance is unacceptable and that changes will be made and safe is death and all that. Except…there haven’t really been changes. A couple trades, which sure, fine, that counts but those had cap considerations to them as well.

So if the Hawks were truly hellbent on change and shaking things up and lunging desperately for one more run, you probably don’t take the biggest project available at #8. In reality, you don’t use that #8 at all and you try and find a trade for something that helps now. Let’s be clear, there was on player the Hawks could have taken, once Zadina didn’t quite slip to them, that would have made this team in the upcoming season. But there were players that might have helped in ’19-’20.

Adam Boqvist is not that.

That doesn’t mean Boqvist won’t turn out to be the best d-man in this draft, besides from Dahlin. He very well may be. The skating is other worldly as is the other creativity. It’s heartening to see the Hawks not bewitched by size and just deciding to take the most skill they can find, and bodes well for how they will play in the coming years. If Boqvist can flower and Jokiharju and Mitchell are what they’ve promised, that’s a pretty mobile and dynamic blue line you’re going to be rocking in three years.

Still, Wahlstrom was there and would have helped sooner. Dobson might have as well, though we’ve been over what d-men out of the Q turn out to be. Ty Smith would have been a reach but given how the picks ahead of them went maybe they could have traded down and gotten an extra pick? Who knows?

While the theme was that the Hawks concentrated on defense, when talking about a draft where no one is going to help in the next season and after the first round probably not the next two, it’s a better plan to just draft the best available. If the Hawks felt that Boqvist and then Nicolas Beaudin were the best players there, fine. If they think they’re drafting for a need, and they’re looking three years down the road, what does that mean for this year? In three years Keith will be toast, Toews will be close, and Seabrook very well might look like Senator Kelly post mutation. Sure, you have to start planning for that, but you also better have a plan for how you’re going to maximize the interim. Otherwise, are you telling your “core” that the rest of their careers in Chicago aren’t going to be for much?

I also got a kick of Joel Quenneville being interviewed about Boqvist, because there’s a good chance he’ll never coach him. But we’ll have that talk another day.

So we’re past the draft, and the Hawks plan for this year still hasn’t presented itself. There’s time, as the negotiation window begins Sunday. But that’s basically only Tavares or JVR. The clock is ticking louder.

Everything Else

Pretty glorious day, no?

Sure, we’re making too much of a deal of barely a fourth-liner (or barely an NHL-er). But at least we now know that Stan sees what all of us sees, or saw. And Stan is at least making attempts to re-jigger this team how he sees fit, with more speed and skill (thus the pumping and re-signing of Morin). And the fact that some team was dumb enough to give up not just a draft pick, but a 3rd rounder which could be somewhat valuable, I nearly plotzed! Watch what a difference actually having a 4th line could make next spring.

As for the picks today, well, who knows if any of these guys will come up for air. But we’ll do what we can to see what the Hawks have picked up.

Everything Else

It didn’t come with the fireworks we thought tonight. We all held out breath when it was reported that Hawks’ and Sharks’ reps were at the NHL table filing a trade, but in the end it just ended up being a swap of picks so the Hawks could move up. Which leads you to believe that Nick Schmaltz was a target of theirs and they went out of their way to get him.

What Schmaltz sounds like is basically a slightly bigger, American version of Teuvo Teravainen, with perhaps more finish. But Schmaltz’s game is definitely pass-first, and everyone raves about his vision and hands. He doesn’t have the size you might like, but is very strong on his skates and squirts out of traffic well.

Schmaltz has a rep for tacking a shift off or even a game off here and there, but I’m not going to dismiss a 17-year-old because his focus might waver at times. We’ll see what he does at North Dakota. He has to work on his defensive game, but who doesn’t at that age? Once again the Hawks have drafted for serious skill, which seems to be a habit of theirs. As we said, past Teuvo and Danault the Hawks looked a little short down the middle in the system. They addressed that tonight.

Tomorrow should be more interesting, as if they’re going to dump Oduya for picks and cap space it will be then.

Everything Else

Well, Stage 1 of this week’s offseason circus is now in the books. What are we left with?

The big news is obviously the trades of Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik for five picks. Bolland comes as no shock. He’d become to expensive for the role he had, and there are many options as replacements. Frolik was a bit of a surprise, just because it felt like he would have slotted perfectly into Viktor Stalberg’s role on the 3rd line. But again, a $2.2 million 4th liner is not a luxury you can afford for long. Frolik has been an underrated asset, sometimes criminally so, as he’s always driven possession no matter what role he was asked to play. And he’s been asked to play a lot of them in his time here.