Oh calm down. We’d never turn against our favorite Tre Kronor regular. Niklas Hjalmarsson was a great Hawk, a major part of three Cups, and certainly should be remembered well in these parts.
But it’s that last component that’s getting really annoying. Especially considering some of the other complains about this current Hawks team.
You can’t sit, bitch, and moan about Brent Seabrook’s play and contract and then bemoan the loss of Hammer. It’s non-sensical and hypocritical. If the theory is the Hawks should have cashed in Seabrook’s rep in the aftermath of a third triumph for part(s) younger and cheaper, then that’s exactly what the Hawks did with Hammer.
Because if you were paying attention in the second half of last season, Hjalmarsson was not good. He had just as many scorch marks on him after the Nashville series as anyone else did. And stay-at-home d-men, especially ones that eat as much rubber as Hjalmarsson did, do not age well. In fact, they’re starting to be phased out of the game altogether as teams look at teams like the Predators with six d-men who can move and think they might want some of that.
That doesn’t mean that Connor Murphy is a given. Especially if his coach won’t stop wetting himself over the deal. But it’s the kind of thing you need to try, and the kind of thing the Hawks probably should have done more of and earlier than they did.
It’s sad to think in some ways, given what Hjalmarsson gave to the Hawks, but in a league that’s getting smaller and faster and more skilled, his kind of d-man just might not be all that valuable soon. You have to be mobile to play defense in this league, and Hammer didn’t have much of a step to lose. He probably already lost it. The Hawks don’t need shot-blockers. They need guys who get the puck to the other end of the ice. That’s never been Hammer.
Thank him for what he did. Remember it fondly. And also keep in mind that nothing lasts forever, and you have to move on at times. Even if it feels earlier that you anticipated.
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