Everything Else

We continue our look around what the Hawks might be able to pry loose via trade this summer, and our lonely eyes turn to The Iladelph. This one isn’t as clear as some others, where the Flyers aren’t actively shopping Shayne Gostisbehere. But they’re also listening, desperate for some forward help. That’s why they’ve traded for the rights to pay Kevin Hayes, who sucks, but it would be truly Flyers to get the jump on negotiations and fuck them up anyway.

So first off, would the Flyers actually part with Ghost Bear? Possibly. He’s been passed on the depth chart by Ivan Provorov, and it might soon be that Travis Sanheim does as well. They’ve been waiting for Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin forever, and there’s a couple other kids down in the system as well. It’s something of a strength to trade from for them.

And Ghost Bear has earned himself the title of a power play specialist. Your first reaction is to say that he’s just younger, more mobile Erik Gustafsson. Except that younger and more mobile is something we’ve wanted Gus to be for his entire stay here, so I’m not sure that’s anything worth complaining about.

But yes, Gostisbehere has racked up the power play points in the past, with 33 two years ago, and 23 the year before that. That doesn’t mean he’s a total nincompoop at even-strength, with 23 points this year and 32 the year before that. Ghost Bear might always be haunted by his rookie year where he put up 17 goals in just 64 games. But he shot 11% that season, which is astronomical for a defenseman and really shouldn’t be expected again.

That said, Gostisbehere’s metrics at evens are pretty good, well above the team-rate in Corsi the past three seasons and above in expected goals the past two. The caveat here is that Ghost Bear is punted in the offensive zone to start his shifts most of the time, so he should probably carry a higher rate than the team.

The drawback to Ghost Bear is that he doesn’t help out the defensive game much. And while he’s brilliantly skilled and mobile, it’s unclear if he can consistently skate or pass his team out of trouble when in his own zone. He wasn’t asked to do it a whole lot in Philly. Again, perhaps paired with a really good defensive partner you’d have a nice dynamic, but right now the only player the Hawks have that qualifies as that is Connor Murphy. It’s a nice thought, but a Ghost Bear-Murphy pairing sounds like a really nice second pairing and doesn’t solve your top of the rotation problem.

Is he gettable? Probably. Rumors have the Canadiens hot on his ass and dangling Andrew Shaw and/or Paul Byron to get him. Certainly Brandon Saad would be more than that, though if that deal straight up makes you queasy I get it. The Flyers are desperate for any kind of second line help, and Saad would definitely qualify as that. Fuck, maybe you catch the Flyers being the Flyers and convince them that Anisimov is that, especially if they can’t sign Hayes. It’s a longshot, but dumber things have happened.

Does he help? That’s a harder case to make. Again, the Hawks are fiending for mobility on the back end like no one else. This would make Renton’s withdrawal look like a cold. But Ghost Bear might be more of what they have, somewhat wayward in his own zone. If he had proved to be a carry-the-mail type, you’d be in on this 100%. But he might just be like Gustafsson, where you’ve got to get him to the offensive zone another way before his real effectiveness is apparent.

Like we’ve said about just about everyone we’ve previewed, he’s better than almost everything else the Hawks have on the roster now. But is he such an improvement? He would make Gustafsson expendable and you probably can fetch more for Gus than you give up for Ghost Bear simply due to the contract. Ghost Bear is also 26, so he may have some improving to do but he’s also not so far away from his peak that you can picture him being significantly more than he is. Again, this feels like another half-measure.

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

It could be any color, really. But we’ll get to that.

This very well could be Daniel and Henrik Sedin’s last season. They’re both 37–strange how twins are the same age–, both are in the last year of their contracts, and it’s unclear whether both want to wait around for the Canucks to finally get a clue. While the Canucks might think they’re in the chase this year for a playoff spot, anyone with functioning neurons knows this team is going to, and should, finish up the track. Sadly for Canucks fans (if there are any left), those aforementioned neurons haven’t been terribly present in their front office of late.

While it might not be the numbers you remember, the Sedins are going out with something of a bang, if this indeed is to be it for them. Both have some of the best relative-Corsi marks and relative expected goals percentage of any forward in the league. That comes with something of a caveat. The Twins hardly ever start a shift anywhere but the offensive zone, and they no longer are allowed to face the tough competition they did back in their prime. But still, they’re making it count, and they look to set to top their outputs of last year (94 combined points, because with them you might as well always total them up together).

The Sedins are so entrenched in the Vancouver community, it’s impossible to imagine them playing anywhere else. They’ve certainly never expressed a desire to, though then again they’ve never expressed much of anything interesting. Kind of a Swedish thing, we take it. It may seem impossible to move them. You’d have to move them together, and they both make $7 million for this season. But given that at the deadline it would be less than $7 million combined on the cap, . the Sedins would have to just give the word. Another complication is that after last year’s Jannik Hansen deal, the Canucks can only retain salary on one of them.

But look at a team like Columbus. Their division sucks, or at least is a jumble. No one stands out. They have a nominal #1 center in Alex Wennberg, but are still playing Brandon Dubinsky as a #2 (in every sense). Slot the Sedins in behind Wennberg and Panarin, causing Dubes to slot to the #3 center, which is what he’s always been. Given their possession-game, couldn’t that light Atkinson’s or Anderson’s game up? Suddenly the Jackets have more punch to go with their goaltending. The only team looking scary in the East is the Lightning and they have an unproven goalie and slow-ish back line. Why couldn’t Columbus?

The Sharks? They maybe have one run left in them before they have to burn it all down anyway. No one in the Pacific looks all-world, and you’d basically have to take your chances with the Preds in a conference Final. Sure, it would make the Sharks even older and even slower, but everyone in the Pacific is kind of that way.

Calgary? If they could ever get it together, and really their bigger needs are in net and to find out what exactly has inhabited the brains of Hamonic and Brodie. But the Sedins allow them to put the 3M line as a strict checking line. Why not?

The logistics aren’t easy, but they are possible. And while the Sedins aren’t exactly known as playoff dynamos, and may never live down 2011 or Dave Bolland claiming his one bit of glory off of them, they wouldn’t be asked to carry a team here. Again, they don’t need a Cup for first-ballot entry into the Hall of Fame. They love it there. These kinds of deals also rarely work. But you’d have to think they’ve at least kicked the idea around in their race car beds.

Game #36 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

The NHL offseason has basically become pretty much every fan laughing at the stupid decisions of GMs across the league, and fans of those teams those GMs preside over trying to sell themselves on others that they weren’t THAT stupid. Some of that has reached these pastures, and maybe some of it is deserved.

It seems to me that possibly every NHL GM just hasn’t figured out how ruthless you have to be in this hard cap. Or maybe they know it, and just can’t bring themselves to do it. Or maybe mechanizations within the organization haven’t allowed them to do so. I think that’s what we’re seeing here with the Hawks and Stan Bowman.

While the Penguins will be used as the model, it’s probably important to remember their three Cups and four finals span three coaches and two GMs. So Jim Rutherford could have looked at the roster he got from Ray Shero and not feel the same attachments. And the Penguins roster from their first champion to the second and third only retains three and a half important elements in Crosby, Malkin, Letang, and Fleury if you want to count him, though he wasn’t supposed to be involved at all for the last two.

Everything Else

The month of March and the Blackhawks go together like me and shaving. They’ve been losing and playing terribly against the kinds of teams they’re going to have to beat, eventually. They aren’t even fun to watch, at least ever since Patrick Kane stopped scoring at a ludicrous pace. The final straw was when team MVP (non-Kane division) Corey Crawford went down with a mysterious upper body injury.

We don’t know that he got hurt in a mosh pit after seventeen Bud Lights but he’s been out for long enough that people should no longer consider Scott Darling a viable starting goalie in this league.

That said, there are legitimate reasons to be concerned. Most of us have been guilty of the “they do this every March” trope and it’s lazy. I admit I’ve done it. It’s no longer a cute little joke.

Everything Else

It’s a rare weekend off for the Hawks, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to talk about. As you know by now, during the game last night the Hawks gave up this year’s 2nd rounder and a conditional pick next year that can be a 4th, 3rd, or 2nd depending on how far they go this spring for Kimmo Timonen.

It’s a strange one, for sure. Rarely, if ever, do you see a player who hasn’t played all year traded for, and actually a team giving up tangible assets to do so. This came only a few days after the Leafs trading for Nathan Horton, who is likely to never play again. Let us not say that NHL GMs haven’t gotten creative.

Everything Else

It’s a rare weekend off for the Hawks, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to talk about. As you know by now, during the game last night the Hawks gave up this year’s 2nd rounder and a conditional pick next year that can be a 4th, 3rd, or 2nd depending on how far they go this spring for Kimmo Timonen.

It’s a strange one, for sure. Rarely, if ever, do you see a player who hasn’t played all year traded for, and actually a team giving up tangible assets to do so. This came only a few days after the Leafs trading for Nathan Horton, who is likely to never play again. Let us not say that NHL GMs haven’t gotten creative.

Everything Else

So the break is over, I’m back from vacation (NOLA!!!), and I think it’s a good time to reset and see where we are and what we should be watching for.

-The Hawks sit three points back of the Preds, though having played two more games. And making up ground this week is not looking all that likely. While the Hawks are doing the California swing (not as daunting as it could be but certainly not easy), the Preds get the Avs twice around one game with the Blues, which you know is going to overtime or a shootout.

If ground is going to be made up, it’s probably after that. During the second leg of the Hawks’ trip, the Preds see the Ducks and Rangers, though also the Maple Leafs. And then when the Hawks hit that eight-game homestand (which actually serves up a fair amount of hanging curves), the Preds see both Florida teams, the Jets, the Sharks, and the Islanders before their schedule softens up.

If the Hawks can stay where they are with the Predators through this road trip, which shouldn’t be that hard without Pekka Rinne, and then collect 13 of a possible 16 points on that homestand (look at the schedule, not unreasonable), the Preds would have to go just 5-4 through the same stretch to stay even. And by then they’ll have Rinne back. So yeah, it’s going to be tough.

Everything Else

There’s not much going on today as we roll through into a roadtrip and then the break. So I thought it might be time to delve into a little fantasy. And this year, a trade for the Hawks might be true fantasy. First, they may have already made their “deadline” deal by acquiring Kris Versteeg. That gobbled up a lot of cap space. They still have some, but not a lot. Second, it’s hard to figure out where exactly the Hawks would look to shore up. Certainly not on defense, at least I don’t think so. But what the hell?

I’m going to assume the Hawks aren’t going to move much of anything off the current roster. You occasionally hear Brent Seabrook’s name get mentioned by some loon, but we know that’s not going to happen. Johnny Oduya’s current bout of what-the-fuck might get his name thrown about, especially as the Hawks are pretty jonesin’ to open up a spot for Stephen Johns. But tossing him into a playoff chase and then playoffs is beyond the realm of possibility. So we’ll work as if that won’t happen.

According to Cap Geek, the Hawks will have about $1.1 in space at the deadline, meaning they can acquire someone who makes $5 mildo over the entire year. At least I think so. It’s hard to figure with Khabibulin’s LTIR. That doesn’t get banked exactly. So if someone wants to clear this up for me in the comments, please do.