With the Hawks having lost four of six (which constitutes a real streak for them), and their lack of depth in both the blue line and at forward getting exposed by the better teams in the West, the volume of calls for trades, any trades, is certainly getting to crescendo-levels. While the emotion certainly is understandable, the Hawks and their fans are going to find two problems. 1) Thanks to their cap situation, and Artemi Panarin’s 1.75m bonus for finishing among the top-10 in scoring among forwards, the Hawks aren’t going to be able to solve all their problems at the deadline and 2) There really aren’t any perfect solutions out there for even one of their problems. Let’s go through them, shall we?
Andrew Ladd: This is the name that everyone wants, partly because it’s a name and player everyone recognizes and has fond memories of, and he’s probably the best available. Here’s the thing though: If Andrew Ladd is the best name definitely out there, what you’ve got on your hands is a mediocre market.
Physical wingers like Ladd tend not to age well. And Ladd is already on something of a decline. Ladd is a fine player, but that might be the extent of it. This is the first season he’s been under the team rate for possession, though he’s getting worse zone starts than he has before. He’s averaging the least amount of time at evens since he went to Atlanta. And while it’s easy to say things will improve on Toews’s and Hossa’s wing, Hossa isn’t really that much of a force anymore and second Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler aren’t exactly incompetent teammates. Wheeler is what Hossa used to be and is still treated as such.
Throw in the fact that it’s rumored one team has already offered a prospect and a first round pick and you’d have to assume the price is going to go up from that between now and Sunday. As we’ve speculated the Hawks just might not care about picks anymore because it’s possible they only have this year and next to really be frontline contenders. But still, that’s awfully steep.
Eric Staal: The Hawks have been rumored to kick the tires on Staal, even though it’s still not clear if the Canes are going to give up their playoff chase. Then again, giving up Staal might not be that much of a detriment to said chase. Staal is still a very good possession player and would certainly benefit from better linemates. But he doesn’t score anymore and getting his cap hit into the books even for less than 20 games is still going to be a real trick. Staal has been on the unlucky side but this is the fourth straight season his shooting-percentage has dropped. He has one goal this calendar year.
Mikkel Boedker: Um… he kinda sucks. He’s been getting clocked worse than an already bad possession team in Arizona, isn’t exactly a prolific scorer anyway, and other than be fast I’m not sure what he does all that well. It’s a warm body that could either play in the bottom six or not let you down on Toews’s wing… but he really isn’t going to provide miracles. Jiri Sekac is basically Boedker-lite.
Jiri Hudler: More of what the Hawks need, but is he the kind of name you’re eating up all of your cap space for? Also… I hate his face.
Loui Eriksson: Would seem to be as close to a perfect solution you can get, but I can’t see the Bruins moving him when they’re still in the thick of the playoff race and the Hawks just aren’t going to have much the Bruins want (who need all the help on the blue line they can find). Still, this is probably best, but would also not allow for any addition on the blue line which is becoming obvious to everyone the Hawks need.
As for the defense…
Keith Yandle: Expensive, and Q would basically disembowel him after about three games.
Dan Hamhuis: Expensive, wouldn’t allow for a forward to be added, and has been on the decline for a couple years. Barely holding on on a Pacific Division team. Central Division playoffs?
Justin Schultz: See Yandle, Keith. Lessen disemboweling time to two games.
J.M. Liles: Has a no-move clause, the Canes need to make the playoffs if they can, but about as good as you can do.
Kris Russell: Good lord no. I can’t “no” this enough. There isn’t enough “no” in the world.
The Hawks have to do something, even though every other team in the West has huge flaws as well. The top end of the roster can hide a multitude of sins. But fans shouldn’t expect that any player they acquire is going to solve everything for them.