Be Here Now

It was rumored a week or two ago but a lot of us didn’t want to believe it. The Hawks pulled the trigger on trading Bryan Bickell and having it cost them Teuvo Teravainen to do so, shipping them to Carolina for 2nd and 3rd round picks this year. Remember, Patrick Sharp can’t get you picks in return for a salary dump but Bickell and Teuvo can. MMMMMM THAT’S GOOD GM-ING!

There are various levels on which to view this, and you can’t really judge it until we see what the Hawks get to do with the cap space they now have. Though you have to ask yourself if the $1M in savings this does over simply buying out Bickell, and the $1.5M next year, is worth losing Teuvo. I don’t think it is.

As we discussed when this rumor first popped up, Teuvo’s future had become cloudy. First and foremost, it wasn’t clear at all whether Quenneville still felt the same way about him as he did when he first came up. He was bounced all over the lineup and when finally given the center role where he belongs, he didn’t light it up. And what Quenneville says goes. But again, you’re giving up on a 23-year-old who has about a half season of experience at center in the NHL. Patience isn’t something that’s in abundance around here, and that’s somewhat justifiable. Once Kruger was re-signed, Teuvo’s spot became curious at best because are you really going to pay a 4th line center over $3 million a year? Sure, the Hawks are sort of unique how they shape their forwards but still.

The expansion draft was also a concern. There are already five forwards the Hawks have to protect in Toews, Kane, Hossa, Anisimov, and Kruger who all have some sort of no-moves. You can bet Andrew Shaw is going to be on that list, because his agent is going to look at Kruger’s NMC and be pretty strident in his client needing one too. That’s six of the seven you’re allowed to protect. Hartman is going to need protecting in the expansion draft too, as he’ll be a third year pro this year, if the Hawks still think he has a chance to be anything. Or maybe one of the other kids who goes on to prove himself this year will. Teuvo would have basically completed their set. Again, it’s up to you whether he’s worth that or not. I do.

The Hawks have quite simply made themselves older and shortened their window to whatever Duncan Kieth’s knees and Brent Seabrook’s waistline says it is now. The Hawks decided that keeping Kruger and Shaw, their known knowns, was of bigger benefit than Danault and Teuvo, who had a lot of questions and heavy contributions were farther down the line.

The Hawks now have some cap space, which they’re almost certainly going to use to re-sign Andrew Shaw which we have called a mistake for three years now. Shaw is a fine player but he is the exact type of bottom six winger you have to be able to replace within your own system. And now he’s probably your 4th line center, so see how that works out for everyone (though granted that’s a fuck of a lot better than 2nd line center). If Ryan Hartman can’t do most of what Shaw does now as a first round pick, then Stan’s got some ‘splainin to do. There’s also the question of signing Panarin after this, and should he put up another season like this one he might be thinking of something that starts with a 6, though as just an RFA he’d be hard pressed to get it.

If Shaw comes in between $3-$4 million (anything higher than that would be utter lunacy), the Hawks would have eight forwards signed with somewhere between $7-$10 million in space, depending on what the cap comes in at with escalators or not. I would imagine two of Hinostroza, Hartman, Motte, and possibly McNeill (the longest shot) are going to be on the Opening Night roster for cheap, so the Hawks would still need two or three forwards to complete a set.

If they cheap those out too, they might have enough to offer Brian Campbell or the like  a one year deal somewhere between $4-$5 million. That might just be enough to tempt him to come back and take one more run, and honestly, that’s all the Hawks might have left.

Trying to see what the lineup looks like, in a best case-scenario, goes something like this?

?-Toews-Motte

Panarin-Anisimov-Kane

?-Kruger-Hossa

Hinostroza-Shaw-Desjardins

Keith-Hammer

Campbell-Seabrook

TVR-Gustafsson/Svedberg/Pokka/Another Tomato Can

Yes, I’m listing Hossa as a third-liner, because let’s be clear, that’s what he is now. He can play with Toews and you can still use them to cancel out other teams’ scoring lines, but he’s not going to score there. We know this.

That’s a decent team, more than that if Crawford repeats what he did last year. It needs a move or two for anyone to play with Toews, and a rookie or two to actually contribute. But does that strike you as something that can run with the Stars or power through the Blues? Granted they have their own flaws as well but still.

What’s most discouraging about this trade though is the Hawks lose yet another young player who could have helped for basically nothing. Nick Leddy was traded for nothing (though Pokka may turn that around). Stephen Johns lost for literally nothing. Tevuo now for picks that at best won’t do anything on the roster for three years. Dahlbeck for a rental of Vermette. Dano for a rental of Ladd, which didn’t go as well as Vermette. Danault for Weise and Fleischmann. Again, it’s debatable what all these players turn out to be, but I’m fairly sure they’re at least going to be competent NHL-ers. Coudl they all have made for a cheap, supporting cast for the core? Yes, Saad was traded for Anisimov, but now that deal is straight up and Anisimov isn’t nearly as good and older. And ouchy.

As we said when this idea first popped up, the Hawks and their fans might just have to get used to the idea that they’ve got two years to add a 4th Cup. When that whole defense crosses into their 30s, they’ll still be good but would need a ton of fortune to make another run. I think Stan has come to realize this, even if it’s partly by his hand and/or what he was forced into by his coach. So maybe he’s just going all in and then we can start calling him Ruben Bowman Jr. in a few years.

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