Cleaning Up After The Furor

Now that the siege of July 1 is over and the Hawks have picked their lot, we’re left to sit and wait out the rest of the summer as the Hawks bleed out the rest of the moves they’re going to make. So just want to clean up some thoughts as we begin to hit down time.

-The Hawks only made one move, signing Viktor Tikhonov, which is interesting if nothing else. He has first round pedigree, and was somewhat unlucky to be promoted to the NHL too soon and under coach Gretzky, which you’ll remember was not a very pleasant experience for anyone. That clearly stunted his development. I don’t know that his numbers in the K make anyone spit out their drink, and he may just end up Rockford depth. But it’s clear the Hawks are going to give themselves plenty of options on the wings.

The only wings for sure on next year’s roster are whichever of Teuvo or Dano isn’t used as a center, Kane, Hossa, Panarin and Shaw. Any or all of Sharp, Bickell, and Versteeg could be gone. And Danault (also could be a center), McNeill, Morin, Tropp, Tikhonov, Hartman and maybe one or two more are going to scrap for what could be as many as three spots open or as little as one, depending on who’s traded. Someone’s going to earn it, that’s for sure.

-There’s one name out there that I really hope the Hawks are looking at, and that’s David Schlemko (and yes, I like saying “Schlemko,” which is part of this). Schlemko only made 1.2 million last year and I doubt he’s going to get an increase from anyone off of that. His peripherals are almost off the charts. He’s been a +4% Corsi relative his past two years on three different teams, and Calgary and Arizona were possession allergic. He generates shots at a rate much higher than a normal third pairing d-man. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but the third pairing right now needs more a mover than a free safety. This could be a sneaky good signing if the Hawks do want a veteran to anchor TVR. Check out this chart:



-Looking around the conference, I don’t see where anyone has taken a leap forward yet other than possibly the Flames, which will probably be balanced out by a correcting of their luck next season. The Blues have basically made a lateral move in giving up Oshie for Troy Brouwer, and will hope Rattie can make the team full-time. The Wild added Mike Reilly. The Predators actually paid Mike Ribeiro, and will now get the uncaring one before he loses his entire salary to his former nanny. The Wild and Preds will be counting on development from their young players to be better, which is not the worst idea in the world.

In the Pacific, I don’t know that Bieksa from Beauchemin is all that big of an upgrade anymore. Bieksa’s performance severely dropped the past two years in Vancouver and he’s an injury risk. The Kings watched their center depth end up in the Stoney Lonesome, and replaced useful Justin Williams with dumber and slower Milan Lucic. They don’t have a real puck mover behind Doughty unless you think it’s Alec Martinez, and that’s 50-50.

Whereas I thought it would be a real struggle for the Hawks next year, if they can find a way to hold onto Sharp and see his percentages correct and have a couple things go right (like Dano and Anisimov producing and Johns being everything we think he can) it feels like they have every chance again.

-I want to head this off at the pass if possible. Brandon Saad hasn’t gotten an offer sheet yet, and I know it won’t be long before people lose their minds about it and wonder what the Hawks were so afraid of. It’s important to note the difference in situations. The Hawks certainly had a limit on what they could match. The Jackets most certainly don’t, so teams are figuring it’s a waste of time for now. That means the Jackets can wait him out a bit, and he might just end up signing for not that much more than the Hawks wanted him at. But the Hawks probably couldn’t have waited him out, as someone was likely to come in with an offer sheet. Keep this in mind, it’ll be hard for all of us to stay calm.


  • birdhead

    -I want to head this off at the pass if possible. Brandon Saad hasn’t gotten an offer sheet yet, and I know it won’t be long before people lose their minds about it and wonder what the Hawks were so afraid of. It’s important to note the difference in situations. The Hawks certainly had a limit on what they could match. The Jackets most certainly don’t, so teams are figuring it’s a waste of time for now. That means the Jackets can wait him out a bit, and he might just end up signing for not that much more than the Hawks wanted him at. But the Hawks probably couldn’t have waited him out, as someone was likely to come in with an offer sheet. Keep this in mind, it’ll be hard for all of us to stay calm.

    No matter how true this might be realistically speaking, in practice I am still going to lose my shit when he inevitably gets 5 years at $4m.

    • Dug

      Good article. The teams that were going to sign Saad to an offer sheet have every incentive not to now. They want him to sign a bridge deal until cap increases hopefully in a couple years and try to grab him then. And Saad most likely wants a bridge deal too now at or above $5 mill. He probably doesn’t want to be locked in Columbus for 5+ years since they will match anything.

    • ZigZags82

      If he gets 5 years at 4 million, I will go ballistic no matter the return we got. Would be BS.

    • Jim

      Saad is gone, doesn’t matter what happens now, but it’s an interesting story. I do not believe the Saad camp anticipated this unfolding of events. If he could have got 5M with the Hawks he had the chance to be a legend, and make solid bank. Stan’s trade must have stunned them, and now they are left with little leverage, and CBJ can sweat them out. Saad was ill advised, that’s my opinion, too bad for the kid, and too bad for Hawks fans.

      I’ll miss the chat room SAAD!!! and KNEEL!! after he scores a goal. And he’s going to miss his buddies Toews and Hossa.

    • chichicagochi

      He’ll get 5+ or holdout.

      • HarryBalzonya

        Yeah, there is no logical reason to think that he would suddenly come way down. The damage has been done and now he is on the blue jackets. If he was willing to come down, he would have done it to stay on a good team. There is no benefit at all to him taking less money now. An out-of-town discount to play on a worse team?

    • Just the Facts

      If Saad gets 5 years at $4 million, I will lose my shit too. However, all my anger will be directed at Saad’s agent who overplayed his hand with a bluff demand and ended up getting his client traded to Columbus when he could have had the same deal from the Hawks. Also, not happy with Saad trying to deflect all questions to his agent. Sure you rely on your agent, but when you demand more money that the Hawks can pay under the cap, don’t act as though you wanted to stay. You don’t need to be an agent to understand that if you demand more than is realistically available under the cap, the Hawks won’t be able to sign you. It’s also not hard to understand that the Hawks can’t leave the issue open until July 1st and risk an offer sheet they can’t match.
      At this point, I doubt another team will sign him to an offer sheet since Columbus has the cap room to match the deal. So all his leverage is out the window. All he can do is threaten to sit out, which will piss off the Columbus fans, and he will end up losing money if Columbus calls his bluff.
      It will be very disappointing if it all could have worked out with the Hawks but for the blunder of his agent.

      • Pete

        Saad overplayed his hand and now he is stuck in Columbus instead of the premier NHL franchise. If you factor in endorsements and the long term situation he will likely make less money than by staying here. Dumb move by Saad and I do blame his dad for not realizing that leaving Chicago was bad for his son. Urlacher did the same thing, refusing to sign that last contract over ego and burning bridges and hurting himself in the process. 4 million in Chicago is way better long term that 6 million in Columbus and that is if he gets the 6 million. Too bad but people never learn.

        • Guackycom


  • SuperHawk27

    Doesn’t matter what Saad signs for now. Any reaction is a waste of energy because its an apples and oranges situation like you said. CBJ gave them a perfect out when everyone else was going to hang them out to dry then pick at the scraps.

  • krom

    I think Saad will likely end up just a tad over what the Hawks were offering moneywise (no guess on how term will play out).
    Then he’ll be left wondering if he wouldn’t have been way better off with the Hawks offer and playing alongside Toews until he hits UFA status.

  • Doog

    Haven’t seen any thoughts on this, but didn’t trading Saad for two centers make resigning Kruger less of a priority? I’m not advocating getting rid of Marcus because he is the kind of role-player that helps great players win championships. But the Hawks have more options with 16 now. Or, from a different perspective, the checking line center position.

    • Sarcastic Mike

      I don’t know if it is less of a priority, but it does give the Hawks more leverage in negotiations. Not desperate for centers and don’t have to overpay him.

    • Jim

      I think any time you can get a center as productive as Kruger, who can win faceoffs, PK, and go against the opponents top lines in playoff situations, he’s a huge priority. Add to that he’s plugged into the system, and in the 2M range, not easy to replace all of that.

  • harshboy

    The deal with offer sheets is that only salary cap challenge teams get them( Hawks). That’s what happens to cash strapped teams. Saad got fucked by his agent because he trusted him. He should’ve been more present during this process. I’m very sad he’s gone but stanbo is so good at fitting pieces to this core that I know we will be in the thick of it again next April. I dreamt I saw saad and he was crying saying wtf just happened. Very sad dream indeed.

    • Jim

      Word is that Saad’s dad, who is a successful businessman, instructed Saad’s camp to go for the 6.5M (or at least the big payday, long term contract). My guess is the agent went as instructed, and Stan pulled the trigger before they could react.

      • Harshboy

        I hadn’t heard that but you might be right. The sad part is now Saad will probably sign a bridge contract for no more than 5 mil… Now Columbus has him by the short hairs and that blows. I feel for him but you don’t fuck with the 3 time in 6 years world champs. You are not bigger than the indian head!

        • Jim

          It all worked out. Hawks got a couple of guys with upside who can be slotted in as centers, that are much more contract friendly. Saad will get what his camp wanted, which was to push the salary envelope. He may find out that envelope edge means 5M + Columbus.

        • HarryBalzonya

          Columbus doesn’t have any leverage over Saad. In fact they have less than the Hawks did. They have already given up a bunch of assets to get him, so they need him much more than he needs them. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him get the 6.5M he is asking for.

      • Sarcastic Mike

        Any word if they were expecting Columbus or were thinking hometown Pittsburgh was their backup position? Wonder if they mistakenly thought they controlled their destiny because they have to accept an offer sheet. Now PIT has Kessel and can’t be used for leverage. That’s my theory, anyway.

        • Jim

          I think they were thinking Chicago all the way, overplaying the sentiment factor, and the fact that Saad is a fan favorite. Then, they were as shocked as the rest of us when Stan had a trade already lined up and pressed the button on it. Stan didn’t have time to mess around, it was free agent moving day, he has a team to ice and can’t let a single holdout tie up all his options, even if that holdout was somebody he wanted to keep.

          (btw, I love that name, Stan..knowing his dad named him after the Cup, heh)

  • Brandon Murray

    Good cleanup and I think I agree on Schlemko. I also want to see Kruger signed, even with the pickups we got from eCo-Lumbus. I’m officially over the Saad thing. Kid is a great hockey player but has not earned a 6-6.5 million dollar payday yet. Jackets may not sign him for that much, but Fels is right. Teams are waaaay more aggressive with their offer sheets when they know a team is strapped and can’t match because in reality, losing draft picks for a proven player is totally worth it.

    When a team is near the cap floor or has room to spare, teams will feel it out and wait to see before showing their hand. As I’ve said for 2 days, I hate losing guys, but my eyes have seen 3 Cups in 6 years after a 32 year lifetime of none and some pretty shitty hockey so I’ll roll with the Bowman boys on this one.

  • Preacher

    The fact that Saad said he was “shocked” that he was traded tells me he didn’t know it was a very real possibility. And that tells me that either Stan didn’t make them aware of it or his agent didn’t communicate it to him very well. Hearing Stan on NHL Network yesterday say that no matter how long the negotiations had gone on it wouldn’t haven’t gotten done says this is an agent thing, pure and simple. It just plain sucks.

    Now, are the Hawks better than they were last season?
    Will Saad continue to improve? Especially without his playing partners of the last two seasons?
    All we can do is wait and see.

    • Pete

      If Saad’s instruction to his agent was anything other than get as much money as possible in this contract regardless of how it plays out long term then its on the agent. If Saad/his dad did tell the agent that then its on Saad and his dad, probably the latter. Now he is stuck in a little town where they try to save money because they don’t have money. With the Hawks its about the cap not trying to save a few bucks and in the long run Saad would have made more money etc in a big market for the premier franchise in the league via endorsements and otherwise. Bad move by Saad. I am assuming Stan was willing to pay around 4 million, if not then Stan is to blame. That’s how I see it.

      • Guackycom

        Totally agree. Over the course of a career (barring career-ending injuries) someone like Saad makes waaaaay more money and has much better post career prospects if he’s in a big market making headlines by winning cups and scoring goals thanks to the hard work of sure-fire HOFs like Toews Hossa Kane Keith not to mention the second tier. Dumb move, and I think his comments show that he is not at all happy about it. Whether the instructions to the agent weren’t clear, or Bowman just called their bluff (good for you, Stan! It’s an investment in future negotiations) I guess we will never know unless Saad changes agent soon. Now please, don’t get cute on Kruger, and I’d love to see Oduya back too — that was a gutsy SCF by him.

  • Jim
    • HawkIPA

      Great news. Now let’s get Kruger back in the fold.

      • What if Kruger/Oduya are back in the fold just waiting for salary clear out?

    • Pete

      Desi’s back!!! Nice! And the contract works for the Hawks.

  • So many moving parts right now… Regardless with the signing of #11 you’re either looking at a 4th line of:

    Shaw – Danault – Desi
    – or –
    Shaw – Kruger – Desi
    – or –
    TBD – Kruger – Desi (with Shaw being shipped out)

  • HawkeyTalk

    So is Saad’s girlfriend moving to O-HI-O too?! Oops Saad forgot about that! Ah well here’s some good lookers in Ohio too so cheer up Man Child….

  • HawkeyTalk

    No discussion about two off-season duds: Oduya and Bickell…. nobody wants ’em…..tells you something…. I just hope one of the other 29 teams picks up Oduya before Stan gets goofy and thinks about bringing him back.

    • Think Oduya’s waiting to see if the Hawks can move enough salary out and bringing Oduya back is not the worst thing in the world. You’d have your top-4 D back with the extra firepower brought in.

  • HawkeyTalk

    I’m awaiting Rozsival’s retirement announcement too! Before Stan goes goofy on him too! Hey Stan stick with bringing the D kids up from Rockford….they have to be faster than 32 and 27!

  • FarmBoy11B

    I like Saad, and wish he could have stayed in Chicago, and thus am not going to bash him. However, the reason people are upset is because he was quoted as saying “The money is going to come and go, but to win championships and play on a great team, that’s what it’s all about.” And then he apparently didn’t communicate that sentiment to his agent. Or something else. That’s why Chicago fans are upset with the young man.