NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Pittsburgh Penguins

The Forward Jam

You may have missed it today, so if you did our compatriot Chris Block did some excellent work on Teuvo Teravainen today and a few other things.

What Block concludes is kind of what I’ve always thought, that Teuvo is going to have to go out of his way to not be on the team by the holidays. He very well may start in Rockford, but he certainly isn’t going to finish there. As we’ve said all along, you can always tell when Q and Stan really like a player in the system, and those players always tend to find their way onto the roster.

Of course, all that means there’s even more of a jam among the Hawks forwards then there was before, especially if Teuvo earns a spot right out of camp. There are currently 14 forwards listed on the Hawks, and Teuvo isn’t one of them. And it’s a little less clear than the blue line who might move. At least on the defense, we know that Rozsival, Oduya, and or Leddy are probably the most likely to go and in that order.

Up front it’s not as clear. Obviously, the first choice for most would be Versteeg, but getting anyone to take that money is going to be a real trick and you figure if that were going to happen it probably would have already. Block suggest Jeremy Morin could be the man out, and that’s probably true, but Morin is probably your best Sharp-injury insurance.

Past those two, it’s hard to see who else they would try to move. The only other name we’ve heard is Bickell now that the Sharp stuff has calmed down since the draft. That would cure the Hawks cap problems, though take away a lot of the size they have up front. This seems like a break-glass kind of move. His playoff numbers could probably convince some GM to take him, as would Andrew Shaw’s flexibility and value money-wise. But I don’t see that happening at all.

At least with Teuvo, the Hawks have flexibility and depth they haven’t before. Remember last year when Toews was hurt we all saw Handzus/Shaw skating as a top line center, and no one wants that at a time when the Hawks might need points unlike the last month of last season when they kind of didn’t. Now, Richards or Teuvo could slot between Hossa and Sharp or whatever the concoction is, with Kruger, Shaw, and Regin behind that and you’d feel that could get the Hawks out of a couple weeks if need be.

Teuvo also acts as something of Kane-injury insurance as well, or Hossa. Not that he’ll produce like those guys, but you could have Teuvo skate there for two-three weeks and feel better about it than Shaw and Smith slotting up and whoever would then take their place.

Teuvo essentially makes the Hawks’ depth go from impressive to other-worldly, which is not a bad thing when you know Hossa, Sharp, Richards, and one or two others are likely to miss some time. In fact, the Hawks have been pretty lucky with injuries the past few years, as the only time they’ve been without multiple stars was the end of last regular season when they were entrenched in 3rd in the division. You feel they could weather that for at least a little bit now.

 

  • bmwchifan

    Block’s comment re Morin is ridiculous. Why would Morin be an option since the absence of his salary of $800,000 wouldn’t put them anywhere near getting under the cap this year?! Not to mention he looked terrific in his late (regular) season games with the Hawks. He deserves, and will get, a real opportunity this year, and if he is successful, his low salary will also be helpful in 2015-2016 when the new Toews and Kane contracts kick in.

    • http://www.nosqldatabases.com Derek Stainer

      I think the point is he’d be the sweetner of the deal, i.e. not taking Rozi unless Morin comes too (at least that’s what I interpreted it as).

      • JG

        I think you’re both a bit right. Morin would be a bit of a sweetner, but he made it seem like he had no faith in morin to be a regular on the hawks. I’m also not quite so high on having tt be a regular this year (barring injury). I’d rather him play center every game and solidify his 2-way game. I get a little scared imagining him getting stuck on the ice in the playoffs having to cover Getzlaf/Kopitar/Carter.

        Also don’t quite get why fels wants to keep leddy so much? I don’t want to lose him, but losing oduya puts leddy in the top 4, which has trainwreck potential. Having a second pairing act as our shutdown is a huge benefit that helped bring us a second cup. Putting leddy as #4 would end that.

        • mightymikeD

          not neccesarily. The likes of Stephen Johns or Dahlbeck operating alongside a defense-first guy like Hjammer is the ideal place for them to learn the game, rather than paired with Roszie, RUNDBLAD etc. For an example, see the Wild pairing Brodin with Suter on their top pairing..
          So while you could say that “Leddy is overpaid for 3rd Pair”, that allows a guy on an ELC to be on the 2nd, and you still have a solid 3rd

          • JG

            Not disagreeing, I’m just thinking on a team with serious cup aspirations, a you PROBABLY don’t want a rookie playing the hardest minutes on the team. When i play out the next few years in my head, ideally you plug in one rookie at a time, on the 3rd pairing. Just to soften the blow of inexperience. I was originally thinking trade leddy, plug in Dahlbeck, next year let oduya go, plug in johns.
            Ya Brodin, knocks my argument, but idk if any of these guys can jump in to the nhl as smoothly as him. IMO i would hate to have a rookie play 20-25 minutes against Getzlaf/Kopitar/Seguin in game 7 of the WCF.
            Realistically a young guy will have to be in there, i just prefer those minutes be sheltered on the 3rd pairing (at least during the playoffs)

          • Bannerman

            Marlboro 72 goes back to the top pair if they trade Oduya. The offense from the blue line suffers a little. The Hawks believe in Rundblad. They’ve wanted him for a while and maybe this is the reason why. I wouldn’t be shocked if he was paired with Hammer while Leddy and Dahlbeck/ Johns plays “sheltered” minutes.

          • 2883

            I would think that Qual Comp is an equally important “learning” curve in addition to whom your partner is. The Hawks could put Rundblad and/or Dahlbeck together and then give them sheltered minutes. That sheltering may allow them to be brought along slowly and develop chemistry..

            (I used those two as a hypothetical example).

  • Korab22

    Good article by Block. My only disagreement is his perception of last season. Resigning Rozsival and Handzus, and then trading for Versteeg always gave me the sense the Hawks were all-in trying to win it all in 2014. I never viewed it as a reload year. Then, to catch some breaks and get home ice throughout the playoffs after Round 1 and face an injured Jonathan Quick in the WCF, it still stings as a missed opportunity more than anything.

  • raditzzzz

    launch versteeg into the sun please.

    teuvo should make the team outta camp, move shaw to the wing, slot teuvo to 3rd line center, and let him replace richards on the second line if he is stumbling.

    • mightymikeD

      I have a sneaking suspicion (and it’s mostly a hunch) that as and when Teuvo gets blooded in the NHL it’ll be on the wing, at least to start with

      • Bannerman

        That only happens if they trade Sharp which would likely create a revolving door at top 6 left wing. Tuevo makes more sense as a center on the 3rd line, other other scoring line.

    • Joe Banks

      Versteeg into the sun…
      Many people say that with his knee fully healed, we will see the Versteeg of old this year.
      Personally, my concerns about Versteeg are about 4 feet higher than his knee.

      • HjammerTime

        I also find his hair very concerning…

  • Joe Banks

    All I know is, sometime soon… the Blackhawks will part with someone I really like. And I’m dreading this… time will tell.

  • Joe Banks

    Tropical Storm Cristobal not considered a threat…

    • 2883

      It’ll give up a few soft goals but all in all it’ll just be an overpaid backup

  • ballyb11

    “In fact, the Hawks have been pretty lucky with injuries…………”

    Huge understatement.

  • jordyhawk

    If Richards pans out then it might be best to leave TT in Rockford for awhile (provided he is learning which I don’t know happens that much down there).

    I still don’t know why unloading Versteeg has to be that tough. The $2.2 million is not that much and his deal is up after next year. There are lots of teams way under the cap who need scoring so where is the risk?

    If we need to add a sweetener, I would much rather it be a Broadhurst or Garret Ross than Morin who looks to be clearly on the verge of making an impact.