Free Agency Primer

It may seem like the Hawks are going to have a quiet free agency, just like they had a quiet draft. Of course, if they don’t get Saad and Kruger locked up by Wednesday, it could get pretty interesting in a hurry. It’s already started a bit, as David Rundblad was signed to a two year extension today at a $1M cap hit. It may seem strange, and we didn’t see him in the picture, but as we’ve said before Stan is absolutely loathe to lose any asset for free if he doesn’t absolutely has to. We saw this with Scott and Bollig and others. Especially assets he had to give up other assets to get. He’s probably praying day and night that Rundblad can show just enough to be some throw-in in a deadline deal. Rundblad could also be sent down and only 75K would count against the cap, but just for shits and giggles that puts five d-men for sure on next year’s roster in Keith, Seabrook, Hammer, Johns, TVR, and Rundblad. If Paliotta or Pokka or Svedberg or unforeseen underdog can wow in camp, that probably puts Rundblad in Rockford.

So that leaves just one slot on the blue line to be filled by a veteran willing to take less to be on a competitor, and there are a couple out there who might. Even though we all know it’s going to be Barret Jackman because Q will only remember their days together in St. Louis instead of all the times the past eight years that Kane has turned him into plasma and flotsam. But let’s pretend for a second that might not happen. Who else?

Christian Ehrhoff – Admittedly the longest of long shots. However his agent came out today and said he’s only looking to sign for a contender, though they  all say that. Ehrhoff still has his Buffalo money coming in from now until eternity, so money might not be a concern. Looking at the Hawks pairings right now and how they like to set them up, with one pusher and one free safety per pairing, it’s the pusher they lack. Johns figures to be the more aggressive of any pairing, which is why having Hammer flip to his natural side to pair with Johns seems the best way to bed him in. You have Keith and Seabrook. TVR is not that player, especially on one mangled leg. Ehrhoff fits that bill perfect, and also can replace some point work on the power play the Hawks have lost through Leddy and most likely Richards as well. Would he take a $2 million, one year deal? Unlikely, but not totally impossible.

Francois Beauchemin – I know it seems weird to put a d-man here the Hawks just finished stripping for parts, but that was a first pairing d-man in Anaheim and not a third pairing role which he would have here. Again, might not be willing to take what little money the Hawks have to offer, but also would seem to be the perfect tutor for Johns if Q wanted to reunite TVR and Keith as he did early in the season. Is the  PK/shot-blocking meatbag that Rozsvial was. If you could get him cheap enough, not the worst idea in the world.

Zybnek Michalek – See above.

Marek Zidlicky – McClure and I came up with a term when this name came up at the deadline. It’s “Zidlicky Drunk.” Meaning how drunk we would be to survive watching this cowboy try and play. That’s a no.

Scott Hannan – Oh dear lord, this is going to happen, isn’t it? Think Rozsival, now make him a lefty and then severely beat him over the head for half an hour. I suppose, if I want to be kind, it would be better than Tim Gleason. It might not be better than Jackman, which is all you need to know.

We’ll go through some forwards tomorrow who might be able to fill in for cheap as well if they’re willing to take it on the cheap.

  • lizmcneill

    Erhoff is on 4M with the Pens, who were considered contenders when he signed, I think. So can’t see him coming here.

  • The_Cheeb

    Kings have terminated the contract of Mike Richards, for “material breach”.
    If that B.S. holds up, they avoid the cap hit penalty.
    Could be interesting….. or does the NHL turn a blind eye and let this happen?

    • TitanTransistor

      Kings couldn’t terminate Richards without NHL approval. They gave them the OK.

      The NHLPA and Richards lawyers may have something to say about it though.

      • The_Cheeb

        I’m hearing that the cap penalty would remain in place, even if the termination goes through. I hope it’s true, that’s all that matters to me.

        • TitanTransistor

          It’s the cap recapture penalty, but it only applies to the years served.

          The penalty would be 1.32M per year, for 6 years or so. Much less than they would have to pay with a buyout, which would have cap hit years of up to 4.2.

        • Cluster_Puck

          Some sort of border incident.

      • HawkIPA

        Gotta wonder what goods the Kings have on Richards. Lombardi is a lawyer. They wouldn’t do this unless they felt that had a clear basis.

    • Bob in EP

      Makes me wonder if he’s perceived as a ringleader in the revolt against Sutter. They got problems in LA.

  • Hags

    sign me up for Frenchie if the Hawks go out and sign a vet, he will be more than serviceable as 3rd pairing guy.

  • TitanTransistor

    Dean Lombardi is the dark wizard of NHL GMs.

    • DJ

      Only if he gets away with this. His wizardry would be extra impressive as he’s spent the entire past week all but confessing his stupidity for not buying Richards out last summer.

  • Jim

    Maybe there is another Richards out there, a guy who is willing to take less money to try and get a cup.

    Edit: BRAD Richards, not Mike

    • WookRN

      Why, I heard Mike Richards is DOPE.
      Wait… what’s that…. oh he HAS d… nevermind.

      • Sopel the catfish

        He was just trying to help Stoll out…

  • 334Rules

    Not for nothing (and I’m certainly not saying this to encourage an acquisition of Jackman), but if you disqualified every D-man Kaner has embarrassed, you wouldn’t have many options left.

  • Cluster_Puck

    Zawaski says Hawks/Saad far apart.

    • Guackycom

      I bought Saad’s jersey about 20 games in to his rookie season and wear it to very game since then (and a few at home when extra good karma is required) but . . . at what price is the impact on the ability to construct a sensible roster too great? If you let Saad walk, what happens? Keep Vermette? Sharp? Richards? Get Ehrhoff? I want to see Saad in an indianhead forever but does there come a point where it no longer makes sense?

      • Say what again

        Yeah, I believe we may be rounding that corner.

        • Black JEM

          The new NHL is such that pretty soon there will be nowhere for the mid-level talent to play. Squeezed from the 4 or 5 elite level players on each roster – no one else will make more than 3M a year.

      • WookRN

        Say you lose Saad, but keep Vermette, Richards, and Kruger… is that worth is?
        Dude is a GREAT player. He’s also given a line with Toews and Hossa. I’m not saying that what I said is possible for the money (probably not, lets be honest) but say it were… you now have, what, 5+ centers? Or you lose Vermette for Desjardins. Or a third pair D-man. I agree… it’s a lot to consider…

  • Preds place Stalberg on waivers. I’m sure Edzo is having a nice chortle over that.

  • SAMCRO Outlaw

    Why the FUCK can’t someone remind Q that he took over an incredibly young roster when he “consulted” his way into the position, then went out and did his damn job & coached them into disciplined NHL players. So get on board with coaching some young players again and forget about the piece of SHIT that is Barrett Jackman. I don’t care if it’s just a rumor, that’s still to close for that dbag to ever being in an Indianhead! FUCK HIM!!!