Friday Free-For-All

With the Free Agency Faucet now slowing down to an annoyingly audible drip, there’s not a lot to kick around other than the looming trade the Hawks will need to make to get under the salary cap.

For the uninitiated, the Hawks are still approximately $2.2 million dollars over the NHL’s salary cap of $69 million. There have been numerous scenarios fleshed out both here and elsewhere for just how the Hawks can do that. And looming as always is annual self-suck known as the Blackhawks Fan Convention, where John McDonough and Jay Blunk are loathe to trot out players who will not be here come October.

Dale Tallon has piped up this week in stating he’d love to flip some of his youth for a proven scorer, and it’s of little mystery that he’s likely talking about Patrick Sharp, a player whom he famously acquired for a garbage pile of Matt Ellison and a late pick from the Flyers all the way back in late 2005. The Panthers have a ton of young forwards they could swing in a deal, whether it’s Drew Shore, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, Rocco Grimaldi, or Vincent Trocheck, all of whom are on their ELCs south of a million in their cap hits.

Adding fuel to the fire was Sharp and Brian Campbell being spotted together at a Cubs game earlier this week. Now Sharp and Campbell are friends, and Mrs. Soupy is a local whom he met during his time here, so it could all just be bros taking in a game during an offseason. But there’s still some smoke around this along with motives on both sides, so it wouldn’t be surprising if this was a bit of undercover convincing of Sharp to possibly waive his NTC to head to Sunrise.

There are obviously other options as Sharp’s $5.9 well exceeds the $2.2 needed to get under the cap, such as punting Michal Rozsival to Detroit who desperately want a right handed shot defenseman, and Johnny Oduya clearly has value in this ridiculous defeseman market. But if the convention comes and goes next with nary a peep out of the Hawks on the wire, it will not be a shock if suddenly Rozy or Versteeg undergo season-ending surgery and a little LTIR skulduggery is used to get street legal.

– Speaking of a ridiculous free agent market drying up, yesterday was Christmas For Bums around the league with Steve Ott ($2.6 million over two years), Scott Hannan ($1 million for one), and perhaps most inexplicably Dan Cleary ($1.5 million with a $1 million bonus for 10 games played) all signing with their incumbent teams, totaling $6.1 million. To put that in perspective, the Hawks signed Brad Richards ($2MM), Peter Regin ($600k), Ben Smith ($1.5MM), Jeremy Morin ($800k), and Antti Raanta ($750K), all for $5.65 million. Granted the latter three are RFA deals where the players had no leverage, but even still, Brad Richards and Peter Regin are the same cost as Steve Ott. While Richards might not work out, in a marketplace gone mad, there’s no way to dispute that Bowman has gotten value.

– In other news out of West East St. Louis, GM Doug Armstrong apparently let irritant Vlad “Don’t Call Me Ziggy” Sobotka walk to the reportedly over a $300k disagreement in salary. Whatever the actual reasons were for this gulf being insurmountable matters not to the Hawks, as Sobotka centered the Blues’ most dangerous line in the spring between Jaden Schwartz and Vlad Tarasenko. Losing him compromises their center depth even with Stastny now in the fold, as Sobotka was a handy, nasty little player who drove possession.

– Kevin Hayes will not be in attendance at this weekend’s Prospects Camp, giving further credence the idea that he’s not at all interested in waiting his turn here to play. His brother is in Florida with almost every other ex-Hawk, and half of his BC teammates are in Calgary, so those seem to be the two likely landing spots if something cannot get worked out here. At least the stairwells at Johnny’s will be poo-free, even if the rest of the facility isn’t safe.

– And for anyone attending prospects camp at Johnny’s West, don’t tell them you read this site or you’ll probably get banned for life. And bring mace.



  • TitanTransistor

    I’d prefer the Hawks keep Sharp for next season, and take one last shot at the Stanley Cup with the full core.

    If Florida is returning a piece like Bjugstad in a one-time offer, then obviously you pull the trigger now, but there’s no doubt that would make the Hawks weaker next year and decrease their chances of winning the cup.

    On the other hand Toews-Teuvo-Bjugstad-Kruger down the middle would set this team up nicely for the future. That’s some strong light at the end of the tunnel through 2015-2016’s discomfort.

  • Joe DeTolve

    Please no Rocco Grimaldi….

    • I agree with you, but he’s got pedigree and would be involved in any discussion.

      • lizmcneill

        At least we’d never hear about *Teuvo* being too small anymore!

        • Yachtsman

          And you have to love that name…Rocco Grimaldi. Sounds like a soccer or a porn star name.

          • Joe Banks

            But he’s a bit wee…

    • 2883

      As long as Grimaldi isn’t the marquee piece, I wouldn’t mind obtaining him. But I would want Bjugstad, as Huberdeau is likely untouchable.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    I’d be okay with trading Sharp if we got some solid depth players in return, but not just to get under the cap.

    • lizmcneill

      Do we really need more depth players? Seems like we’re pretty well stocked both on the big team and in the Rock.
      What we don’t have is high-end prospects, apart from Teuvo.

  • SuperHawk27

    Kind of off topic, but when are you going to finish the Exit Interviews? 🙂

  • Annette Frontpresence

    Dream trade:

    CHI gives: Sharp + Oduya
    FLA gives: Campbell (retains 1/2 salary) + conditional 2015 pick

    • Annette Frontpresence

      *Conditional 2015 1st rd pick

      Just something like if it ends up in the top 5, it gets deferred to 2016, because you know nobody’s trading unconditional 1st rounders in this draft

  • Jalamanta

    I don’t imagine Dale would be willing to part with Bjugstad. He and Barkov are going to make a nasty 1-2 at C very, very soon down in Miami. That being said, Bjugstad would give massive wood to every meatball out there. Never again would we have to hear about how small the Hawks were up front.

    I’d be all ears on Trocheck and Shore though….

    • TitanTransistor

      True, but there’s reportedly a lot of pressure for Dale to make the playoffs this season, and as high as they are on Bjugstad, they’re even higher on Huberdeau and Barkov.

      You trade a 30 goal scorer for a C on a team rife with them, and it could make sense for a team in win now mode… or a GM in ‘must save job’ mode.

  • wardrums

    Patrick Sharp’s contributions are so underestimated. the only reason that makes since to deal him now is to confront the effects of Kane and Toews combined $10 million dollar raise.

    If it has to be done, I’d vote for Huberdeau.

    But make noostake about it, the Hawks are a weaker ream without #10.

    And their handsomeness goes down

    • YoAdrienne

      I don’t think he’s going anywhere this year. The rumors are back to Oduya getting shipped.

      • Yachtsman

        Sharp’s salary/scoring numbers are enticing to other teams, but his explosiveness as a speed winger with a sniper’s shot is too valuable to the Hawks and their offensive scheme. He was most likely playing through a pretty good injury in the playoffs, and should rebound nicely this upcoming season. Any replacement for him from the farm would not replace his production. He just needs to get back to helping out more in the break out from the Dzone, rather than fleeing before the Dmen even gain control of the puck. I’m also in the camp of looking to move one of the Dmen for salary cap reasons.

        • Bannerman

          No one can, or should be expected to, replace Sharp’s production by themselves but they could do it by committee. Saad, Morin and Richards for example could be equally productive to the 2013 version of Sharp, Saad and Handzus. There’s a good chance that Mashinter and whomever will exceed Dongballs “production”. Kane will likely score more too.

  • Joe Banks

    Loved your comment about captain stairwell…

  • 2883

    I think I had a dream that Patrick Sharp was already traded. It bugged me… I have no idea who the Hawks got back in my dreams either

    • Stockroom Snail

      I had a similar dream involving Hjalmarsson. It was so real that I didn’t realize ’til I came to TCI that it was a dream.

  • Bannerman

    Who will be harder to replace: Sharp or Oduya? Given the choice of those 2 guys and only those 2, who would you deal assuming relatively equal value coming back?

    • birdhead

      Genuinely hard to say.
      – Sharp’s the team’s leading scorer and his offensive contributions are not to be sneezed at
      – He’s good value and likely stays good value
      – I like Sharp-Saad as top two LW a lot more than I like Saad-Bickell or Saad-??(Teravainen, Morin?)
      – He’s not getting any younger
      – It always seems easier to produce a good forward prospect than a good defensive prospect although rationally that can’t be so

      – Oduya played tough minutes and makes a real contribution to the Hawks’ defensive depth
      – The market for defensemen is ludicrous right now
      – Even if Oduya sticks around for the upcoming season, he’s almost certainly gone the following season given the aforesaid market
      – The Hawks have a lot of defensive prospects in Rockford that are supposed to be NHL ready
      – But expecting a prospect to come in and be a top-4 D is really hard
      – A lot of people think Leddy is not a fourth defenseman (I actually am rooting for him to get a chance but I accept that not many people agree with me)

      I said at SCH the other day that when it came to the Hawks I’d generally rather trade a forward than a defenseman but at the end of the day I don’t think you trade your leading scorer, even an aging one, before you trade your fourth defenseman.

      • Bannerman

        All good points. Here’s how I see it. Trade Oduya and you have Keith, Seabrook, Hammer, Leddy and Rosival (assuming he doesn’t also get traded) plus Rundblad who starts the season on the team or gets released, Leaving room for Johns, Dahlbeck and Clendenning to duke it out. Any of those last 3 probably get paired with Keith until they can be trusted with someone else (based on what happened when Olsen came up.) That means Hammer and Rosival with Seabrook and Leddy as the other pair.

        • lizmcneill

          Is Rozi going to skate 82 games? Also he and Jelly play the same side.

          • Bannerman

            I didn’t have time or the inclination to go through all the shuffles of the d pair deck. The point being that trading Oduya is going to shake things up a lot, perhaps even more so than trading Sharp would. I think a vet like Rozi could handle switching sides if he had a good partner but perhaps not.

          • birdhead

            He didn’t play a full season last year or the season before, though, so you’ll also have Hjammer dragging a rookie around for half the season.

            It’s an interesting proposition because most of the ones I’ve seen assume Leddy moves up to take Oduya’s spot, while the new defenseman or defensemen rotate around with Rozsival.

          • Bannerman

            Maybe they’ll try to pair Rundblad with Hammer. I just don’t see Q lining up Marlboro 72, Nick at night and then Rozi (or Rundblad) and a rookie.

          • birdhead

            I think you’re probably right about that.

          • lizmcneill

            You can’t just promote Rozi to #4, is my point.

      • 2883

        Especially if you can convince Michael Del Zotto to take a 1 year < 1 mil contract to try to rebound from his awful year as a bottom pairing dman.

        • birdhead

          That’s an intriguing proposition I hadn’t seen put forward.

        • birdhead

          Is Del Zotto just a not-as-good Leddy though?

          • 2883

            I think you’ll find that MDZ has had his share of ups and downs, young players have a larger variance in terms of their play due to confidence and other reasons. MDZ struggled last year and couldn’t get his head on straight. If not jerked around though and put with a safe partner, he’d be an adequate 2nd pairing point man on the PP (His strength) and a solid 6th dman. The team that signs him if they give him an opportunity to rebound will do very well in my opinion

          • birdhead

            I haven’t watched him enough to know so I’ll take your word for it. (All I did was have a squizz at usage charts. He’s generally been pretty sheltered but still only middle-of-the-road in #fancystats on his team, whereas Leddy has been very sheltered and responded by putting up excellent fancies – considering that I lead more favourably towards Leddy and we already have one of those; but a good partner may make a big difference.)