Ok, this won’t be too hard to try and get our arms around, will it?
Let’s all breathe. It’s not too hard to figure out what went down here. We said just a few weeks ago that hometown discounts are generally things agents and unions frown upon. Secondly, this is a weird kind of negotiation, where the Hawks wanted a bridge deal and Saad’s camp wanted long-term big paper. The problem with that is there really isn’t any middle ground. You can’t sign a four-year bridge deal. You don’t get much relief by paying Saad over $5.5 million for two years. It’ s kind of one or the other. The Hawks had an idea of what they wanted to do. It’s obvious Saad’s camp had quite another.
If you didn’t see our retweet of Bob MacKenzie, he had it that Saad was looking for six years at $6.5 million. Quite simply, that’s ludicrous. We’re talking about a player who has yet to put up a 30-goal season wanted 50% more per year than Max Pacioretty, who has two 35+ goal seasons. You simply cannot pay that.
If that’s what Saad’s agent was asking, he probably knows someone was going to offer it. In fact, it very well may have been Columbus. So Jarmo may have called Stan and said, “You can have this now, or I’m just going to do the offer sheet and you’ll get three picks. Your choice.” You may think the picks sound better, and maybe they would be in the long run. But the Hawks aren’t in the long run business right now. And simply taking the picks would have left this team next season seriously handicapped.
Because it’s not like nothing is coming back. Artem Anisimov isn’t too much different than the departing Vermette. Not quite the defensive player, but possibly a little more offensive flash. Marko Dano is a 1st round pick with a lot of potential who can really move. Tropp and Morin are just strange, though I kind of like the idea that Stan is just going to force Morin on Q until the end of time. Whatever the first two end up being, they can contribute to next year’s team which those three picks most certainly can’t. And there ain’t much on the free agent market that would help if you just held onto the cap space.
Secondly, there must not have been any offers for Patrick Sharp that the Hawks feel was worth it (which is kind of curious if Zac Fucking Rinaldo is worth a third). While the rest of the league might fear Sharp being some sort of dressing room problem (and I’m not sure buying that), the Hawks just won a Cup with him so they probably don’t care about it too much. I would imagine Sharp sticks around because without him, Killion is going to be playing left wing.
That doesn’t mean this isn’t a huge risk and our problem. Saad was supposed to be the young anchor along with Teuvo to extend the window. Even if they can keep Sharp, how many more years are they going to get out of Sharp? Even if we say most of his lack of production last year was due to bad luck, and a good deal was, he probably only has two-three good years left. Saad has 10. Throw Hossa into the equation…
There’s more curious about this. After losing out on Mike Reilly to Minnesota, it seems really odd that they would then lose Paliotta so quickly after trying so hard to sign him. They’d better hope TVR, Svedberg, and Pokka can make us forget Paliotta was every briefly a Hawk.
It’s not a good look when you lose Leddy and Saad within a year, and don’t let them tell you that was the plan. Rozsival’s and Bickell’s contract, along with the acquisition of Versteeg are what got you that. While Stan has earned some benefit of the doubt, there’s no dressing that up (though I don’t know Bickell’s contract was exclusively his decision).
I hesitate to start to speculate what it means for next year’s lineup because there’s probably more coming. I’m sure what they envision is one where Bickell and Steeger aren’t around, and it looks something like this:
Dano-Anisimov-Kane (or some combo thereof)
Shaw-Kruger-Desjardins/Morin/Don’t know yet
There’s some variables here. If Danault can push Kruger up a line Teuvo stays on a wing, which more and more I’m convinced wouldn’t be the end of the world though I’d rather they really give him a go at center. Dano has to prove it I suppose. Sharp may still go, though I wouldn’t count on it. There could be a host of moves still left.
There’s no way to sugarcoat this. Saad could be a budding force of nature for years and years. He might turn into the 35+ goal monster year after year on Johansson’s wing that will always make us ache. But sentimentality can’t enter into this, and quite simply $6.5 million per year is just too much, if indeed that’s what he was after. That was more than Toews and Kane signed for after their entry-level deals. Think about that. Also, and this isn’t that big of a predictor, but Saad’s numbers away from Toews… well let’s just say Toews makes everyone much, much better. If you don’t trust Stan, trust Toews.
It could all blow up. I’m not saying you should like it. But it’s understandable. It’s cold-eyed. But maybe that’s what you have to be. Actually, we know it is.