We’re Floating in Space

Let’s all enjoy this picture. And any other pictures that feature Kimmo Timonen with the Stanley Cup, for that matter. It’s almost a cliche at this point but this is the special part of a Stanley Cup celebration – the once-star player who has never won but achieves immortality in his final season.

I bring this up because there may come a time in the not-so distant future when the glow of the Cup is gone; the Hawks are coming off an early playoff exit and suddenly the Timonen trade will be flipped to be considered “another” Stan Bowman flop. As if there wouldn’t be plenty other places to look. You see all these pictures with Timonen and you’re basically admitting you don’t have a soul if you’d rather have those two 2nd round picks.

Anyways, that’s not why I’m here. Well, sort of. Sam brought up an excellent point in his last blog in regards to the Patrick Sharp trade and the Blackhawks insistence on receiving roster players. It’s a conversation I’ve had with a few different observers as well and I’m certainly in agreement with Sam and the rest that I wouldn’t have minded a straight up swap for picks.

That’s assuming, of course, that such a deal even existed without maintaining some salary. Logic would dictate it may have when you examine other deals, but the Hawks aren’t about to go back in the business of paying players big salaries to play somewhere else. They’ve already lived through the Cristobal Huet and Rostislav Olesv era and Patrick Sharp (regardless of personality issues) is neither of those.

As many general managers have always said, no move or trade is done in a vacuum. So with that, it’s probably best if we educated ourselves on the Hawks draft selections in 2015 through 2017.

The Hawks selected 7 times in the 2015 Draft. None in the first round and then every round after that with two picks in the 6th round including Prospect Camp du jour Roy Radke.

In 2016, the Hawks have 8 draft picks. Their 2nd rounder now belongs to Philadelphia as part of the aforementioned Timonen trade. Here are the rest:

  • 1st Round
  • 3rd Round
  • 2 4th Round picks (Columbus’ pick as part of the Saad trade)
  • 2 5th Round picks (Florida’s pick as part of the Pirri trade)
  • 6th Round
  • 7th Round

In the 2017, the Hawks currently own every pick except their 7th rounder which now belongs to San Jose as part of the Andrew Desjardins-Ben Smith trade.

Going back to the 2010 Draft, the seven draft choices the Hawks had this year are the fewest. They never had less than 8 before this year and even had as many as 11 in 2011. (And the only guy yet to play an NHL game of their first 5 picks that year is Mark McNeil, which is kind of bonkers.)

What does all this mean?

It seems to me the Hawks are pretty confident in their ability to scout, draft, sign and develop. They have spent the last 5 years stockpiling picks ensuring they always had at least one more pick than the minimum. Even with a few of those drafted players getting eventually flipped, they always got guys (or picks) in return who were under team control (with the exception of the Vermette/Dahlbeck deal which further shows you how rare it was for the Hawks to pull the trigger on that deal).

They certainly didn’t envision this past season as their last run at the Cup. If they did, this year’s draft would’ve probably looked very similar to that 2011 Draft where they had no problem flipping NHL proven players for draft picks.

They also insulated their system well enough that they could afford to “only” draft seven players this year. There wasn’t that sense of urgency to get a bunch of guys into the system like previous drafts. That also speaks volumes to where the Hawks system was at the beginning of Cap Purge 2010. People love to shit on Stan Bowman but if he had drafted Kyle Beach or Jack Skille instead of the list of players you’ve all heard about in the 1st round, every mouth breather from here to Oak Park would be lining up down Madison to let him know what an idiot he is.

All that said, I’m still probably in Sam’s camp where I would’ve preferred the picks. Maybe I’ve played General Manager mode in Madden ’05 a few too many times and stockpiled a ton of picks when I traded Adewale Ogunleye after the Bears three-peated and he was two-time defensive MVP, but I sort of like the idea of getting as many bites at the apple that is the NHL draft as you can.

Then again, I also see the appeal of adding roster players.

  • I think with regard to the Sharp trade I think the parameters changed after the draft and after realizing that you weren’t going to be able to dump Sharp without giving up a good asset (other sites say teams are asking for Tuevo).

    I can imagine something like this going down. You don’t want to give away Tuevo. That means that you aren’t dumping that entire salary, so signing Oduya becomes much less likely so now. So you need to think ahead and fill that defensive hole immediately. Then see if you can move other pieces later. The other pieces never moved, Oduya signs with Dallas.

    I have no clarity into any discussions, however, this is just something I could imagine happening.

    The other thing about this is that I don’t think any of the other 29 GMs want to do the Hawks a favor. I mean I’m sure they are all pretty sick of the whole dynasty talk amongst other things. So they want to stick it to them.

    Also, there’s the aspect no one wants to look stupid, so you aren’t going to make a marginal trade without having a supreme amount of confidence that you are going to win the trade. So you are going to ask for the Tuevo’s, Kruger’s rights, etc.

    • sublime33

      I am convinced the Hawks acquired Kimmo so that Teuvo had a fellow Finn with him. Language is a HUGE barrier for ex-pats in a new country. Raanta filled that function as he and Teuvo were promoted and demoted pretty much in tandem until Kane broke his collarbone. When Darling showed he was the better goaltender and Kane broke his collarbone, they went out and got another Finn. The same pattern is apparent with the acquisition of Anisimov, so that Panarin won’t be the lone Russian on the roster next year. Keep in mind that Bowman Sr. had 5 Russians on the Red Wings roster, and none of them were ever deemed “lazy”.

      • That’s quite an expensive move to make for what you are equating to a translator/father. I think the move was made with the intention of adding defensive depth. It was a stretch to begin with, as he was coming off the clot issue, it had upside. Didn’t quite work out in terms of the quality we got, but it was one of several different moves that got us the cup.

        • sublime33

          Unless you have lived in a foreign country where very few speak your language, and I have, you cannot underestimate the impact the language barrier has. Teuvo probably had the English vocabulary of a 1st grader when he started the season. Sure the Kimmo move was expensive, but what was the cost if Teuvo’s development stagnates? I doubt if the Hawks win the Cup without his progress. Transition buddies sound like a luxury, but successful businesses and sports teams have been using them for decades. Even Ernie Banks had a transition buddy when the Cubs brought him up in 1953.

          • 60MinutesBaby60

            KC Monarchs ftw.

  • HarryBalzonya

    Maybe I don’t have a soul, but why should I be so sentimental for a guy who played less than half a season in Chicago? Kimmo seems like a nice guy and all, but he was an utter disappointment. He was a shadow of his former self, which is to be expected when you are his age and have just gotten over a major medical issue. Having those 2nd rounders now could give Stan something to help sweeten the deal on Bickell or Versteeg.

    • jordyhawk

      Spot on Harry. If I run across an extra soul I’ll cut you in for half because I guess I don’t have one either. And as I’ve posted ad nauseum, the Kimo trade is on Q for bailing on Dahlbeck so ridiculously fast. Stan filled the hole, but Q dug it.

      • ‘hawks58

        Eh. He wasn’t clearly worth two 2nd round picks, but had Roszival not gotten injured, he would have filled that 6th/7th defenseman role perfectly. It just became a problem when he started to get called upon to be the 5th defenseman.

        • jordyhawk

          Disagree. He was bad the whole time regardless of whether you call him 5,6, or 7. If you can’t skate him other than a few minutes because he might get overwhelmed in a bad match up he’s not much use. That’s not my definition of a perfect bottom pairing guy.

          • 60MinutesBaby60

            @ HB & JH –
            You two is some cold-hearted hombres yessir. Timonen’s price was undoubtedly high but his Hollywood ending COMPLETELY worth it.

            Yeah I’d like those two picks – as bodies or as leverage deal-wise, I for one tho love the guy skating off into the sunset … with the Cup raised over his head. πŸ˜‰

    • The thing is that you cannot guarantee a cup win without the moves that were made. Fact is we won, every other scenario incites a butterfly effect that results in the Hawks maybe winning the cup. This is the only scenario that ensured it.

      You can look back in hindsight and say two 2nd rounders and a 750k cap overage is too high. But that was the price and thankfully the result was a cup. Same thing applies with the Dahlbeck and 1st rounder for Vermette.

      • HarryBalzonya

        How can you say that it was this move alone that results in us winning. Quite possible we win without Kimmo. Impossible to know because we can’t change the past. The fact that we made the move and that we won does not prove that one caused the other. Ask yourself, how many big course altering plays did Kimmo make for us in the playoffs?

        • By no means did I say nor imply that Kimmo was the missing piece. My point simply was that the collection of moves made, ultimately resulted in the championship.

          Every other scenario discussed becomes a hypothetical. Are there other moves that Bowman could’ve made that would’ve resulted in the cup? Maybe, I don’t know. This path guaranteed it, the others is just conjecture.

        • 60MinutesBaby60

          Kimmo did make a couple big plays … unfortunately they were for the other team. πŸ˜‰

          • 60MinutesBaby60

            J’k that lame joke cheap shot. I can think right now a couple nice vet-style plays the guy made games 5 & 6 the Cup Final.

      • 60MinutesBaby60

        I can’t stand myself for keeping on bitching about Dahlbeck but GODDAMIT that guy DID NOT get a fair shake.

        SBowman fetched Morin back. Why not Dahlbeck? I mean it’s not like the Beloved could use some blue liner depth or anything.

        • Brain Sprain

          It’s believed in many circles that bowman didn’t want Morin back as much as Columbus wanted him gone bc he has a one way contact and he is now generally considered an AHL player w/ an NHL salary

          • ‘hawks58

            If that is true, why would they want him gone? His salary is below the amount that can be buried in the A, so if he is in fact an AHL player, he could be put on waivers (nobody would claim him since he supposedly isn’t worth the contract), assigned to the AHL, and his entire contract comes off the cap.

            And he is clearly good enough to at least be a borderline player that it is worthwhile to stash in the AHL that could take 4th line minutes in the case of a long-term injury situation.

    • Matt

      Sure, he was a disappointment, but I don’t think people should be that shocked. It was a swing for the fences, home run or strike out kind of trade. It just happened that Stan struck out.

      If I recall correctly, Timonen was pretty much Philly’s #1 d-man the year prior. If his legs would have held up and recovered properly, Stan would have looked like a genius.

      • It did have a lot of upside if he was close to the player he was last year. He wasn’t, we still won so good for us. Imagine having to swallow all of these deals if we didn’t get past Anaheim or TB? Then we’d all be really pissed.

        • 60MinutesBaby60

          Jeezus man! You just gave me a shiver that scenario the Hawks not winning it.

        • Jim

          The huge Anaheim players were destroying Timonen. He took some major hits. Kimmo seemed more effective in the TB series. But overall, I never understood that trade. They lost me at bloodclots.

          • He was definitely targeted in that series. I dunno, I’m not saying I liked the deal, I liked the overall result.

            I mean it’s a hypothetical scenario to consider, but the Petry deal was for a 2nd plus a conditional 5th that would’ve turned into a 3rd because we won 2 rounds (Source: http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/oilers-trade-defenceman-jeff-petry-canadiens/). One could argue that would’ve been a top-4 on some teams playing a 5/6 and he would’ve definitely fit the bill when Rozi went down.

            So when you compare against that, Kimmo was expensive for what we got.

    • wihawkfan

      A fair point Harry. Kimo didn’t have much if anything left in the tank.

      Here’s how I live with it:

      The kimo trade was to add a veteran Finn to help ease the transition of a rookie Finn. The same as the tikkanov trade may help panarin and dano will fall under hossa’s Slovakian wing.

      There is more to developing talent than just the physical skill set that gets worked on in practice. The Hawks are building “complete” pros.

      Kaner needed molding in the mental department as well.

      The mental edge is a huge factor in the winning ways of this group and the organization is paying attention.

      As an addition, kimo was the guy Kaner juked to score the OT goal that won the 2010 cup.

      I believe he deserved to be on this team and he contributed, even if not visibly on the ice.

      That’s how I am comfortable with that trade.

      • 60MinutesBaby60

        Timonen;s hockey legs WERE shot – that became all too clear all too soon, but the man’s hockey dignity was SO exceptionally attractive that …

        … altho it got to the point I was having palpitations whenever he took a shift (Don’t pinch Kimmo!. OMFG! NOOOOOO!)
        I never lost admiration for the guy.

        I don;t think that’s ever happened for me before. A strange dichotomy it was TO BE SURE.

        Then, to see/hear Taser’s, “C’mon! Go for a skate, BABY” exhortation when Kimmo was going to shorten his Cup carry
        is honestly, now, one of coolest sports moments I’ve ever seen.

        So all in all … There was hopeful expectation. Then there was sheer TERROR. Then there was total glorious BEAUTY.

        Yeah … I don’t think i’ll soon forget Kimmo Timonen’s time with the Hawks. πŸ˜‰

  • ‘hawks58

    I still feel like there is a big trade out there, like a Bickell+high pick/prospect (McNeil?Hartman?Schmaltz?) for a top 4 puck moving defenseman. Maybe it’s a pipe dream, but one can at least dream.

    • 60MinutesBaby60

      Love to see it happen bud, but #29’s value right now is < "Clearance Sale" level.

    • wihawkfan

      Agreed. I would “create” a top prospect that you “aren’t willing to part with because they are going to be a great piece soon” by leaking all kinds of positive propaganda about them. Maybe McNiel is “finally getting it. Plus he’s a former first round pick that we a very high on. He has great size and a high motor” blah, blah, blah.

      “What? You’ll only take Bickel on the condition that we throw in McNeil? I don’t know……we’re going to need some picks back if we let you pick our pocket like that.” (Stan says while trying to hide his smile).

      Then I wouldn’t say boo about a real prospect, maybe down talk a swede who is the next great d man by saying he isn’t nhl ready and hiding him in a Swedish league…..quick. Maybe do that with 3 swede dmen.

  • Matt

    Very thoughtful and well-written article, but I have a beef with one piece — the aside on Sharp’s “personality issues”.

    Is there actually a single, solid, documented source that any of this Sharp crap happened? Because honestly, the stuff defies logic with human beings and pretty much all of the major players (and partners in any of the rumors) have publicly praised and backed Sharp.

    • 60MinutesBaby60

      +1 @ Matt

    • Brain Sprain

      The whole anti Sharp obsession is absurd

  • PhantomGM

    I honestly don’t understand the continued lumping of Versteeg and Bickell together with respect to the cap.

    • Jim

      Bickell is an anchor at 4, Versteeg is useful at 2.

  • PhantomGM

    Perhaps, the biggest mistake of this whole summer was not waiving Bickell before the draft (when allowed) and getting the $2.5M in cap relief that would have resulted (4 – (2*4*0.75)/(2*2)). I realize how loathe the hawks are to carry dead money on the cap, but really is #29 at $4M per for the next 2 years anything other than that? Nobody is picking up that cap hit without the Hawks paying a heavy premium. Not dealing with the situation, with all the other ‘win now’ moves really feels inconsistent at best and probably reckless. Hell, Kruger is probably close to being under contract with that move alone.

    Versteeg on the other hand isn’t being moved because the Hawks want him back. He’s got a GREAT cap number and is off the books completely as a UFA after next year (in time for Seabrook). Beyond that, he’s almost certainly going to be in a top 6 role to start the season as he was last year. Unless of course Q wants to put him back with Teauvo centering a 3rd line where he did very well during the TB series. He’s played exceptionally well with Kane and might even slide in along side #19 and #81 in replacing Saad and Sharp. Most of the boring noise about Versteeg’s bad play came in the wake of his ACL surgery (2012) or his broken wrist against that Caps on New Years Day. before that 2nd injury he was nearly a point per game playing with Kane and Richards. he didn’t complain when getting benched in the playoffs, worked hard and played great hockey paired with #86 and #80 in the finals. At his cap number, teams with space would line up to bring him on board for scraps.

    Tying these two players together is really knee jerk nonsense. Does anybody really believe that Q is going to play essentially two russian rookies and a 20 years old in his top 6? We all know that’s just not even a consideration.

    • 60MinutesBaby60

      I love Steeger. I love Steeger NOT.
      Keep going back & forth on the guy. He’s almost Jekyll & Hyde like
      kinda good REALLY not good.

      But I DO give credit those last couple games after coming outta the press box Versteeg DID make a couple not just good plays but BIG

      I’m picturing Vermette’s BIG goal which came DIRECTLY off a STRONG effort by #23 turning a good defensive play into a semi-breakaway scoring chance that Vermy slapped home on the rebound.

      Gimme THAT Versteeg on my club 8 days a week.
      Still … I get a chance to move the guy, I got to – to free cap and a roster spot. (NHL hard cap makes for hardcore business decisions.)

  • 60MinutesBaby60

    I self-identify as a mouth-breather. (And I didn’t even need to transition.)

  • Jim

    I know the more knowledgeable Hawks fans on Twitter, etc. don’t agree, but I like the players we got back. All of them. I think Daley is going to be better than Oduya. And I like the young speed guys the Hawks got back from Columbus. Sucks losing Saad, but what are you gonna do?

    And don’t forget this is all under the frame of 2 Superstar Contracts, taking a huge chunk of the cap. Only a couple of other teams have superstars like this, and they only have one, Sid, Ovi, Kopitar, off the top of my head.

    I can’t wait to see these new guys play.