Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blackhawks Free Agency: Drop the Ball

We were fed all kinds of lines for the last two months about a busy draft and a busy free agent period for the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks brass and every talking head assured us that they were seriously going all in and were going to be hitting the market like a heavy bag. At this point, it all looks like a big bunch of management lip service. I posted this the other day, but this is truly how the Blackhawks "plan of attack", or "roadmap" looks:

As of July 3rd, the Blackhawks have had their least eventful offseason since years before winning the cup. One minor trade during the draft, and one minor signing on the opening day of Free Agency. Sure they picked up some kids at the draft, but none of those players will help the Blackhawks in the 2012/13 season or even the following one, if there is in fact a season.

A hurricane of speculation erupted yesterday, when a few flapping gums in the media threw out some speculation that the Blackhawks were one of the exclusive finalists for the Parise-palooza-mania. This just sent the intarwebs into a mad frothy frenzy. Later in the day, I saw a twat that said the Hawks had put in serious offers for both Suter and Parise, and were willing to sign both. While I'd love to see both players on the Hawks, I call shenanigans on that rumor. They barely have the room for Parise, much less Parise AND Suter. When the dust settles, don't be surprised if both players are elsewhere, and the Hawks are left like a jilted Bride on her wedding day.

Blackhawks fans will be disappointed once again, and looking forward to the last possible scenario for help. Trade. Bowman has, basically, painted the Blackhawks into a corner by not being more aggressive at the draft and in free agency. With their single D-list signing, Sunday, all that is left on the market are the huge dollar players (for the moment) and the scrap heap players. No "creamy center" players, and certainly no decent top six center icemen. Now the entire league knows what the Hawks holes are, and will ask a king's ransom through trade. Honestly, if the Hawks PP can prop itself up into the top quarter, or even top half, of teams, the defense and goaltending will right themselves to a respectable level. Does wonders when you're working with a lead.

Moving on, The Hawks now have 48 players signed to contracts, which leaves 2 spots. TWO! People need to be moved, especially when you have 8 defensemen signed, which means that Dylan Olsen will be towing the Rockford Icehogs on his back for at least half the season. That still leaves the Hawks with 7 defensemen, although Brookbank could easily be a #7 guy. He is a SLIGHT upgrade over Lepisto, O'Donnell, and John Scott.

The desire to unload Nik Hjalmarsson is the worst kept secret in he NHL, which means the Blackhawks will get a big bag of "fuck all" in return for him. Cautious Stanley will have to sweeten the pot quite a bit to get anything of significance in return.

Anyhow, Lets get on to the shockingly bland Blackhawks news of the Free Agent period. The Blackhawks signed 31 year old defenseman Sheldon Brookbank to a 2 year deal worth $2.5 million. His brother has played in Rock Vegas last two seasons, so he has some ties to the Blackhawks other than being pummeled in the melon by two different Blackhawks in one season. From everything I have read, Sheldon was well liked in Anaheim. All things considered, he is no Ryan Suter. He will be a 6-7 guy that can buy into the "sandpaper" role, and tenderize a few faces. Last season was his career best in points, with a whopping 14, and games played, with 80. The bottom line is that if we see a lot of Sheldon Brookbank on the ice, there is something wrong here in the windy city. Sunday, was the most attention he will get this season.

Here is a little of Brookbank's "handy" work:

"Sheldon Brookbank on the wrong end of that confrontation"

The Blackhawks also signed journeyman Martin St. Pierre, who they dumped back in '08 for Pascal Pelletier, to and AHL deal. Nothing like living in the past, eh? Couldn't get enough Martin St. Pierre could they? He's pretty much an AHL bumslayer, but the good news is that Patrick Kane will now have another bro to party with. Check out St.Pierre partying in vegas with Mr. Biznasty himself. He's going to fit right in!


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