Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Everyones 2nd Favorite Meatball Joint
- NHL Trade Deadline -

With the Olympics winding down and the NHL firing back up, the Blackhawks and the rest of the league gear up for the second silliest time of the year for league transactions, the trade deadline. This year is unlike most years past and, most likely, the years to come because the salary cap was dropped to a very restrictive level which will handcuff several of the leagues top teams. The Chicago Blackhawks are one of those extremely restricted clubs.

Every GM would love to improve his team with a blockbuster deadline deal, but the fact of the matter is that most teams that would be buying, simply don't have the room to add a significant player without moving a large salary out. Any GM would be lying, if they attempt tell you that they wouldn't love to add a big name player to their lineup. Every team has needs.

The world of the internet is both a wonderful tool, and a devious curse. Every person with an internet connection wants to speculate their team's potential targets, and most people have no understanding of a salary cap. The salary cap is the equivalent of quantum physics to the average meatball fan, which makes for some hilarious questions and speculation.

The first problem for the Blackhawks is that teams will want something of substance in return. Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman already unloaded a fourth round draft pick to the Islanders, on February 5th, for Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin, while also trading a second round pick this June for David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois today. Based on past experience, it has become evident that Bowman loves to horde all the draft picks he can and built the franchise from within, which would lead one to believe that there are not be many draft picks that Bowman be willing to part with, especially ones that are actually worth some merit. Prying something like a 1st or 2nd round pick from Bowman will be like prying one of his children out from his arms.

Consequently, the players that the Blackhawks might offer in return, would not necessarily be enough to acquire such names. Nick Leddy, Johnny Oduya, or Jeremy Morin might not be enough to pry a high profile player from these teams.

I have seen fans float names like Blackhawks 2012 1st round draft pick Teuvo Tervainen as trade bait which is, honestly, laughable. Teravainen is probably the top prospect in the Blackhawks system, so to send him away for a rental or aging player would be counterproductive to Bowman's style. The Blackhawks are not a team that feels that they are desperate so giving away a prized prospect will not happen, especially for any player the Blackhawks could afford, which brings me to the Hawks second problem: the Salary Cap.

According to CapGeek.com, after today's deal, the Blackhawks will have roughly $52,000 to play with at the deadline, which is peanuts. For salary to come in, salary needs to head out, and the Blackhawks are in no position to be able to unload any significant salary.

The Blackhawks, today, traded one of their precious draft picks for a guy that is basically a much cheaper Nick Leddy. I may be reading too much into this but there is no need for 3 powerplay quarterbacks (Keith, Leddy, Rundblad) on the roster with another one sitting in the AHL (Clendening). This could be posturing for another deal at the deadline, or this summer. I see Leddy, or Oduya or both expendable with this deal. Both is a little extreme, but The Hawks have mammoth Notre Dame D man Stephen Johns on the horizon, and Adam Clendening rapping at the doorstep as well. We will see how this plays out.

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