Wednesday, July 2, 2014

B-Rad is Rad
Blackhawks Sign Richards and Regin

As the dust settles from the usual NHL July first festivities, the Blackhawks and Stan Bowman emerged as "least likely to give out an idiotic contract" once again. If you have come to expected any less from Bowman and Associates, then you haven't been paying attention. Those of us that have been watching closely, basically predicted exactly what happened. The Blackhawks also signed a couple minor league players and re-signed one of their own UFAs. Nothing spectacular but almost cold and calculated. I will say that while Stan's trades leave a lot to be desired, his Free Agent signings have USUALLY been low risk, and monster deals. I will get more into the draft and such in tonight's Shoutcast. Lets dive right into the Blackhawks first day of July.

The Blackhawks started the day off with a fizzle and a flameout. They re-signed center Peter Regin to a one year, what I can assume is a one way, $650,000 contract. I have zero problem with this deal. Regin plays a solid two way game. He is versitile enough to play any forward position and wouldn't be a liability on the penalty kill either. Kudos to Bowman for getting yet another useful player below market value.

The Blackhawks second announcement of the day was the signing of three future Rockford Ice Hogs; Cody Bass, Pierre-Cedric Labrie and Goalie Scott Darling. Bass and Labrie are minor leaque face punchers that, as Chris Block mentioned on the twitterz, will make up for Brandon Mashinter's promotion to the Blackhawks. I really don't care much either way about those two, and this time next year, I won't have a single recollection they have done, unless they crawl across a concrete floor to get at an opposing player after a bench clearing fight, like an asshole.

Darling is a local kid who will provide depth in net for Kent Simpson and Mac Carruth, because the Blackhawks have nothing else in the system even close. Carruth and Simpson need to make great strides this season or they will find themselves elsewhere next season, because their seasons in the minors last year were atrocious. Anyhow, three very low level deals.

The big splash of the day came in later when it was announced that the Blackhawks signed recently bought out former NY Ranger Brad Richards. Before the numbers were released, I was worried that the Hawks would be on the hook for something like $3.5 or $4 million a year for a couple of years for a 34/35 year old guy and that just goes against what I believe the Blackhawks are building for. Slow old guys aren't exactly a good fit next to Patrick Kane. Then the numbers came in. One year at $2 million, which is somewhere between Handzus and Rozsival money. Total low risk, high reward deal, for a guy that was making three times that amount just a few mere days ago. This said, I was close with my prediction. The wrong Richards, but it could have very well been Mike, if Los Angeles bought him out. I suggested that they may take a low dollar deal on a contender to prove themselves again, and that is exactly what this deal is. This is Richards' bridge deal to a 35 plus deal next summer somewhere else, and a chance for someone to help hone Teuvo Teravainen into an NHL player. If Richards produces a fraction of the 51 points he did last season, this is a win for Bowman and Company. They have a year buffer to develop Teravainen and they have, in theory, a second line center. Richards still has to come to camp in shape and ready to run with the speed of the Blackhawks.

Just who will play with Richards is up for debate. Maybe he plays with Kane and Saad. Maybe he plays with Hossa and Sharp. Maybe Sharp gets traded and someone like Teravainen gets a test drive as Richards' wing. It is all speculation, at this point, but this is a nice option to have in your arsenal. Kudos to the Blackhawks for making this a reality. Even if Richards becomes a $2 million 4th line player, that is palatable. Not desirable but palatable.

As of 10:00AM, I read unconfirmed reports that former Avs defenseman Kyle Cuminsky had returned from a stint in Sweden to sign with the Blackhawks, but there has been no confirmation. So file this one under rumors, for the moment.

Editor's note: Pat and I had planned to do a Shoutcast last night, but power issues due to the severe storms in the area, Monday night, made that impossible. We will, instead, be recording tonight (Wednesday 7/2).

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