Friday, March 27, 2015

Kyle Baun and Mike Paliotta Will Disappoint......Ahhh Nevermind

by Gatekeeper

For those of you that are surprised, you're about to get fooled once again.

The Blackhawks signed free agent college forward Kyle Baun and 2012 3rd round draft pick Mike Paliotta to similar 2 year entry level deals, Thursday. I want to start this all off by saying I have nothing against either of these kids. I hope they light the fucking world on fire and turn into the next Trevor van Reimsdyk and Brandon Saad. The reality of the situation is that they are more likely to turn into the next Drew LeBlanc or Shawn Lalonde. That isn't what chafes my ass, though...

There are two things in particular, about this situation and these deals, that are burning me from the inside out.

First of all, the general consensus around the fan base is that the Blackhawks needed to beg these two players to sign. By "beg", I mean that they had to concede extra years on the deals and promise to allow both players to play, while burning a year off this season. I don't fully buy this rationale, and this is why.

Baun, reportedly, had 18 other teams that were bidding for his services. It is not Stan Bowman's style to beg and plead for such a wildcard. In fact, Bowman is notoriously overconfident when it comes to swallowing his pride, and the Nick Leddy trade is a prime example of this theory. At least from the outside, he refused to take deals that may have landed him a better return, because he wasn't getting what he thought he wanted in return. Confident and stubborn to a fault. He was backed into a corner with the cap deadline quickly approaching and probably ended up taking even less than he could have gotten earlier in the summer, for a pretty hot young prospect like Leddy. There is no other reason that he would have waited as late as he did.

The next example of this theory is the Patrick Sharp situation. Not THAT situation.

As much as is has been downplayed in the media, it's pretty well known that the Blackhawks were feverishly trying to find a reasonable deal for Patrick Sharp. The entire league knew Bowman was over a barrel and he refused to pull the trigger for anything less than what he felt he deserved. As a result, The Blackhawks will have their backs against the wall once again, when they need to shed salary, following the season. Again, confident and stubborn to a fault.

That is why I'm perplexed as to why Bowman signed both of these guys to 2 year deals with which they are willing to burn half of, in a handful of the remaining 10 games this regular season. This leaves the Blackhawks roughly 15 months to develop these two players, and let them become RFAs. The last players to make any sort of impression on Quenneville that fast were the aforementioned van Reimsdyk and Andrew Shaw. Not even Saad progressed through the ranks that fast.

The money is really irrelevant in these deals, but giving the organization that little time to develop 2 college players into NHL players doesn't make sense. Especially an organization that has been notoriously slow in maturing their prospects, partly, because of the lack of room and lack of trust by the head coach. Yes, The Blackhawks will hold these player's rights and, more likely that not, they will able to re-sign them to bridge deals. That is another reason that these essentially one year deals are questionable. Bowman will be forced to give them SOME sort of raise. In Paliotta's case, he may have held the cards, but Baun is going to be a depth guy in Rockford next season. Among those 18 teams, there had to be a better opportunity, and Stan didn't "need" to "beg" for this guy.

This brings me to my second concern. Paliotta is one situation, because he was drafted by the Blackhawks. I can see the urgency for this to not turn into the Kevin Hayes situation again. Kyle Baun is an undrafted college free agent, though. If someone can point me to the last college free agent position player that has amounted to anything, I'll show you 100 that didn't. Drew LeBlanc was the best college player in the entire country when he signed in Chicago. The "Jack Eichel" and "Johnny Gaudreau" of that year. Right now he's mightily struggling to be a regular AHL player. Matt Carey is the same situation. He was as hyped as Baun, last year, and is currently sitting at 20 points in 59 games, in Rockford. A little better than LeBlanc. Even Stephen Johns was highly lauded right before he signed. He's currently adjusting in the AHL, too, after concussion problems.

Players rarely step right off a college campus and into succeed in the NHL. Fifteen months isn't enough.

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