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Chicago’s off-season turmoil..or is it? Nah…

Chicago’s off-season turmoil..or is it? Nah…

The off season for the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks has been anything but an exciting one losing key members of this championship team. Chicago fans need to remember that the Hawks are Stanley Cup champions and every hardcore Chicago fan knew the dismantling of this team was going to occur this summer like it or not. Was it worth losing these players for a Stanley Cup? Damn rights it was. Hockey is a business and although many of us fall in love with certain players and what they have done there is a time to let go of some players and move on and strive towards the next season. Heck, it could have been worse as the Hawks could not have won the cup and either way Chicago was  losing players regardless this off-season.

OK, I am not cold hearted but I tell it how it is and I see how many fans perspectives on how hard it is to see our beloved players leave.

Players Departed:

Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien were acquired by Atlanta.

Kris Versteeg was acquired by Toronto

Colin Fraser was acquired by Edmonton

Adam Burish signed a 2 year deal with Dallas

And what did the Hawks receive? Pretty much prospects and picks but a couple of the Hawks acquisitions may be able to help Chicago as early as next season in the likes of Marty Reasoner (yikes) , Viktor Stalberg, and the monstrosity in John Scott will add some big time toughness.

So if that was not hard enough to handle for the Blackhawks and their fans but they recently had to deal with an offer sheet submitted by ex-hawk Doug Wilson of the freshly sweeped San Jose Sharks. “Dougie doo” offered Niklas Hjalmarsson a 4 year deal forcing Stan Bowman to make a decision on matching that offer or letting the highly touted d-man walk and therefore would receive the Sharks 1st and 3rd round draft picks next off-season. Bowman matched and I think it was a smart decision on his part, keeping this kid keeps Chicago’s defensive corp in tact and can fill the 3rd pairing accordingly with a guy like Scott and/or Hendry or perhaps even a rookie that played down in Rockford last year.

Signing “Hammer” was costly for Chicago as it now puts the Hawks in a bind for signing another key RFA in Antti Niemi, if he is not offered a contract by another team which would force Chicago to either match it or let him walk then it will depend on the Arbitration hearing that occurs in 17 days from today I believe.

Assuming the Hawks do not trade any more players the team tentatively looks like this:

Toews   Kane   Brouwer

Bolland  Hossa  Kopecky

Sharp   Bickell   Stalberg

Reasoner  Beach   Dowell

Seabrook   Keith

Campbell   Hjalmarsson

Scott    Hendry

Niemi/Crawford (assuming Huet is waived/traded)

This is assuming Hendry is re-signed and Dowell , Stalberg and Beach crack the lineup. Shawn Lalonde may even have an outside edge of making the squad but I would assume Lalonde needs some more seasoning in the AHL still. This is a long off-season and anything can happen, Chicago may sign some cheaper free agents to fill the voids left by the departed players if they feel the youngsters are not ready yet. I have a feeling these young guys will come to camp ripped and ready, the rookies all now realize they have a legitimate shot at making the big club and will come out guns a blazin’.

I have mentioned many times in previous blogs and message boards that Chicago’s core players will keep them in the playoffs for years to come. This IS a playoff team next year and I guarantee you that as still this is one of the deepest core teams in the NHL plus if Bowman fills the voids correctly these Blackhawks may surprise a few people next year.

I keep hearing fans of opposing teams say “Hawks won’t be as good as they were this year”. I thank them for pointing out the obvious and kindly respond in saying  “No $hit Sherlock, but we will be damn competitive next season so get ready for a ride!”

Blackhawk hockey is back in Chicago and it’s not going anywhere for years to come. Another Tkon guarantee :)

Las Vegas odds are out. Chicago and Washington are the favourites to win the cup next year at 6-1. Take that as you will.

Thanks as always for reading,


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An all around sports fan and has been a Chicago BlackHawks supporter longer then he can remember. Currently writes for on the Blackhawks and on the Edmonton Oilers. (If you would like to email feel free to contact Trent at )



In response to “Chicago’s off-season turmoil..or is it? Nah…”

  1. Adam Seidman Jul 12 201010:56 pm


    This lineup as you’ve drawn it up is over the cap, even if Niemi doesn’t get a raise. I think Beach plays in Rockford next year, simply because his cap hit (somewhere around 1.275) is just too high.

    Don’t forget Ivan Vishnevskiy, who I’d expect to be part of the third pairing, and certainly above the lumbering Scott on the depth chart.

    Sadly, thanks to the extra 2 million committed to Hjalmarsson this year, I think another veteran player has to go in order to field a roster of 21-23 players. We’ll know more after Niemi’s arbitration hearing on the 29th.

    1. Adam Seidman Jul 12 201011:11 pm


      Pardon me, that was meant to say “even if Niemi doesn’t get a HUGE raise.” Your lineup doesn’t work unless he makes under 2.3 per year on whatever deal he signs, far lower than that of what Jaro Halak is making. Halak’s deal is going to be the benchmark for any argument Niemi’s agent will make regarding market value for a 26 year old second year goaltender with a great playoff performance record.

      1. Trent Kondo Jul 12 201011:16 pm


        Agreed, it will be interesting what the outcome is. Halak has a lot more games played and arguably played just as good or better then Niemi. However, that Stanley Cup ring on his finger will jack it up.

        One of my twitter followers sent me this:

        ” But what about a trade with Flo: Campbell, Skille, 2nd 11 for Wideman”

        It’s a bit much but that would definitely solve some issues. I like Campbell a ton but if that deal were to go through it would work wonders for the cap.It would free us up roughly 4 million or so. Not sure FLA goes for that though or if Soupy would even waive his no-trade to go there. FLA has the cap space for it but did say they are rebuilding. Who knows if they would want to rebuild with a guy like Campbell.

        1. Adam Seidman Jul 12 201011:29 pm


          Are you saying that Miami is good enough for LeBron, but not good enough for Cambpell? ;)

          If I’m Dale Tallon, I can’t take that deal, no matter how lopsided it is. The Florida defensive corps is shockingly weak, and I would be looking to acquire defensemen without having to part with one of my own. In essence, that weakens the Florida blue line in exchange for a little team speed and a big fat $4 million extra on the cap.

          1. Trent Kondo Jul 13 201012:11 am

            LOL great point on Lebron vs Campbell

            I see where you are coming from, with that extra 4 Million they could probably get 2 d-men for that price. Or maybe even sign some of the lesser UFA’s d-men still available.

  2. Trent Kondo Jul 12 201011:07 pm


    Exactly, after the arbitration we will know more. I still see Scott having as good a chance as Visnevskiy depending on what Chicago want’s, more heavy hitting or versatility? Hell, we might even see Hendry take a walk and both the aforementioned guys will play.

    You could be right about Beach, I kind of left out Skille for that reason alone. Maybe Stalberg does not even make it, my hope is that they dump Reasoner.

    1. Adam Seidman Jul 12 201011:22 pm


      If Sopel was too slow for this team, Scott might as well be a cone out there. I think Vishnevskiy’s mobility makes him a much better fit.

      I hadn’t really considered dumping Reasoner, seeing as his contract is fairly manageable and he’s basically a poor man’s John Madden (and, surprisingly, only 31 years old) and basically slots in pretty seamlessly in that role. I suppose you could dump him and bring in a guy like Marcus Kruger, but he’s not really an energy line type of player. There’s also the possibility that you play Dowell at center, as he gives you that physical presence, and then you can use Beach because of the cap savings and then throw another rookie big body (Rob Klinkhammer??) on the fourth line.

      The problem I have is that the Hawks’ system is pretty skill-laden and not particularly big and tough, outside of Beach and the 2010 draftees (none of whom are ready to play), and I’d be reluctant to waste that kind of talent on a fourth line when they could be getting significant ice time in the AHL.

  3. Kevin Jul 12 201011:59 pm


    I was reading on another site that skille is willing to take less money just to get a shot on the big club. In my opinion if niemi is awarded halak like money I’d let him walk. I believe marty turco or jose theodore, or another FA goalie in that capacity can provide adequate enough goaltending to have us make another cup run.

    1. Trent Kondo Jul 13 201012:15 am


      Hi Kevin,

      I never read that anywhere, though I really have not been on many sites lately just been crazy busy. That is interesting and not really that far fetched either for Skille, but would he drop to half of what he is making for a 1-way deal? If he dropped a couple hundred grand sure that would help but we will see how that ends up.

      I have high hopes for Niemi and think he has a good future but if it is the case we need to dump him then Turco/Theo may be the option. But would they come that much cheaper? I believe Turco already turned down a 2 million offer from Philly ( not 100% on the terms) and Theo had a great year last year albeit on the strongest team in the league. Theo may just want 3 mill +.

      I like Turco, I won’t hide that , and would not mind seeing him in a Hawks jersey but I am not sure the terms he is expecting.

  4. James Centifonti Jul 13 20107:32 am


    It will be interesting to see what Niemi gets but keep in mind he can’t use what Halak got with the Blues as a comp because Halak was still an RFA and those figures can not be used in a arbitration hearing if I recall correctly.

    That may not mean much as there should be plenty of comps for him to use.

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