There are three established Blackhawks which many fans seem to think could be dealt this summer if Stan Bowman wants to retool. They are Brian Campbell, Patrick Sharp and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Let’s take a look if trading any of the three is a real possibility.
If the Hawks are able to deal Campbell they would have to alter their style of play. That may happen anyway but Campbell’s importance in generating offense should not be discounted. Nick Leddy might be as good of a puck mover as Campbell someday. But that day won’t come next season.
Campbell is too expensive for most teams to consider acquiring. If the Hawks would deal Campbell they would want to open cap space, not carry the same salary burden with a newly acquired player. In essence the Hawks would be looking to distribute some of the money spent on their defenders to other areas of need.
All reports point to Campbell not wanting to leave the Windy City. He also has a no movement clause, so most likely he will be on the ice for the Blackhawks this October.
Sharp is the type of player most teams would love to have. The word going around the league last summer was the Hawks were going to be forced to trade Sharp.
Those which closely follow the Hawks will remember Bowman called a mid summer press conference to dispel any trade rumors involving Sharp. Bowman sent a message to other GM’s and also let Sharp concentrate on getting married and not worry about being dealt.
My feelings are the same as those mentioned by Bowman as to the importance of Sharp to the Blackhawks. He is a leader and has a big presence in the dressing room. Sharp brings some maturity to a young Hawks’ squad. He is also a big fan favorite. Sharp’s production has been consistent.
There are a couple of factors which would limit Sharp’s trade value and also could help put a more realistic dollar amount on his next contract..
Although Sharp had a very good season and scored 34 goals, 12 of his tallies came on the power play. Back door tap-ins are pretty but Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane wouldn’t be following Sharp to his new destination. A potential suitor will look at that stat, and so will Bowman when negotiating a contract extension for Sharp.
Sharp is 29 years old, so he will be looking for a big contract with some security. Management values Sharp a lot, so they won’t lose him over a $1 million. Sharp and the Hawks will probably agree on a four year contract extension for a tolerable amount. The price for 30 goal scorers is not going to down as the salary cap will most likely continue to rise.
If the Hawks were going to deal Sharp, doing so last summer would have made the most sense. The acquiring club would have had the surety of Sharp being locked up for $3.9 million for two more seasons. Now his trade value is not as great due to a contract which would expire after the upcoming season.
Bowman has commented the Hawks will look to resign Sharp, which could happen by the beginning of next season. Look for Sharp to get about a $1 million raise per season. My take is he will sign a four year extension valued in the $20 million range.
There isn’t any cost certainty for a potential suitor of Sharp, but that is not the case for Hjalmarsson. Hammer signed an offer sheet last summer and would be eligible to be traded by mid-July.
Hjalmarsson is signed through 2013-2014, at $3.5 million per season. That amount is high for a third pairing, penalty killing specialist which might be his role next season with the Blackhawks.
If Chris Campoli and Leddy are playing in Chicago next year they will eat into Hammer’s ice time.
Realistically Hjalmarsson may not fit here as a top four defenseman any longer.The key to dealing Hjalmarsson is he could be worth more to another club than to the Hawks.
Although Hjalmarsson doesn’t score many goals, he could be an effective top pairing dman for some teams. On most clubs Hammer would be at least a top four defender and that makes him valuable trade bait, plus he is still young. Hjalmarsson’s salary is not moderate but not really out of line for a number two or three defender.
A potential suitor could plug Hjalmarsson in for the next three seasons and not have to worry about contract negotiations. Hammer has been highly praised in the past by Scottie Bowman. If there wasn’t a salary cap the Hawks would probably not consider trading him.
For a number of reasons Hjalmarsson will most likely be the biggest name to have a new address in the fall.
Next week I will discuss what the Blackhawks need to do this summer beyond the trading of one big name player. Valuable additions can be found for under $2 million.
The Vancouver Canucks added Chris Higgins ($1.6 million) and Maxim Lapierre ($900,000) before the trade deadline. Those two players have proven to be great assets. The Rangers Brandon Prust ($800,000) is the type of players the Hawks desperately need.
Those values are not easy to find, but they are out there. Blackhawk management will need to define their style of play and correctly target additions.
I did an interview Thursday night with Jamie Shalley and Rob Higgins from XM Home Ice. We talked bout the Canuck series and changes for next season.
Here are the two links….
The interview is only about 12 minutes long but it was delivered in two parts.
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