There are three Blackhawks who have trade value, plus contracts which would allow Stan Bowman to readily deal them. Readers will recall trade scenarios involving Troy Brouwer, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Patrick Sharp.
Even before the Pierre LeBrun likely contract extension Tweet today…Sharp was unlikley to be traded.
If the playing time for Hawk defensemen is to be more evenly distributed then trading Hjalmarsson doesn’t make as much sense.
That leaves Brouwer, who Stan Bowman didn’t give as much love to when speaking about his team after the playoffs ended. Today the Brouwer trade rumblings are around.
Brouwer is a big forward who hits and has hands. I wouldn’t trade him unless it was to acquire a top six center. That type of transaction would require more than Brouwer as trade bait.
As I said yesterday, there is a chance the Hawks make a significant trade before the weekend is over. My guess was about 50-50 but now there could be a higher probability.
Bowman has a bunch of picks and this appears to be a draft where other teams are going to be aggressive. He may feel a little more pressure considering the tone set by the Flyers. As a result the Kings appear to have improved and so do the Blue Jackets.
Bowman is in a better position than most even though his team is coming off a disappointing, long summer. The attitude and focus should be better for the Hawks when they hit the ice for training camp after their first round exit. Bowman won’t be complacent but he won’t feel overwhelmed to shake things up.
Someone who was aggressive last summer but didn’t accomplish enough is Sharks GM, Doug Wilson.
His club has gone deep into the playoffs two years in a row and hasn’t gotten to the Finals. The Kings have improved and San Jose may need a trade, or big free agent signing to keep pace. Even with new additions, going deep into the playoffs three consecutive years is a very difficult challenge.
The biggest name I’m hearing being shopped is Sharks’ forward Dany Heatley.
Heatley, like Jeff Carter and Mike Richards has a window in his contract whereby Wilson could trade him without asking permission. So if there is a market out there for a very high priced sniper who doesn’t always show up, Wilson could be in luck.
The key to trading high priced players is to find another team desperate to improve.
The LA Kings have been built to win the last couple of seasons but have fallen short. They put themselves in a position to go deep into the playoffs but needed more. LA had the assets to trade and the financial stability to afford Richards.
The Blue Jackets had to do something or their small loyal fan base would likely diminish. Soon than later Columbus has to approach breakeven rather than lose around $25 million per season. Otherwise the Jackets could become another relocation candidate.
One of my favorite players to watch is Rick Nash. But he has been playing with one arm tied behind his back. I’m not sure if the addition of Carter will turn the Jackets into a true playoff contender. But they did take a big step toward becoming a relevant sports story in Columbus once again.
This should be a very interesting weekend all around the NHL.
The Hawks have five selections in the first 80 picks in what many believe to be a deep draft. Bowman could be active drafting prospects or he may package some and make a trade or two.
It all may depend on finding the correct trade partner and it’s nice to not feel desperate.
To finish up the Mike Haviland Winnipeg story….
I did not hear Haviland was promised the job but my feeling was the longer it dragged on the better for him. That obviously was wrong.
It could also be wrong to assume, but it seems unlikely Claude Noel was the first choice of Kevin Cheveldayoff. I doubt Cheveldayoff would have let things go on for so long unless there was a lot of debate in the Winnipeg front office.
Although the Devils’ coaching job is still available, I have heard the primary focus for Haviland, until the end, was Winnipeg. At this point it is only a guess as to whether he will get an interview in New Jersey.
Hopefully if Haviland is under consideration for the Devils’ position he won’t have to go through another long ordeal.
More next week after the draft concerning the new schedule.
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