An Interesting Weekend Ahead

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.

Al’s Shots

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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  1. Patrick says:

    Good stuff, Al. You know my target, and I’ve found a way to fit both Weiss and Hartnell under the cap. Unlikely, but I’d love it. CapGeek is a riot…

    Keep the rumors coming!

    PS – I don’t agree with Jaekel’s “Sophie’s Choice” posting today – he seems to be a season off on his thinking with Sharp’s contract. The 2011-2012 Hawks will be improvemed, and if Brouwer moves, the Hawks will be better for it (and it won’t be just for prospects)

    • rock says:

      Its always raining over there. As long as the core bounces back (plays like not last year) and stays healthy they should be fine.

      • CBH1619 says:

        @rock
        I agree, Jaekel always posts that overly cynical depressing crap like we’re going to be the NYI this year if we don’t keep Troy(his new favorite player since Buff left). i like troy, i want to keep him and i don’t think he should be the odd man out, but if he is moved that physicality will need to be replaced.

        • rock says:

          Yea, though I think he brings up a lot of valid points and getting a completely different opinion or view can be beneficial.

          Aside from the end of the world / Kane bashing stuff that goes on regularly there is more often than not a pretty solid assessment of whatever situation is being dissected.

  2. CBH1619 says:

    As an aside, I am not sure that I fully grasp the logic of signing Sharp now(rumors). sign your role players now(Brouwer, Frolik, Campoli). Perhaps you might even have enough to add to this team, i think that is the better plan of attack, than losing 1 to 1.5 million of what you have to play with in order to extend Sharp right now.
    By the way, great write up Al, I enjoy reading your blogs

  3. pucksnut says:

    Sharp’s extension would not effect the upcoming season’s cap it would begin the following season. I also disagree with Jaekel’s gloom and doom if we trade brouwer, I would prefer to lock up sharp because he is not only a good player but a great teammate and one who always makes himself available to the fans and the media.

    • CBH1619 says:

      @pucksnut
      you know, after i posted i was wondering if a new contract was singed it would nullify the old one or take effect after the previous one had expired. thanks for correctly informing me.
      now JJ’s tale of woe, his proclamations that the end of the ‘Hawks(as a contender) is near, has no relevance. if the new contract does not effect this upcoming 2011-2012 cap, then i have no idea what all the fuss is about. The cap could go up again next season… I liked HB a lot better when Al wrote there, far more grounded and based in reality.

  4. Dave Morris says:

    Al, many thanks as always. Stan Bowman doesn’t offer volumes of verbosity, but what he does say tells us a lot. Namely, when Stan says several free agents won’t be back and that new people are going to be promoted, we can expect that is what will happen.

    Brouwer is by all accounts a fine young man, but his production dropped off dramatically after his 2009-10 season, perhaps due in part to the personal difficulties he experienced with his father’s illness.

    The hockey business isn’t sentimental, and Troy’s been given every reasonable opportunity to be a Top 6 guy…which he may simply not be.

    You often write about ‘having too many of the same kinds of players’, and with Bryan Bickell having shown a new level of play in the post season before his unfortunate injury, B2 could replace Brouwer.

    Then of course you have Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin and Marcus Kruger, as well as Brandon Pirri, all waiting in line for their shot at a roster spot.

    As far as the prospects are concerned, you pointed out quite rightly it’s not wise to rush them, but rather let them develop in junior or the AHL for as long as is appropriate.

    Bowman is wise to wait and see how things shake out this weekend and leading up to July 1.

    There are some very good players who could replenish the supporting cast in CHI…Bowman has a few more dollars to play with.

    Should be a fun draft and a fascinating Free Agent Frenzy.

  5. Al Cimaglia says:

    …You often write about ‘having too many of the same kinds of players’, and with Bryan Bickell having shown a new level of play in the post season before his unfortunate injury, B2 could replace Brouwer….

    Dave,

    I think you hit the reason Brouwer would be traded in the above passage.

    The problem I have with that thinking is none of the youngsters mentioned were 40 goal scorers in the AHL.

    But now could be the time to deal Brouwer if Bowman feels he can be replaced.

    Trading an unsigned Brouwer won’t get the Hawks a second line center but Bowman can use him to put together a creative package.

  6. Al Cimaglia says:

    Guys,

    Thanks for the nice words…

    Trading Brouwer is not becuase of an either or situation with Sharp.

    As I have stated here and other places the Hawks were not going to trade Sharp.

    As you know Hammer is on my trade list….

    But I haven’t heard a peep he is being shopped.

  7. Al Cimaglia says:

    The reason to resign Sharp sooner than later is two fold.

    1. The Hawks want to reward a player they consider an integral part of their success.

    More importantly..

    2. It will be more affordable to resign Sharp sooner if he has another season like last year.

    Also I think if done for a longer term and more quickly..

    Sharp gives a bit of a hometown discount.

    • CBH1619 says:

      Well said, when i posed the question above, i thought a new contract would nullify the previous one. Having now been properly informed, signing him now, does make more sense than waiting.

  8. Living the Cup says:

    Glad to hear the Sharp extension rumours – I believe in retaining him if they want to win more Cups.

    Not that you can’t without him but he’s a proven winner and clutch playoff performer not to mention a leader – why would you trade him? IMO that’s not how you win Cups.

    We have holes to fill for sure but Stan can do it another way, not by trading Sharp.

    Maybe with the cap increase the Hawks could get someone like Leino to play in their top 6. Then is Brouwer worth 2M to be a bottom 6.

    Bickell like Dave mentioned is doing a nice job on the 3rd line – I suppose Brouwer could slide in there and move Bickell to the 4th or maybe Brouwer leaves.

  9. rock says:

    In all honesty there have been some pretty iffy calls, as well as great decisions by the current regime.

    The one thing that has been consistent is that they support “their” guys. Brouwer is not in that category. StanBow has been pretty vocal about his man crush for Sharp and Hammer so I doubt they will be out the door, especially with the rise in cap space.

    I would rather have Brouwer than Frolik but that is definitely arguable and paying either over 6mil/3years is to much IMO.

    Campoli seems like a guy they will retain.

    They also want to play the puck possession game. With that style excessive size and physicality aren’t necessary. 3 or 4 guys tops who can deliver a solid hit (not including seabs) and provide some energy while not being a pylon or having stone hands should get the job done.

    • Living the Cup says:

      I agree Rock

      They can get outhit and still win by out skilling the other team and having enough toughness to not get pushed around.

      I agree we were missing some of the latter last year but you don’t trade Sharp to get it IMO.

      • rock says:

        I disagree with trading Sharp as well.

        How bout that alleged Campbell deal…

        This off season has been insane so far and the free agent wars havent even started yet…

  10. Al Cimaglia says:

    The hit stat like most others can be misleading.

    The team chasing the puck does most of the hitting…

    Being more physical is a different story.

    Frolik has no leverage except an offer sheet…Brouwer can go to arbitration…big difference.

    Brouwer could be a solid goal scoring forward….different player than Rene Bourque but he was another vg goal acorer in the AHL…

    The Hawks couldn’t find a spot for him but Calgary did.

    Brouwer could be in a similar situation.

  11. Al Cimaglia says:

    Campbell to the Blue Jacket rumor going around …just denied.

    Did the Blue Jacket ownership strike an oil well recently?

  12. Al Cimaglia says:

    Per Jesse Rogers Tweet…Campbell turned down the the trade.

    Evidently no window like with Richards and Carter…

  13. RJF says:

    Campbell and whatever for Carter??? Could you believe?

  14. Living the Cup says:

    Campbell to Florida!!

    • RJF says:

      Campbell for Olesz it looks like? OMG In Stan we trust!

      • Patrick says:

        Weiss would have been better. Anyone know anything about Olesz?

        • Living the Cup says:

          Fla took Campbell – it’s too much to expect to give us Weiss as well!

          I’m sure part of the deal in DT taking BC’s contract is SB take something of a bad contract back.

          However Olesz has been injured a lot – if he can stay healthy maybe he can contribute.

          He’s a former 1st rounder

  15. RJF says:

    Look at that shitt..y grin on Stan’s face, this is the master Houdini right there. I did not think it could be done.

  16. CBH1619 says:

    its a damn shame, the ‘Hawks have 14 million to play around with and that UFA is list is real weak.

  17. Living the Cup says:

    Maybe now Stan is in on Laich for 2nd C.

    • Patrick says:

      Brad Richards at $30M for 5 years – yea, not likely, but a fan can dream…

      • rock says:

        Id rather see Liach, 6 years younger, seems durable and responsible in his own end. Not that Richards isn’t but

        A. Dont think they can spend huge money on another guy over 30
        B. Having a guy like Richards on the team playing 3rd wheel to Toews, Kane, Keith, Sharp, Hossa (probably in that order) could cause some disruptions
        C. The Hawks just dumped 7mil, I doubt they would add that kind of contract again

        Though I was wrong, way wrong on Campbell ever leaving and Richards looks real good on paper, I don’t see it working out for the Hawks in the long run (See Miami Heat).

  18. RJF says:

    What about a guy like Wiz- tough, physical, high offensive capabilities, play the point on the power play, don’t know if Q and Seabrook want him back, but he fits the mold of someone we could use?

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      I don’t see the Hawks spending that much on one defenseman.

      Wiz could be in line for a big payday.

  19. Living the Cup says:

    Hey Al

    FYI your newest blog on (Brouwer and Campbell) doesn’t have a reply button.