Sometimes things work out with an obvious trade partner.
There was only one team that could swallow Brian Campbell’s contract and it was Dale Tallon’s Panthers. Stan Bowman somehow got Campbell to approve the deal and the rest is a math equation.
I hesitate to call this transaction a trade.
This wasn’t a talent for talent deal. This was about a huge, long term contract going one way with a lesser term, smaller contract coming back. The end result is the Blackhawks free up approximately $12 million in cap space over the next three seasons. The big savings comes into play during years four and five when the Hawks realize over $14 million in salary cap space.
I won’t criticize either trade from Friday because Bowman has to have a bigger plan. But the Hawks need to acquire some proven talent.
Unrestricted free agents, Brooks Laich, Chad LaRose, Chris Higgins, Brent Sopel and others could be on Bowman’s wish list. Maybe even a higher priced UFA….We will have to wait and see.
Besides being very active on July 1, the Hawks may do something they never have done in the past.
Bowman could line up a candidate for an offer sheet and take a swing.The young and very talented TJ Oshie is a restrictive free agent as is Rangers’ center Brandon Dubinsky.
For now here are the facts…
The Blackhawks are not a better team without Campbell and Troy Brouwer. But they are a franchise with many more options.
Give Tallon credit, by acquiring Campbell he can at least paint the illusion the Panthers are a playoff contender for next season. But I wouldn’t bet a nickel that three years from now the franchise will be playing in Florida.
Until proven otherwise Rusty Olesz is a classic first round underachiever. To complicate matters he is coming off ACL surgery. Not to mention he could be another one time center who would rather play the wing position.
When healthy the former seventh overall draft pick never accomplished very much. It would not be harsh to say the 25 year old Olesz has been a bust. Normally a top ten draft pick is not used to snag a bottom six forward.
So unless an epiphany for Olesz takes place over the next few months he could soon be wearing a Rockford Ice Hog jersey rather than the Indian Head.
Sending a $3 million salary to Rockford isn’t out of the question for Rocky Wirtz. Actually, after next season Olesz’ salary is closer to $4 million. The option of a contract buyout is a possibility also.
Until I watch a player for a number of games my opinion is usually reserved. But whenever I have seen Olesz perform he wasn’t very noticeable.
At first blush my choice would be to have Rob Klinkhammer patrolling the United Center ice rather than Olesz. Klinkhammer and others may have a more promising NHL future as third or fourth line players.
Troy Brouwer is coming off shoulder surgery and is an unsigned, arbitration eligible restricted free agent. Getting a first round pick for him isn’t terrible. The Hawks have some fine scouts, so hopefully Philp Danault will become an important addition within a few years.
The Blackhawks first selection, 18 year old center Mark McNeill looks physically more mature than his age would indicate. My first impression is McNeill looks like the player the Hawks thought Kyle Beach would be by now.
Stan Bowman needed to realign his defense.
Hawk management loves Nick Leddy and he needs ice time. So does the very talented Niklas Hjalamarsson, who now for sure is not a trade candidate. The Hawks did need to open up playing time for those two players and now they have.
Also, RFA Chris Campoli could become a key player on the Hawks’ blueline and there is only so many minutes to go around. Plus now there will be more cap space available for Patrick Sharps’ contract extension.
Bowman has some breathing room and can make this team “his” club.
There has to be more to come, because there is a lot more wood to chop.
For those who often booed Campbell and let his mega contract bother them…
The price of beer, frozen margaritas and jumbo pretzels at the UC is not going to be reduced.
The Hawks will always be close to the cap ceiling as long as the United Center remains sold out for every game.
My guess is the reason Campbell waived his no trade clause is because he was probably a bit hurt. Now he can play somewhere he is wanted. Campbell might be more comfortable being a big fish in a small pond.
Put yourself in Campbell’s place.
He comes to Chicago and struggles but then the team wins the Stanley Cup. The following year Campbell doesn’t have a Cup hangover, he has his best season as a Hawk….
Then Bowman asks him to waive his no trade clause.
Campbell makes a ton of dough to play the game he loves….
Although I don’t feel sorry for him, everyone has feelings. Some of us can hide them better than others.
I was surprised the deal was made last night. But after the trade rumor about Campbell to the Blue Jackets came out something was going to go down eventually.
Campbell was booed on opening night the season the Hawks won the Cup. People latched onto him as a whipping boy.
Imagine the abuse he would have been subject to if next season didn’t turn out well.
A no trade clause does hamper a GM’s ability to make trades. But once a player is asked to waive his no trade clause, although they may first refuse, soon after an address change often happens.
Obviously Panther center Stephen Weiss would have been a much better addition than Olesz…But Tallon must have other plans for him.
Hawk fans should stay tuned for the next seven days or so.
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