Filtering GM Speak and Some Speculation

The feedback from Blackhawk fans concerning the July 1 acquisitions is mixed. Some feel change was needed and the new arrivals will help their favorite club progress next season. Others believe the Hawks are now an older, slower team. Both sides have valid points.

Back on April 18, concerning the future direction of the Hawks I wrote….

Blackhawk management will first have to decide what style of game they want to play going forward. In my view the NHL is moving toward fewer penalties for interference as well as other infractions. That doesn’t help a non-physical, puck possession team.

So adding experienced players who are not as fast but more physical isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although at this point the roster isn’t close to being set and the degree of adjustment concerning style of play is still unknown.

There are a couple of things which we can be sure about.

When Brian Campbell finally said uncle and approved his trade to the land of sunshine and bloated contracts, the Blackhawks would have to adjust. Campbell’s impact on a game really can’t be measured by points alone.

His skating ability, vision and passing helped the offense to flow. Many times Campbell started a play which led to a goal but couldn’t get credited with an assist. He also turned plays which helped the Hawks transition from defense to offense quickly.

The other issue created from Campbell’s departure is how playing time will be distributed among Hawk defensemen. Campbell played a lot of minutes and they won’t be easy to replace. It’s too early to tell what is possible but my plan would be as follows.

One way or the other the ice time for Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook has to stay below 25 minutes in many games.

Maybe Niklas Hjalmarsson and Nick Leddy log about 20 minutes a night while the third pairing gets around 15 minutes of ice time. Whomever the third pairing is they need to contribute so the top four can be effective late in the season and in the playoffs. Lastly Keith and Seabrook need some help on the penalty kill, the hard minutes take a toll.

There is an unclear picture because the unsigned Chris Campoli might not be back. Filtering through the ambiguity and flip flopping of general manager speak the Hawks did address a specific need.

For those who were concerned about the Blackhawks lacking veteran leadership, Stan Bowman has dealt with your concern.

The additions of Andrew Brunette, Jamal Mayers and Sean O’Donnell will fill that void. Those players know what it takes to prepare for battle and they haven’t been known to take nights off. Brett McLean has experience too but he may start the season in Rockford.

Brunette is a smart veteran and former captain who should be able to chip in with some offense. The Hawks needed a player to provide net presence and Brunette could pick up a few goals by standing his ground in the slot area.

Mayers is a sly pro who can play rough by not stupid. He had a good season last year with San Jose and can contribute when called upon. It remains to be seen how many games Mayers will play. But when given the opportunity he will know his role and should be an effective fourth line player.

O’Donnell will give young Leddy an experienced mentor. He can still play at the age of 39, soon to be 40, and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves. O’Donnell has been involved in 12 fights the past two seasons, eight more than Brent Seabrook. O’Donnell fights the big boys when called upon and most often wins. He provides stability on the blueline and doesn’t take any crap.

The Hawks also added Dan Carcillo to the mix, but I’m not sure why. While with the Phoenix Coyotes, Carcillo was an impressive agitator who could play some hockey. Unfortunately over the years Carcillo has not grown wiser.

Maybe under Joel Quenneville’s tutelage Carcillo will understand the bigger picture. Up until now Carcillo’s focus has been shaky.

About three few years ago I had a conversation with a Hawk tough guy who knew Carcillo. The impression he shared was Carcillo is a good guy but “crazy”. He said you never could be sure what Carcillo would do on the ice.

If Carcillo can play with an edge but not be stupid he could be used as a good example for Kyle Beach. If Carcillo stays as scattered and selfish then there is a bad example for Beach to learn from. Beach should realize he will never be a consistent NHL perfomer by not playing with discipline.

When the season ended Bowman commented on some players.

A few months ago it seemed like Ben Smith and Marcus Kruger had likely roster spots come this fall. Now with the new additions, Smith and Kruger could begin the season in Rockford which wouldn’t be terrible. In any event training camp should be interesting.

Two other Hawks which were talked about as if they would be in Chicago for years were Campoli and Michael Frolik and both are still unsigned. Hockey logic tells me Frolik has little bargaining power so his chances of remaining a Blackhawk are better than Campoli.

With all the bloated contracts signed recently, Bowman may not be comfortable with Campoli going to arbitration. Campoli filed for arbitration last year while with the Senators and his intentions for this summer will be known later today.

****Reported after the blog was posted….
Campoli has filed for salary arbitration.

There was one perquisite for Bowman in regards to acquiring players on July 1.

Every new Blackhawk was signed for only one season and that was by design.

Al’s Shots

I shared the likelihood of Dany Heatley being dealt on June 24, but there aren’t any reliable whispers on the Blackhawk front except about Ice Hog head coach Bill Peters.

From what I have heard Peters and only a couple of others are on Mike Babcock’s list to become assistant coaches in Detroit. Babcock has two openings and it has been mentioned he will likely announce his decision this week.

If Peters leaves for Detroit the Hawks will have to make a good choice for his replacement.

I can’t remember a time when the Hawks have had more highly rated prospects in their system. The importance of a good teacher in Rockford can’t be discounted.

Although there aren’t any solid trade rumors I can provide some speculation.

I get a strong feeling that somewhere now John Scott is being coached up to enhance his playing skills. Maybe Scott can become something he hasn’t been or possibly the Hawks are beginning to go into a different direction.

Maybe the reports on Scott aren’t promising. That could be why Mayers and Carcillo were both signed. If Campoli is resigned, including Scott the Hawks would have eight defenders.

If Steve Montador is the replacement for Campoli and Brent Sopel isn’t brought back the Hawks would have seven defenseman including Scott.

But Jordan Hendry has been the forgotten man and maybe Bowman has a Sopel contract already in his desk drawer.

O’Donnell played in 81 NHL games last season….He isn’t going to get shuffled to the AHL.

The point is the Hawk blue line could be overcrowded….Maybe Scott will be entertaining fans in Rockford rather than Chicago??

The Rangers haven’t made a big reactionary trade as a result of acquiring Brad Richards.

Richards signed for a lower cap hit than I thought, which could mean there is little chance of acquiring a good center in Brandon Dubinsky….But I won’t give up yet.

The Sabres have a couple of centers who may have to be moved….Paul Gaustad and Derick Roy. Buffalo is bumping the salary cap ceiling.

A player who I would like more if he was bigger is Oiler center, Sam Gagne.

The Hawks have added some size so bringing Gagne to Chicago to team up with old buddy Pat Kane might be a possiblity.

Gagne centered for Kane in London and those two would be fun to watch….As long as they wouldn’t be defensive liabilities.

Frolik has been the subject of some trade rumors….But the Hawks aren’t backed into a corner with him.

Frolik isn’t arbitration eligible but he is aware of all the fat contracts being given out around the league.

The Campoli and Frolik negotiations are probably sticky and might stay that way for awhile.

Maybe Bowman gets tired of the drama and…

Packages the rights to Frolik and Campoli to acquire a center??

Let’s not forget Viktor Stalberg….He hasn’t been chatted up by the Hawk front office.

Stalberg could be another candidate to be included in a trade package.

Stalberg has potential and might worth hanging onto for the right price.

I would feel much more optimistic about the new season if the Hawks can ice three scoring lines.

Acquiring another goal scorer could be the ticket….

The Hawks offense may not be as potent without Campbell and to a lesser extent Brouwer.

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  1. ty says:

    Al, I’m getting thrown off by Bowman these days – he gives the impression that he’s a straight shooter in talks with the media but like you mentioned above, Frolik and Campoli seemed to be LOCKS for years to come with the Hawks… now, not too sure they’ll be back at all.

    I would be ok if Campoli wasn’t resigned and Sopel was brought in for depth. With the Montador and O’Donnell signings that helps out on the back end for sure – especially on the PK like you said.

    Frolik though, I was really impressed with his game in the playoffs and in the World Championships… I would like him to be retained as he shouldn’t be that pricey. Walsh is his agent though, so who knows.

    Bowman has a little flexibility with his cap situation right now so grabbing a centre on a 1/2-year deal I think will happen until Kruger and/or McNeill get their pro games in order. Maybe not Dubinsky (I would love him in a Hawks jersey though) but maybe Prospal or Arnott?

    If not, what are your thoughts of maybe turning Olesz back to the centre position he was drafted at. He has the size and hockey IQ I think and with a fresh start in Chicago, that might work with Frolik and Bickell/Smith on his wings.

    Just a thought.

    Nice write up by the way.

    Cheers,
    Ty

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      Anything from Olesz beyond what he has been will be a pleasant surprise…I am not counting on much.

      Bowman is in a tough spot…

      GM’s have to talk a certain way…It is best to not always take them so literally.

  2. Al Cimaglia says:

    Campoli and Stalberg have filed for arbitration.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      I want to edit my commnet on Stalberg…still checking but Campoli has filed.

      • ty says:

        Stalberg wasn’t arb eligible after all Al? What’s the hold up with him I wonder, he doesn’t have much leverage.

        • Al Cimaglia says:

          I was under the impression only Frolik wasn’t arbitration eligible and wrote so a few times…

          And was never corrected but now a story comes out Stalberg is not arbitartion eligible either.

          I don’t know for sure…But a player not being arbitration eligible means he has a lot less leverage so a club could wait things out.

          Stalberg is older than Frolik and signed his first NHL contract after he was 20…But he has only been in the NHL since 2009…

  3. James says:

    Roy and Gaustad aren’t moving to clear cap space in Buffalo. The Sabres have lost 3 centers off of their top 6 in the pro depth chart this off season (Connolly, Neidermayer, and Byron) and only added Leino who hasn’t played center in North America and is a projection to the position.

    Shaone Morrisonn has asked to be waived with the additions of Regehr & Ehrhoff on the blueline. That clears $2M in cap space.

    Ales Kotalik’s $3M will likely be off the books, as well.

    The Sabres need to add a center and not subtract one.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      Actually Rob Ray mentioned on XM last week he feels the Sabres will make a deal and he was thinking Roy could be going.

  4. Living the Cup says:

    Do you think Al that arb is OK with Bowman? That way he gets Campoli for 1 year and next year he’s UFA.

    The arb award surely won’t be that high if it goes to arb – his numbers aren’t great.

    Assuming he’s gone as a UFA after 2011-12 we could hopefully fill that spot with whichever Hog is ready, assuming one of them at least is ready.

    Frolik I’m assuming will be back – I hope so.

    Buffalo can’t take on any salary in a trade – maybe an Ice Hog like Beach for Gaustad!! or something similar – that would be sweet, someone else unloading salary and the Hawks having the space to take it on.

    Olesz is definitely a wild card – I don’t know him as a player so can’t comment. However there is another buy out period I believe in August. If the Hawks were to swing a trade that put them too tight to the cap they could buy him out or send him to Rockford.

    On the other hand maybe he can play with some good coaching.

    I’m also assuming SB is just holding off on Stalberg to see where the other RFA chips fall. VS won’t command much of a raise and for a cheap rate there is still potential there.

  5. Al Cimaglia says:

    Campoli #’s might not be great but look at the salaries of some defensemen.

    If Bowman envisioned resigning Campoli for well under $2 mill per season….I’m not sure that will happen.

    Stalberg is another story.

  6. KC Hawk says:

    In my opinion , SB should have signed Frolik and Campoli before the going rates webt up . Should have learned from last year.

    I am losing faith in SB.

    • daddio says:

      Sign them to what they want? That’s what a lot of teams do, teams that don’t come within sniffing distance of the cup. Think UFA rates went up because of the $48.3M floor and last year of the CBA. That’s not exactly a 1:1 relationship to RFA’s.

      Last years situation was way different. They had to shed salary before the opening of FA, which really meant before the draft. Yes SB probably was blind sided with the Hammer OS and Niemi’s agent insistance on Arb. But this year the ‘Hawks had a clear vision of going more physical.

      Think we have to let this play out since significant trades after 7/1 are more likely this year for the ‘Hawks than last year.

  7. RJF says:

    Stalberg should be arb eligible:

    He was 23 yrs old when he signed his first contract (2009) which means he’s arb eligible after 2 years of professional experience.

    He played in 40 games with the Leafs 2 seasons ago and then this year with the Hawks, so that’s his 2 years, and therefore he should be arb eligible.

  8. RJF says:

    In regards to Campoli, keep in mind any contracts of UFA’s cannot be considered comparable so some of the nonsense from July 1 won’t count.
    Oddly, you could look at Steve Montador’s contract as a comparable and Campoli would not compare favorably- SM has better numbers and more years of service etc.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      You are correct about UFA comparables but there is reason for Campoli to believe he will be awarded close to $2 mill.

      You are correct about Montador’s resume but I will take Campoli’s side…

      Who is going to play more minutes?

      Even if the playing time is similar Campoli will be in line for a nice raise although he won’t be near the $2.75 Montador received.

      My guess is the Hawks don’t think so..Or the Hawks have an alternate plan they are content with.

      There was a time when an extra $500k or $1 mill per season didn’t matter very much around here…

      Those days are over.

      • Living the Cup says:

        Term may the sticking point with Campoli. I could see the Hawks only wanting a 1 or 2 year deal unless he’s going to come cheap for a 3 -4 year contract.

        I could see CC wanting 10M for 4 years sorta like Montador but the Hawks envisioning more like 2 years 4M.

        In a year or 2 there will be young replacements for Campoli so the Hawks may take the arb decision and say goodbye after 1 year.

        It’s not a bad strategy in my mind. Campoli is not a core guy and his style is similar to a lot of what we have now and in the future.

        You’d think an avg. cap hit of 2.25M would get it done but for what term?

        If CC’s not getting the longer deal then he probably wants arb as well to get as much as he can on a 1 year deal.

        If Campoli wants to win a Cup he’d be wise to sign soon otherwise he’ll be making more money next year somewhere where they don’t compete for the SC.

  9. RJF says:

    What’s interesting is that Troy Brouwer did not file for arbitration. He’s giving up alot of power unless he smells an offer sheet?
    Obviously, Campoli and Stalberg didn’t think they would get offer sheets, and I wouldn’t disagree with them.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      I don’t think a player can take a chance on if he will get an offer sheet and not file for arbitration…I can’t see any agent agreeing with that plan.

      Maybe Brouwer signed a deal late in the day and it will be announced tomorrow.

      • RJF says:

        Ladd’s deal was announced at the 11th hour. My point is that Brouwer’s agent is not taking a chance… like he’s heard something through the tea leaves.
        I’m very likely wrong, but it’s fun to analyze.

  10. Dave Morris says:

    Al, as always, you make a number of excellent points. This one stands out in particular for me:

    “…adding experienced players who are not as fast but more physical isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although at this point the roster isn’t close to being set and the degree of adjustment concerning style of play is still unknown.”

    One of the key issues you correctly identified last season was the Hawks’ lack of experienced players who could provide effective leadership.

    Quenneville seemed to confirm that in his recently reported comments about “the room being too quiet”.

    Hawk fans who chose, like Patrick Sharp, to give the newcomers, or “scrubs” as some have derisively called them, the benefit of the doubt, were disappointed. With goes to show once again, that beyond the statistics, the intangibles are what matter in winning hockey games and defending championships. The middle and bottom of the roster, ie Brouwer, Kopecky, Bickell, Stalberg, et al, simply wasn’t good enough.

    Of those aforementioned forwards, only Bryan Bickell still has a Hawk contract in his mitts.

    So when Stan Bowman has a conference call and tells you he wants players to earn their jobs next year, there’s really no reason to believe he doesn’t mean it.

    You have stated on numerous occasions that competition for jobs is a healthy thing, and I agree completely.

    What vets like Brunette, O’Donnell, Mayers, Montador, and hopefully Carcillo, are going to bring, is a work ethic and a hunger to compete, that sends a message to the rest of the boys.

    Brunette’s goal production, if he maintains his consistency, will replace Brouwer’s (who BTW was matched by Bickell), so offense *should* (underline here) not be a problem.

    In terms of speed, neither Brouwer nor Kopecky were what you could call ‘fast’.

    And as you so astutely noted, the Blackhawks could no longer play a style that could justify having a premium-priced Brian Campbell aboard; the D will, we can expect, (whether Campoli is there or not) be re-adjusted accordingly.

    So IMHO this is a zero-sum game.

    The Hawks’ problems last year included a lack of physical and mental toughness. Every one of the new guys has shown they have plenty.

    After years of ‘cap hell’, the Blackhawks aren’t carrying the anchors of contracts that have a chokehold on their salary structure. Bowman, as several Hawkey writers have emphasized, has options. For once.

    Which is a very good thing.

    And it’s still a long way to October.

  11. Living the Cup says:

    Interesting read here from Jesse Rogers – if true no wonder Campoli and Frolik haven’t signed.

    Or maybe it’s planted misinformation.

    Do you think SB could have leaked this “info” to Rogers to keep the fans on his side?

    I lean toward believing it. The problem for Campoli is that Montador was UFA and is not a comparable in arb.

    Maybe Campoli gets traded for another team’s unsigned going to arb player like Cogliano. I’d do that then bring in Sopel or Hendry to round out the D.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/blackhawks/post/_/id/4667300/restricted-free-agency-challenging-again

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      …Do you think SB could have leaked this “info” to Rogers to keep the fans on his side?…

      No idea…

      I also have no idea if the players’ camp leaked the info.

  12. KC Hawk says:

    Again,if SB had signed Frolik + Campoli before July first ( say in May or early June ) , he would have had to pay less than now.

    I am VERY unimpressed with his handling of his RFAs the past 2 years .

    The jury is still out, but SB has a LOT of work to do in order to strengthen his roster . It has holes in it as big as the Cubs’ batting order . This is NOT a cup championship roster as now comprised.

    Let’s go ,Stan, the clock is ticking . Where are you ???????

    • Seth says:

      Contract negotiations are a two-way street you know. SB could have offered both Fro and CC fair contracts, but if they don’t sign them it’s out of his hands. These players aren’t stupid they know about the cap floor just like everyone else, and they realized there was going to be bloated contracts thrown around.

      Why sign in June for 1.5 million when you can sign in July for 2.5?

  13. Craig N says:

    No thanks on hendry. He blew out his knee and just doesn’t bring much. Let him rehab in Chicago and if he’s healthy in October let him go to Rockford in place of cullimore.

  14. Mr Ricochet says:

    How much does StanBow have slotted for Campoli? Where does Q have him slotted in the D rotation? I’m a fan of his because of his abilities to skate and move the puck.

    If Campoli is moved would McCabe at 2.5 or so for a year fit in the 3rd rotation or fill in the 2nd rotation due to injury? McCabe ain’t what he used to be, but he has some size and plenty of experience.

    If Campoli is hard balling for near 3 mil as an RFA I can only imagine what he’s gonna expect as a UFA next year. Maybe moving him and filling that D slot with a one year guy is what StanBow may have to do.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      THe issue for Campoli could be length of contract as well…

      For example…If Bowman wants to sign him for three years then Campoli is giving up two UFA years.

      Often that’s the rub..

      Players want security but don’t want to lose out on UFA years…

  15. Mr Ricochet says:

    I meant to add to the Hawks losing speed in the lineup. The Bruins seemed to do ok v much faster clubs including the Canucks. If the Hawks had to lose some speed to add grit, I’ll take that trade off without question. Anything to eliminate the penchant the Hawks have to play perimeter hockey.

    Positioning and experience cure a lot of ills, including a lack of speed. As of today I don’t see this as a problem for the Hawks.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      The Hawks can’t fully emulate the Bruins but I get your point.

      The Bruins defense was big and physical…they took a pounding and dished it out.

      Also they forechecked really well and and hit away too.

  16. Adam F says:

    Hey Al,

    Great Blog. maybe I’ve been listening to too much Stealer’s wheel but there’s people who llove the moves to the left of me, people who hate it to the right, and here I am stuck in the middle ( with you.)

    There has to be another move that will sway this thing for me I’m sure. I still think it’s a center, and an Oiler center makes sense. It made sense when I thought they might trade Hammer, still makes sense now. Gagner, Cogliano, I wouldn’t do Horcroff, but that looks doable.

    Some longshot ideas:

    Colorado has to need draft picks and more young talent now that they’ve traded their first round pick ( and possibly top 3 in the entire draft.) for then KHL bound Goalie Varlarmov. Couldn’t you make a deal there? Stastny would be the stuff dreams are made of. But Silent Jay McClement wouldn’t be a bad pickup either. Someone has to take draws besides Toews. And by take I mean WIN draws. If Sharp and Bolland are there, that means Toews takes every defensive draw, the lines get jumbled and Hey look ma, I’m on a Slippery slope… O’riley might be worth a look too.

    On the so-stupid I shouldn’t even bring it up side of things, Jeff Carter has sulked ever since the trade. In fact Columbus hasn’t heard diddly jack from him and sent some kind of welcoming party to his house to sell him or soothe him or something. It seems like an awkward fit. Carter isn’t going to dish to Nash. and Vice versa. I don’t think we have a playmaker or a package to give them but if Carter is not really feeling Columbus and sulks to the point of distraction…bears watching, all I’m saying.

    Heard Buffalo rumors the other day. I don’t see it. It’s not like Leino is going to play center. But Buffalo does need to shed some salary. Derek Roy? Yes, please.

    Still, would like to see the next shoe fall. Right now I’m just not sure. The veteran leadership was totally key, ad the improved PK, and crease clearing d-me are nice. But Slower is a concern, as is the Puck possession Blackhawks losing their best puck possessor.

    But the thing sticking in my craw is…..Did we need to lose Campbell to make these moves? Brunette and Brouwer wash…Carbomb, Mayers, and O’donnel fill Kopecky and Pisani’s contractual obligations. That leaves Campbel. for Montador, Olesz and 1 million dollars. Yikes…

    But again, there’s obviously another move coming.

    Have a happy.

  17. Al Cimaglia says:

    Adam,

    So far the plan has been one year signings… period.

    To acquire a second/third line center the ante will be higher and the committment longer…

    Is that in the plans?

    As far as Campbell….

    It was a rare chance to move a very big long term contract to a franchise $30 mill under the cap floor and Campbell was talked/forced into approving the trade. The Tallon realtionship was useful and needed.

    You know all that but don’t look at it as many are…

    The Campbell deal shouldn’t be about saving cap space but about having more options going forward. Also the defense needed a financial tweak…I speculated it would be a Hammer trade to get things in line.

    I am opposed to the front office starting an austerity program….So would most season ticket holders.

    That said there is cause to be more cautious cuz the new CBA will be a lot different…

    To have as solid $3 million in cap space availble in February is a lot….Then you can get a pending UFA like Shane Doan and another useful player.

  18. Jon says:

    I’d think that if Campoli wants big money, he will have to find it in another town.

    Seems like Bowman would have too many options to cave in to a big contract for Campoli, who was only obtained because we couldn’t deal for a guy like Montador (who we now have). Seems like the ‘Hawks could pick up a player in that $1-2 million range to get into the defensive mix.

    If they want a guy who can move the puck, I’d think Brian Connelly is a guy who could come up and play that role. I’m pretty sure they gave him a QO and still have his rights.

    With Campbell and now possible Campoli out of the picture, there’s an opportunity for an offense-oriented guy like Connelly. Probably as big a window as he is likely to have in Chicago, anyway.

    If the ‘Hawks hang on to any of the RFA’s, I’d go with Frolik. A lot of fans are inflating Campoli’s value to the team. He a decent player, but I don’t think they lose big replacing him with a player making about what he did this season.

  19. rock says:

    The guys they have to fill out the bottom are defined role players which is something they needed but nothing they have done will prevent Toews, Kane, Bolland and Hossa from playing 20+ minutes a night. They will have a 4th line of bashers that are good for 5 minutes a night. Yes they fit a need but in the grand scheme of an 82 game season does it really help the guys that take the most abuse?

    Same goes for the back six… Keith and Seabs are going to have to eat 25-30 mins a night as it stands. Not ideal.

    And with these recent acquisitions does that move them away them away from a “puck possession” team? And does that chasing add up on the guys playing the majority of the minutes?

    Also every single one of those players led their respective teams in penalty minutes. Penalty minute leaders going to a team with an abysmal penalty kill makes no sense to me.

    I like the Montador deal but the other ones I have some serious doubts about and cant be overly positive. I’m not super negative about the situation either I just cant figure out what the “plan” is.

    • Dave Morris says:

      @Rock> As Bowman has stated, and Al underlines, the Hawks roster is still a ‘work in progress’.

      Brunette is a bonafide Top 6 forward, and he’s a proven PP scorer as well (8 PPG last year on the offensively-challenged Wild).

      Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson and Leddy/Montador, and O’Donnell are a solid enough D (though not ideal)…if Campoli decides to ply his trade elsewhere, then it’s possible –as Al says–StanBow has a Sopel contract in his pocket. Which would be a reasonable solution.

      And who knows, now that WSH has doled out $2.5 million to TroyBrouw, and blown their budget, maybe they need to move someone…like RFA d-man John Carlson.

      The RFAs in arbitration right now also contains other intriguing names who might end up hitting the market from here to August.

      Having financial flexibility is something shocking for Hawks fans, but there are definite advantages.

      Plus, the Hawks have quality prospects like Morin, Smith and McNeill who will get a real shot.

      As we keep seeing, the NHL season is a marathon, not a sprint. And there’s still lots of time to evaluate what this group is made of.

  20. Al Cimaglia says:

    I would take the numbers mentioned concerning Campoli and Frolik not with a grain of salt but a pound of salt.

    It was almost a year ago the $4.0 million plus numbers were being floated around for Niemi…Readers will remember my thoughts about such a big ticket being reality.

    Frolik really has little choice and getting him this season on a one year contract is probably a good idea…If his demands are too high.

    Campoli because of his position is a little different.

    If he is going to play third pairing minutes well….His value for the following year should be in line with that responsibility.

    But if Campoli is thoought of as an 18-20 minute a night player and he can be locked up for a few seasons Bowman may have to pay up a bit.

    Campoli won’t lose two UFA years unless his contract averages out to about $2.25-$2.5 per year is my gues.

    If he wants a $9 mill three year deal…Bowman can go through arbitration because Campoli won’t be awarded
    $3 mill for one season.

    I don’t begrudge players making as much as possible.

    But now you can understand a little better why contracts like Kopecky and others are going to cause more harm than good in the long run.

  21. Al Cimaglia says:

    Brouwer’s contract reported…2 years …$4.70

    • shruew says:

      Doesnt seem too unreasonable.

    • Dave Morris says:

      Al, thanks for this detail…had only seen the Brouwer number from CSNCHI which was then corrected.

      With Brunette signing at $2M/1 yr, and getting a 1st rounder from WSH for Troy, looks like both CHI and WSH benefit from the deal. If Brunette can mentor young guys like Morin and Smith, all the better.

      One of the interesting aspects of the BOS-VAN series was that it was indeed the ‘role’ players who made the difference…the Nux’s stars like The Sedins, Kesler and Luongo were ultimately ineffective. And lesser-known guys like Chris Kelly, Brad Marchand, Adam McQuaid, etc etc, rose to the occasion.

      If that same type of ‘worker bee’ mentality can be instilled all through the lineup in the next edition of the Blackhawks, then perhaps we’ll see a team that is more balanced, and more successful.

      • Al Cimaglia says:

        Brunette should be useful….

        Dealing Brouwer wasn’t a cap related issue…If so it doesn’t make much sense.

        A Brouwer signing before the Kopecky bloated deal could have been for for less than $2.35.

        For whatever reason the Hawks were down on him…and they wnet in a different direction.

        If Brouwer stays healthy the Caps will have gotten a good deal….They certainly didn’t over pay.

        • Dave Morris says:

          Al, IMHO the Brouwer signing by the Caps also needs to be seen in the context of Ted Leonsis’ desire to get his team to the Cup Finals…McPhee signed Vokoun, Hamrlik, Joel Ward, Jeff Halpern and Brouwer in the hopes of getting to that next level…even if it pushed them over the cap, and even with a valuable RFA like D-man Karl Alzner (NOT John Carlson, my bad BTW) still unsigned.

          The Hawks have won their Cup. And like all the Cup winners since the lockout, they are now going through the process of re-tooling in order to develop the players/roster that will enable them to challenge again.

          It’s not an ‘instant’ process…which is now abundantly clear.

          Since the lockout, only two teams have been back to the Finals, DET/PIT in back-to-back years. And neither one of those teams has done much in the playoffs in the last two seasons.

          So if Hawks fans take a realistic view, being patient might make the process of re-tooling easier to experience.

          As you say, the Blackhawks are going in a different direction, and accomplishing that task, will take as long as it needs to.

          • Al Cimaglia says:

            Dave,

            I know all things come in time…

            The Hawks don’t have the pressure that’s on the Caps…true

            But they also have a high priced core in place….And many season ticket holders paying a big bill.

            Injuries and luck are usually the difference …

            If the Hawks have the opportunity they have to be ready to win this year.

            No one can diagram success and also time it on a consistent basis in sports.

            I don’t believe Brouwer leaving had anything to do with cap space or developing younger players…Brouwer is soon to be only 26.

            Management wanted to go in a different direction…For me there is nothing more that needs to be analyzed.

            Some would say filling the roster with 38-40 yr olds in not helping to develop young talent.

            Bowman is going to ice the best team for this season…

            Which didn’t include Brouwer in his opinion.

  22. shruew says:

    Michael Blunded traded today. Perhaps of no real interest to anyone other than me, but he was of the rookie class about when I really started to keep track of the AHL. Touted second round draft pick, size, athletic…and 4 points in ~50 NHL games…

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      Thanks…

      One of the original killer “B”‘s and if memory serves me….He was highly touted.

  23. Living the Cup says:

    Brouwer’s deal would suggest Frolik at similar or slightly less dollars don’t you think?

  24. [...] Al Cimaglia speculates on the deals and what’s ahead in Chicago.  Hockey Independent. [...]