They did it again. Old news by now, however, the Chicago Blackhawks are still reveling in their 2nd Championship win in 4 years. Sure, this Stanley Cup win will have a permanent asterisk beside it, being a shortened 48 game season, but it shouldn’t take anything away from their efforts.
Even though this was a lockout infused season, there was no shortage of Hawks’ headlines. There was the start, an incredible NHL record for the longest point streak to being a season (24 games: 21-0-3), the eluding of the Presidents’ Trophy curse and successfully thwarting of all opponents on an arguably more difficult path to the Stanley Cup celebration in 2013.
The even better news in all of this Cup celebration being, this off-season wasn’t the nightmare that Hawks fans remember from 2010. No dismantling entire lines and signing washed up veterans to come in to try to fill unrealistic roles. I dig a little deeper into this exact topic in an article I published for HOCK.ly (page 20-21). Yes, just because I haven’t blogged here in a while doesn’t mean I’ve been slacking off that much! Geeze give me some credit.
A lot has happened since Dave Bolland scored that winning goal in Game 6 vs. the Boston Bruins. Let’s take a quick look:
- Jonathan Toews won the Frank J. Selke trophy, while Coach Q was snubbed in the Jack Adams voting.
- Blackhawks traded Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik at the draft table to acquire more picks
- They drafted Ryan Hartman with their first selection. Full list and detail of picks on the Hawks website.
- Corey Crawford swears during amazing and brief parade speech.
- Dan “Carbomb” Carcillo traded to the LA Kings.
- Joel Quenneville signed a 3 year contract extension.
- On the farm, in Rockford, Ted Dent received a contract extension and the IceHogs hired Mark Osiecki as the sole assistant coach.
- Stephane Waite, the Blackhawks goaltending coach for the past 10 years leaves to join the Montreal Canadiens.
- UFA’s Handzus, Rozsival and playoff hero Bryan Bickell all agree to stay in Chicago.
- UFA’s Emery and Stalberg do not.
- Notable RFA’s Kruger, Leddy, LeBlanc, Stanton and Beach resigned.
- Depth added by Bowman in the form of free agent signings Mike Mostka, Theo Peckham and Brad Winchester.
Did I miss anything? Well, needless to say everyone is back to work and having even less time to prepare for the 2013-14 season, the Blackhawks need to stay focused to do it all again.
I’ll share my thoughts in an upcoming blog on the Olympics and potential Blackhawks who should make their countries squads. I’ll be highlighting roles and expectations of each Hawks player for this year in subsequent blogs as well. But for now, I’ll leave you with my opening day roster for 2013-14, granted Stan Bowman does not make additional moves:
Bryan Bickell ($4.000m) / Jonathan Toews ($6.300m) / Patrick Kane ($6.300m)
Patrick Sharp ($5.900m) / Brandon Pirri ($0.870m) / Marian Hossa ($5.275m)
Brandon Saad ($0.894m) / Andrew Shaw ($0.578m) / Marcus Kruger ($1.325m)
Brad Winchester ($0.550m) / Michal Handzus ($1.000m) / Ben Smith ($0.563m)
Brandon Bollig ($0.575m) /
Duncan Keith ($5.538m) / Brent Seabrook ($5.800m)
Johnny Oduya ($3.383m) / Niklas Hjalmarsson ($3.500m)
Nick Leddy ($2.700m) / Michal Rozsival ($2.200m)
Sheldon Brookbank ($1.250m) / Mike Kostka ($0.625m)
Corey Crawford ($2.667m)
Nikolai Khabibulin ($2.000m)
CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $1,099,872
* courtesy of everyone’s favourite roster/line generator CapGeek (www.capgeek.com)
~ The Hawks are going to be heavily relying on some young and relatively unproven talent in the upcoming season. Jeremy Morin, Jimmy Hayes, along with others will be called upon and may be used in a bit of a revolving door fashion while Coach Q determines what he has in his arsenal. This is a nice trend which has seen the likes of Saad, Leddy and Kruger blossom before our judging eyes the past couple of years. Enter the new class of whipping boys.
~ Khabibulin is back into the mix. Khabby is prone to injuries and takes longer to recover than most. This should be beneficial to Hawks recent addition from Finalnd, Antti Raanta giving him spot playing time with the big club once he gets a little more accustomed to the North American size rinks.
~ You really have to hand it to Stan Bowman for keeping the core together (again) all while adding in some pieces that could prove to be extremely valuable later on in the season. I’m specifically referring to the Kostka and Peckham signings. Scotty Bowman mentioned at the draft that their biggest strength was their defence and the underrated signing of Rozsival last year played a huge part. They’ve kept that grouping intact again which will allow for some younger forwards to make those mistakes during their growing pains period.
~ Finally, highlight of the summer so far was meeting Denis Savard. Such a standup guy and glad to see him still into the fold as a part of the Blackhawks ambassadors, even though he got the short end of the stick, he still proudly promotes the sport and Hawks hockey!
Comment away on the message boards, it’s been a while since I chatted Blackhawks hockey with some of you!
Ty Cam out!
Filed Under: Chicago Blackhawks
About the Author: I am a rare Chicago Blackhawks fan from Canada, one might describe me as a hockey connoisseur and a solid checking line centre to your local rec hockey team. I once lived in a town of 500 people and now work in the hockey mecca that is Toronto. I work for the Score Television Network so I couldn't get away from sports if I tried. These opinions are one of my own and not of Score Media Inc. - don't get it twisted.