BLACKHAWKS SEASON IN REVIEW: FORWARDS

The Hawks added a lot of new forwards this offseason,with Dustin Byfuglien, John Madden, Adam Burish, Ben Eager, Andrew Ladd and Kris Versteeg all traded for cap reasons, lots of young, unproven forwards were given a chance to win jobs.  The bottom 2 lines were essentially overhauled, and the results were mixed, to say the least.


CT:  There's a growing chorus out there in Hawkland that Patrick Kane should be traded.  That he's too soft to handle the physical play in the playoffs.  This, of course, completely overlooks what he's done in the last two seasons when every playoff team the Hawks faced tried gooning it up on Kaner, and subsequently got their asses singed to the tune of 42 points in 38 games.  Kane only got 6 in 7 this year, so he's clearly a bum.  Anyway, regardless of what the meatballs want, Kane has a no-trade clause, and is one of the best offensive talents in the NHL.  Trading him would be assinine, and I'm pretty sure Stan Bowman knows that.  I also fully expect the rest of the "core"  forwards to return, Hossa, Toews and Sharp.  Of these guys, the one who really left me wanting more was Hossa.  Maybe its too much to ask that he still be a 40 goal scorer, but with the talent on this team, there is no reason Hoss shouldn't get 30.  Hopefully he can stay healthy for the full season and at least give us that.

What Stan Bowman will have to do is spend his offseason sifting through the non-core players deciding who to keep.  Bryan Bickell showed enough at his salary that he'll be here next year.  Dave Bolland proved his worth in the worst possible way - the Hawks were a completely different team when Bolland was injured.  He'll be back and hopefully be in the lineup enough to keep me from bitching about him.  

Tomas Kopecky probably scored enough points this year to fool some other team who needs a $2MM fourth liner.  Vaya con dios, Tomas.  The interesting calls will be on Stalberg, Frolik and Brouwer.  Brouwer went through a terrible scoring drought to end the season, but played through a separated shoulder in the playoffs and was one of the few Hawks who could be counted on to be physical on a consistent basis.  I'd like to see him back and hopefully his lack of scoring since February can work in the Hawks favor during contract talks.  Frolik intrigues me.  He had good chemistry with Bolland and is responsible enough on defense to play a checking role and provide an offensive threat from there.  I don't see him as a top six guy though, so if some team offers him big money, I doubt the Hawks would match it.  Stalberg, well, SCH has repeatedly pointed out that he's a hell of a bum slayer.  Skate him against 3rd pair defensemen and he's great.  Against top 4 four guys...not so much.  If he's interested in spending another year as a 4th liner at low money, he's worth bringing back (sensing a theme here?) but his size, speed and youth may interest some other team.

As for the rest, Ryan Johnson was a nice addition and Jake Dowell is a guy who plays center.  No issues with keeping them around.  Fernando Pisani should be careful not to let the door hit him in the ass on the way out.  
The Blackhawks front office will once again face another offseason in which the big story will be cap management.  Stan Bowman will have to find role players and hopefully a second line center at budget prices.  We'll see how it plays out.

FORK: I'll start out by saying everyone should carry a trout around with them all summer. That way as the summer progresses, it just gets nastier. Any time anybody suggests trading Patrick Kane, hit them with the trout. As much as everyone talked about how bad he was this year. He had 73 points in 73 games, 6th among NHL right wingers. Oh, but then he had a bad playoff, right? 6 points in 7 games. So hopefully everyone just shuts the hell up about Patrick Kane and he, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, and Bryan Bickell will be Blackhawks next season, to be sure.

Why Bickell? After Dustin Byfuglien was traded, he was beatified by Blackhawks' fans. During the 2009-10 regular season, he made $3 million, and gave us 17 goals and 17 assists. For a shade under $542 thousand, Bickell gave us 17 goals and 20 assists. Mind you, this was Bickell's first full NHL season. Sure, there are flaws to his game. He doesn't always play to his size, he suddenly got the idea that he was a sniper who could flip his wrister past goalies from 30 feet. Hopefully two things happen next season: 1) They make him step on a scale before every game, and they make him walk through a 6-foot doorway so he can understand he's a big boy, and 2) He misses a shift after every 30-footer that hits the goalie in the crest. But he's one helluva bargain.

Dave Bolland will also probably be back. Partly because after his back issues and concussion, he'd be a colossal risk for any team who would give up players for him. The other part of why he'll be back is that the Blackhawks are a better team with him in the lineup, and he makes his linemates better. If he can give the Hawks a reasonably healthy season, he should have two linemates who will enjoy 20 goal seasons. If he can start winning more than half his faceoffs, he'll be a beast.

As for some of the free agents...Thanks and farewell, Tomas Kopecky. Godspeed, Fernando Pisani. Viktor Stalberg? Not at the money he was making this year - he just skated up and down the wing and didn't shoot...that's not a winger, that's a linesman.

Troy Brouwer had that huge goal scoring drought at the end of the year, but he was still the only forward the Hawks had that brought physical play on a nightly basis. Hopefully the Hawks can get him signed for a couple years while Jimmy and Kevin Hayes, Phillipe Paradis and Dan Delisle learn their craft before bringing their hilking presence to the United Center in two or three years.

Michael Frolik didn't stink, but I'm not sure giving him much of a raise over the $1.275 million he made this year is really warranted, especially with youngsters like Jeremy Morin (hopefully returning from a concussion), Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith ready to assume larger roles.

Ryan Johnson and Jake Dowell would be nice fourth liners to bring back if the price is right.

Depending on how Stan works these deals, plus where the salary cap lands (look for it to go up to at least the NHLPA automatic escalator of $62.2 million) Stan might actually be able to do a little shopping this summer, and try finding a legitimate 2nd line center.

 

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  • 5/5/2011 9:10 AM Jerry Kayne wrote:
    Good posting. Too bad you felt the need to waste your bandwidth on the idiot, bandwagon jumping, troll minority about Kane. I forgot to throw the moronic media in that grouping.

    I comment about a lot of things but I'm no expert in being a G.M. But I'm really good at criticizing the play of current players. But that season for me is over until Prospects Camp. I'll evaluate talent then.

    Speaking of criticizing, it's my opinion that unless something changes in his head, Kyle Beach will never be a Blackhawk. And make sure Hossa doesn't get Boyntoned next season.

    There's one more guy I think hurt the Hawks this year and should get an ultimatum, Mike Kitchen and his PK and PP. If the Hawks kept the entire team intact and lost Kitchen the team would finish higher in the standings.

    Sign Sharp and Crawford as core players. And Frolik & Campoli for 2 years. Everyone else is on the bubble for me.
    Reply to this
    1. 5/5/2011 1:31 PM Fork wrote:
      Sharp stil has a year to go, so he'll be an in-season signing, like Seabrook was this season, or Kane/Toews/Keith the year before.

      Even if the Hawks were to re-sign Campoli, I'm not sure I'd go that long. Even if you send Leddy back to Rockford, he & Dylan Olsen would be up in a year.

      As for Frolik, it depends on what he's asking for. But I'd bring back Brouwer, just because he's the only real banger the Hawks currently have up front.
      Reply to this
  • 5/5/2011 2:27 PM Razzberry wrote:
    I think CT's response got cut off. It cuts off mid-word when talking about Hossa, and doesn't include anything he presumably wrote about the bottom 6 at all.
    Reply to this
  • 5/5/2011 2:33 PM Slak wrote:
    I agree with CT. Really hoping Hossa can stay healthy for the full s.
    Reply to this
  • 5/8/2011 1:26 AM Fro Dog wrote:
    The turds in the media who brought up the dumb idea of trading Kane were Barry Rozner and Steve Rosenbloom. I know you two gentleman criticize me for being dumb but seriously, aren't those two dumber?

    I think Johnson, Frolik and Brouwer should be re-signed. Stalberg and Pisani should never be allowed to skate in an NHL jersey.
    Reply to this
    1. 5/9/2011 12:38 PM Jerry Kayne wrote:
      That explains a lot.
      Reply to this

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