STURM UND DRANG: Hawks Stan Pat During Spending Frenzy

Starting at noon on Sunday, the market opened up for unrestricted free agents. As time wore on, and Blackhawk fans got more itchy, the only signing Chicago GM Stan Bowman made was back-of-the-rotation DMan Sheldon Brookbank to a 2-year deal worth a total of $2.5 million. This came on the heels of Bowman signing defenseman Johnny Oduya to a 3-year, $10.15 contract.

Now, many (including this humble blogger) wondered why Bowman would move so quickly to sign Oduya. Why not let him test the open market? Would anyone really pay him that much?

Turns out, Stan got Oduya on the cheap. In fact, this 3-year deal actually pays Oduya less than his last 3-year deal did - his cap hit is dropping from $3.5 million/year to a shade over $3.38 million. But surely he could have gotten another defenseman as cheaply as he's paying Oduya, right?

Think about this - Erik Johnson is making $3.75 million over the next 4 years. Bryce Salvador rode his hot playoff run into an almost-identical-to-Oduya 3-year, $9.5 million deal. And he's 36. Sheldon Souray is making a little more than Oduya for the next three years. As you can see, he's getting about what he's worth, but maybe a little less than he would have, had he waited until July 1.

Now, the Hawks "expressed interest" in Martin Brodeur. Maybe they even made the decision tough for him. let's face it, 2 years, $4.5 million isn't a bad price to pay - that's what the Devils paid. But if Brodeur were really serious about leaving the Garden State (which, coincidentally has no gardens), he could have rolled up more dough than that. Any flirtation Marty had with the Blackhawks was just a middle-aged barfly winking at the guy down the bar to see if she's still got it. At the end of the night, she still goes home.

The Hawks also didn't bring home either of the two biggest prizes - Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. They both cast their lot for the next baker's dozen years with the Minnesota Wild. For some reason, people in these parts thought Parise and/or Suter were part of the Hawks' plan. Maybe Stan put in bids on each, but seriously - Suter would have cost more than Brent Seabrook, and he's basically the southpaw version on Seabrook. Instead, He's stacking it higher than any Blackhawk - raking in a cool $12 million next year alone, and carrying the same $7.5 million cap hit as Parise. Way too rich for Stan's blood.

As for Parise, he's a helluva left wing, no doubt about that. But the Hawks really need a second-line center. And, unfortunately, there weren't any good centers available - evidenced by the overpayment of both Olli Jokinen and Jiri Hudler. But I can't see where either Parise or Suter really could have been Plan A for the Hawks.

Now, Detroit, those guys are rogered royally. Not only did Nicklas Lidstrom retire, but their Plan A and Plan B, Suter and Parise, both went to Minnesota. Ouch.

So, the Hawks did nothing of note. But Relax. They didn't really have to. Detroit lost Lidstrom, and got left at the altar by both Suter and Parise. Nashville obviously is without Suter. The Hawks just need to be healthier this year, and Corey Crawford needs to regain his 2011 form.

And best of all, they didn't just go out and grab a bunch of dinosaurs like Dallas did.


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  • 7/8/2012 12:42 AM JDNoceChicagoTough wrote:
    I hate to break it to you...but what happened in Minnesota matters greatly.

    Once the labor dispute is over, the realignment will pass...and Minnesota will be in the Hawks' division.
    Reply to this
  • 7/8/2012 4:23 PM CT wrote:
    Minnesota got better, true. But even if they're in the Hawks division/conference, I prefer that these guys are with a team that's basically building up as opposed to strengthening teams like Detroit that already have decent foundations.

    Also, if the new CBA switches to a real dollar cap in which each player's hit correlates to his actual annual salary, the Wild are going to be right fucked during Suter and Parise's prime years.
    Reply to this

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