|Chicago Black Hawks|
|Friday, 26 August 2011 21:45|
"Oh what a relief it is." No, not the antacid commercial but Chicago's salary cap woes. In June the Blackhawks were able to rid themselves of Brian Campbell's burdensome contract by dealing him to the Florida Panthers for forward Rostislav Olesz. The Hawks were willing to take approximately 40 cents on the dollar in talent for roughly the same level of payroll relief.
The Blackhawks should survive the loss of Campbell's offensive abilities and, when all is said and done, may have a better overall pool of defensemen than last season.
Duncan Keith (a rough 2010-11 season) and Brent Seabrook will be the team's top pairing and are as good as any other combination in the league.
The second and third defensive pairings are almost interchangeable from a talent level standpoint. Niklas Hjalmarsson tailed off last season but the Hawks are counting on him to rebound in '11-'12. Youngster Nick Leddy appears poised to make the jump to a reliable player and will be counted on to replace part of Campbell's departed game. Steve Montador is a personal favorite of TheO6.com, possessing a solid slap shot, very good skating ability, an insane desire to block shots and the stones to defend teammates, even when he knows he's extremely overmatched. He will be respected in the stands and in the locker room. Sami Lepisto should grab the last slot with Sean O'Donnell waiting to be called on when needed, much like Shane Hnidy was last season in Boston.
Offensively, no worries in Chicago. Toews, Kane, Sharp and Hossa are all reliable household names and won't disappoint. Add complementary offensive players Bolland and Bickell and a dash of grit with Daniel Carcillo and the Hawks are all set at forward. TheO6.com forecasts a slight drop in production from Hossa but that will be offset by increased numbers from Bickell.
The goaltending will be good enough with Corey Crawford to win a solid chunk of regular season games but TheO6.com has grave doubts as to his ability to win multiple playoff series. Luckily, for Hawks fans, we believe that Hawks management is cognizant of that fact and that the money saved by the trade of Campbell in June of 2010 could pay huge dividends in June of 2012 if they trade for a proven playoff goaltender at the deadline.
Put the Blackhawks down as the 3rd seed in the West and as a very serious Stanley Cup contender.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 March 2013 18:30|