With the Stanley Cup final wrapped-up with a pretty ribbon and the 2013 Entry Draft in the rearview, we look ahead to the 2013-2014 roster. We’ve seen who has been issued compliance buyouts (Steve Montador and Rusty Olecz) and read the news of Bryan Bickell’s new contract.
Mark Lazerus @MarkLazerus
Here’s how Bickell’s deal breaks down: $1M signing bonus, $2M salary next year. Then $4M in 14-15, $4.5M the next 2 years. #Blackhawks
Free Agency starts July 5th. Welcome to the world of 365 NHL.
We’ve speculated on Chicago’s options. Here are the guidelines:
Marry: A player who is part of the core. Said player must be kept at any cost moving forward.
Date: Yes, we’re keeping it clean. This is a player Chicago should rely upon up to a certain threshold, i.e. salary. It is also used for possible free agent signings.
Kill: Harsh, yes, but business is a cold mistress. This is the category where players’ careers in the Windy City go to die.
Kane, Patrick ($6,300,000)
Toews, Jonathan ($6,300,000) :: Married
Dave Waite: Kane and Toews are the pillars of the franchise. You have to worry about Toews’ history of concussions and Kane at some point going back to Buffalo when they make him a ridiculous offer when he’s a UFA. They should both retire as Hawks and be ambassadors for life.
Will Robertson: Toews was the youngest captain in Blackhawks’ history and has done nothing to diminish the honor. Kane has started to mature off the ice without losing his impish good nature. There is no denying these two are the backbone of a franchise celebrating its 2nd Cup in four seasons.
Sharp, Patrick ($5,900,000) :: Married
Dave Waite: Big playoff goals, Sharpie is a keeper. If only the Hawks could convince him to move back to center…
Will Robertson: The contract under which Sharp operates should see him surpass Dennis Hull and slot in as the fifth most-prolific goal-scorer in Blackhawks history. He’ll also find a spot in the Top 10 for points. I want to see that happen.
Hossa, Marian ($5,275,000) :: Married
Dave Waite: For better or worse. Hossa can still be a very dominant player when healthy. His laundry list of injuries over his career make it highly unlikely he’ll finish out his contract which runs until he’s 42.
Will Robertson: Even though some assclowns wrote this piece, Big Hoss is as much a part of the core as those listed above. No one in the League quite matches his 3-zone play and deadly release.
Bickell, Bryan ($4,000,000) :: Married
Dave Waite: The Hawks only imposing physical presence up front has to be retained. Bickell is just coming into his own as a dominant power forward. He could ride shotgun for #88 and #19 for the next four years.
Will Robertson: The hometown discount wasn’t nearly as deep as some were hoping and it chased Michael Frolik to Chicago North. With some time to ruminate on the deal, it’s still friendly. Let’s hope Bickell is the one man who can chase Toews from the opponent’s crease.
Saad, Brandon ($894,167) :: Married
Dave Waite: The Man-Child got rolling as the season wore on. His future is very bright.
Will Robertson: Saad was a Calder nominee and is still on his Entry Level contract. While he didn’t show up in the box score as much during the playoffs, his future is bright indeed.
Shaw, Andrew ($577,500) :: Married
Dave Waite: The embodiment of heart in an Indianhead sweater. He’ll never score 40 goals but he’s exactly what every championship team needs.
Will Robertson: The Rat, Part II. His lasting image is raising the Cup with blood coming down his cheek. He’s as loose a guy “in the room” as they come. An effective player on and off the ice.
Morin, Jeremy ($886,667) :: Date
Dave Waite: Should be on the Hawks full-time next year. Skating isn’t great but brings good hands and grit to the party.
Will Robertson: He may slot in on the third or, more likely, as a 4th line/PK guy. He’s not worth much more than that at this point.
Hayes, Jimmy ($875,000) :: Date
Dave Waite: Love this kid’s potential. He’s got size and good hands. He can slot in on any line and be effective. Should be on the Hawks full-time next year. His brother Kevin, a center, is less of a sure bet and needs a lot of seasoning.
Will Robertson: From what I’ve seen, he can clear the defense wide, using his size to protect the puck. For a puck possession team, this is a valuable trait. His size should be an asset to Shaw as well.
Bollig, Brandon ($575,000) :: Date
Dave Waite: Hawks need a heavy and he’s fine on the fourth line next year.
Will Robertson: Nothing more than a 13th forward, which is fine. He seems to relish that role anyway.
Kruger, Marcus [RFA] :: Date
Dave Waite: Can be had in a trade. Love his tenacity and ability to never break, but his lack of size is a detriment to play on one of the top 3 lines. Great PKer.
Will Robertson: I love his heart, but he needs to win more faceoffs. He helped make the fourth line more of a 3b line.
Handzus, Michal [UFA]
Dave Waite: Date
If Zeus wants to come back to try and repeat and will take a contract under $1 million, then fine. If he wants more, can’t do it. Has three speeds: Slow, slower and slowest. May retire.
Will Robertson: Kill
He proved better against the physical teams in the postseason, but he was still a healthy scratch for San Jose during the 48-game season. I can’t see trying to plug him in for a full slate anywhere in this lineup. There are way too many prospects to hold back in favor of this guy.
Dave Waite: Date
He should make the jump over from Finland and could slot on one of the top lines. Very skilled. Hawks are high on him.
Will Robertson: Kill
Perhaps that should be more like “ignore” as he’s not even listed on CapGeek. I didn’t like the pick for a small kid raised on big ice. I hope he proves me wrong, but this is not the season to try to translate to the NHL game.
Carcillo, Daniel ($825,000) :: Kill
Dave Waite: Leave him in a ditch. Carpillow is done like a charred, three-day-old dinner. The two knee reconstruction have sapped whatever speed he once had and his game does not fit the Hawks system. Plus he’s dumber than a shovel. Buh-bye.
Will Robertson: While I’m not nearly as bitter as Rusky, Carbomb has no place on this roster. The top line experiment is over with Bickell rounding into form and he isn’t effective on either the third or fourth lines. If Stan can catch a 6th Round pick in some future draft, call it a win.
Smith, Ben ($562,500) :: Kill
Dave Waite: Smith brings speed and hustle, but no size. A classic AAAA tweener. He’s fine in Rockford for emergency call-ups but he’s not going to crack the top five lines unless there’s a rash of injuries.
Will Robertson: He’s gotten his playoff glory moments, scoring a game-winning OT goal and his name on this year’s Cup. That’s more than he could wish for. If he fails to make this season’s roster – and he will fail – he needs a new team.
Stalberg, Viktor [UFA] :: Kill
Dave Waite: Goodbye, Viktor. Might be the fastest player in the league and he’s still improving, but the Hawks can’t afford what he’s going to command on the open market, especially since he slots in as a third liner on the Hawks.
Will Robertson: He’s still got hands of stone and his speed does nothing for an inept power play. Coach Joel Quenneville was right. And I just vomited in my mouth a little having typed that.
Mayers, Jamal [UFA] :: Kill
Dave Waite: Thanks for the memories. Jammer played an important role this season, stepping in when needed. One of the best moments of the year occurred in Phoenix early in the season, when he stepped up and fought Boxhead in the Hossa revenge game. The Hawks went on to roll in that game and did so all year. May be added to the coaching staff for next year if he retires. Maybe he could coach the PP!
Will Robertson: I don’t know what happened to the guy who was a pleasure to watch when he first arrived. His size, heart and game define the prototypical fourth liner. Sadly, his career, at least in Chicago, is done.