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'17/18 hawks outlook

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Modry-Jazyk said on 5 hours ago:

no new Toews photos with big fish for a week, we really are.

well...no fish here anyways.

 

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Modry-Jazyk said on 25 minutes ago:

wow, one week from now ?

yeah, only 3 days after camp opens.

i was surprised as well.

the fresh rookies might see the most action in that first one.

Edited by galaxytrash

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Modry-Jazyk said on 26 minutes ago:

wow, one week from now ?

honestly...it feels like christmas morning is coming soon.

i'm sure that the older you get....the more you can't wait. i don't recall ever being so impatient, although i have likely said that every year.  :)

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galaxytrash said on 49 minutes ago:

honestly...it feels like christmas morning is coming soon.

i'm sure that the older you get....the more you can't wait. i don't recall ever being so impatient, although i have likely said that every year.  :)

And every year it's true ... as far as you recall. :D 

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Wow - preseason is almost here!

Can't wait. I've been watching old games and just getting really excited. 

I have an optimistic feeling about this season. They boys need to be hungry and I think having new faces on the ice and behind the bench and the embarrassment of the Preds series, will be motivation for this team. Sometimes it good to play with a bit of a chip on your shoulder and the core being told they are done - can be the spark they need. Whatever it takes.

My biggest worry is always goal tending and injuries. Crow is amazing and I'm not worried about his play - but I'm always worried about unproven goal tending or injuries to Crow. But we had an unknown in Darling that came out of nowhere and helped to secure the Cup in 15 - so maybe Forsberg/Berube will step up. And of course injuries to our big players, but this team has shown it can get through tough times so I'm hopefully optimistic. 

Its really good to have Saad and Sharp back and I honestly get sad thinking about having to watch Hammer in another jersey and Kruger cause I've always liked that kid - but I'm also really happy for the kids from last season like Hartman and Hinny and Hayden and the newbies to make their marks as well. Sure the playoffs ended crappy - but the team won 50 games last year so they have it in them to play well. The goal is to get to the playoffs and see what happens. 

Go Hawks!!!! 

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galaxytrash said on 54 minutes ago:

honestly...it feels like christmas morning is coming soon.

i'm sure that the older you get....the more you can't wait. i don't recall ever being so impatient, although i have likely said that every year.  :)

This is certainly the most interesting camp in some time,a lotta variables with the vets brought in and a few kids knockin at the door. IMO,Q and the staff will have some serious decisions to make and they'll have to be the right ones for the team to succeed. Last spring's collapse reminds me how tenuous all of this really is and I'll appreciate any future success even more. Our multi cup winning vets should have a giant chip on their collective shoulders and two consecutive long summers off should give them plenty of energy,both physically and mentally to do something about it!

I think we see a competitive team that'll reach the post season but as far as expectations after that..........I just don't know at this point.

 

GO HAWKS!!!!!   

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ATNBlackhawksFan said on 2 minutes ago:

Wow - preseason is almost here!

Can't wait. I've been watching old games and just getting really excited. 

I have an optimistic feeling about this season. They boys need to be hungry and I think having new faces on the ice and behind the bench and the embarrassment of the Preds series, will be motivation for this team. Sometimes it good to play with a bit of a chip on your shoulder and the core being told they are done - can be the spark they need. Whatever it takes.

My biggest worry is always goal tending and injuries. Crow is amazing and I'm not worried about his play - but I'm always worried about unproven goal tending or injuries to Crow. But we had an unknown in Darling that came out of nowhere and helped to secure the Cup in 15 - so maybe Forsberg/Berube will step up. And of course injuries to our big players, but this team has shown it can get through tough times so I'm hopefully optimistic. 

Its really good to have Saad and Sharp back and I honestly get sad thinking about having to watch Hammer in another jersey and Kruger cause I've always liked that kid - but I'm also really happy for the kids from last season like Hartman and Hinny and Hayden and the newbies to make their marks as well. Sure the playoffs ended crappy - but the team won 50 games last year so they have it in them to play well. The goal is to get to the playoffs and see what happens. 

Go Hawks!!!! 

How ya doin' kiddo? Just read your post after I wrote mine and I guess we agree about that chip on their shoulders.

 

GO HAWKS!!!!!

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hsbob said on 2 minutes ago:

How ya doin' kiddo? Just read your post after I wrote mine and I guess we agree about that chip on their shoulders.

 

GO HAWKS!!!!!

Great minds Bobby boy! I knew you were handsome and you are apparently smart as well. :P

I'm doing good. Ready to for the season to start. Graduate school is slowly seeping out my will to live - so hockey is much needed in my household! ha. 

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jacksalmon said on 12 hours ago:

All these forecasts for the Hawks as a wild card team is a pretty good indicator that they will follow the path of the Red Wing teams as they went from excellence to oblivion.  They hung around for a few years before completely fading into the sunset.  There does not seem to be a lot of optimism about these Hawks and I guess I don't really disagree.  Hope we are all wrong, though. 

It's a foregone conclusion it will happen--not just to us but *all* teams. that have been dominant.  Core gets older, core stars have to be paid and are likely still being paid when their paycheck starts to significantly outstrip their production, and as time passes it's harder and harder for the depth to fill-in, and if they do there's no money to retain them because you're paying the core.  It's not like Detroit won't ever be a powerhouse again--and it's not like the Pens won't ever be as bad as they were when they almost moved out of Pittsburgh.

The thing about these 'hawks coming into this year that gets me into the possible "negative Nelly" mindset is that a lot of everything is only on paper--it's gotta be put to the test on the ice and a lot of it is projecting an improvement over what happened last year for established players...in other words a lot of assumptions.  If those assumptions pan out there's no reason the 'hawks can't be better (and they should be better than that urine-poor effort from the playoffs).  If those assumptions are all wrong, we miss the playoffs and heads should roll--both Core, Coach, and GM.  In between?  Probably 3rd in the division...

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Who knows what will happen - it's why they play the games. Lot's of reasons for optimism and equally for concern. One of the things I appreciate is Stan and the front office willing to try things - to not just stand pat. The moves they made were calculated gambles and hopefully they work out well - but at least they had the guts to make them.

Almost time to buckle and enjoy the ride. Exciting.

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Just remember, Yzerman did not win his first Cup till he was 31, and he went on to win 2 more, the team won another one along the way. I don't think the Hawks are done by no means, but every year wasted is another you can't get back. That's why I feel we need a much much more aggressive approach. Waiting for kids to pan out is great if you're St. Louis, or Van. But we have to strike now, if we end up with a scorched earth policy and in 5 years are at the bottom instead of slowly fading away, I like that better, Detroit will have some tough times ahead, it would've been better for them than to tank last year, and this year. They had the perfect storm to do so, last year at the Joe, and first year the LCA, people will be there regardless. Chasing the dream kills team after team, Boston is next in line to chase it and be mediocre for the next decade!!!

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Big-T said on 7 minutes ago:

Just remember, Yzerman did not win his first Cup till he was 31, and he went on to win 2 more, the team won another one along the way. I don't think the Hawks are done by no means, but every year wasted is another you can't get back. That's why I feel we need a much much more aggressive approach. Waiting for kids to pan out is great if you're St. Louis, or Van. But we have to strike now, if we end up with a scorched earth policy and in 5 years are at the bottom instead of slowly fading away, I like that better, Detroit will have some tough times ahead, it would've been better for them than to tank last year, and this year. They had the perfect storm to do so, last year at the Joe, and first year the LCA, people will be there regardless. Chasing the dream kills team after team, Boston is next in line to chase it and be mediocre for the next decade!!!

I still stand by my assertion that for the next 3-5 years the 'hawks go as the TKKS core does; we've got over 32M locked into them and all have ironclad NMC's--so even if the team is blown up in that timeframe they probably won't be moved.  We know those 4 can win--anyone saying otherwise has been hitting the 'shrooms.  You need the depth for them to lead the team to victory but if they, themselves aren't leading out in front the team is going nowhere fast--see also: 2017 playoffs. 

That being said, 3 seasons out from the one we're about to enter, the only guys we have on the books signed through are Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, and Murphy.  From there, you've got 1-3 more seasons with one of them on the books in their current form.  Sure, Seabs may retire--and I don't see Keith playing beyond his current contract.  I don't think Kane (much less Toews) will command anything near their current deals for their next ones.  IMHO that means that if we have bonafied up-and-comers who are looking at their first RFA deals right around 3 years from now (Snuggie, El Gato), we might just have the cap to retain them if they indeed show signs of being the next big names on the 'hawks.

Big if, I know, but unlike recent cap casualties, they're not going to have a ton of players making a ton of money who earned their stripes clogging up the pipeline for 2 or more contact cycles out.  IF Snuggie or El Gato end up being the real deal--like the next core leaders of the 'hawks, they'll come on when Keith and Seabrook are on their way out and Toews and Kane are fading out.

IMHO, that means that the brass has to juggle this from 2 angles:  Is the current TKKS core performing at a high enough standard that they can lead competent depth to victory?  And, are any players coming into the system right now poised to be the next team leaders?  If the 1st question is no then it doesn't matter no matter what--the window is closed until they cycle out  I hope it's not the case but it's possible.  If it is yes, but the 2nd question is no then by all means trade out our current prospects for short-term pieces who, right now, can help the TKKS core win.  If both questions are yes, then maybe given the time frame the smart move is to hold onto those "next gen" prospects and trade the others out--it will give us a head start on the rebuild.

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We're still half a decade out from a rebuild, maybe longer. I don't see how anyone can honestly write off the Hawks at this point and time? Like I stated about Yzerman, can happen here. The Hawks could win 3 more Cups with the current core. The Wings had Cheli, Rafalski, Lidstrom, Murphy etc etc. All guys considered too old, and were basically dead, especially Cheli and Murphy!!!

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LordKOTL said on 6 hours ago:

It's a foregone conclusion it will happen--not just to us but *all* teams. that have been dominant.  Core gets older, core stars have to be paid and are likely still being paid when their paycheck starts to significantly outstrip their production, and as time passes it's harder and harder for the depth to fill-in, and if they do there's no money to retain them because you're paying the core.  It's not like Detroit won't ever be a powerhouse again--and it's not like the Pens won't ever be as bad as they were when they almost moved out of Pittsburgh.

The thing about these 'hawks coming into this year that gets me into the possible "negative Nelly" mindset is that a lot of everything is only on paper--it's gotta be put to the test on the ice and a lot of it is projecting an improvement over what happened last year for established players...in other words a lot of assumptions.  If those assumptions pan out there's no reason the 'hawks can't be better (and they should be better than that urine-poor effort from the playoffs).  If those assumptions are all wrong, we miss the playoffs and heads should roll--both Core, Coach, and GM.  In between?  Probably 3rd in the division...

Based on the players (Tootoo, Bouma, Wingles, Kero, Mashinter - and those of that ilk) that it looks like they will be using on the bottom 6., they will be lucky to finish 3rd.  I'm thinking 5th, unless the kids(DeBrincat, Dauphine, Schmaultz, Hayden,Hartman,and Fortin)  round out the bottom 6 and perform well

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LordKOTL said on 1 hour ago:

I still stand by my assertion that for the next 3-5 years the 'hawks go as the TKKS core does; we've got over 32M locked into them and all have ironclad NMC's--so even if the team is blown up in that timeframe they probably won't be moved.  We know those 4 can win--anyone saying otherwise has been hitting the 'shrooms.  You need the depth for them to lead the team to victory but if they, themselves aren't leading out in front the team is going nowhere fast--see also: 2017 playoffs. 

That being said, 3 seasons out from the one we're about to enter, the only guys we have on the books signed through are Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, and Murphy.  From there, you've got 1-3 more seasons with one of them on the books in their current form.  Sure, Seabs may retire--and I don't see Keith playing beyond his current contract.  I don't think Kane (much less Toews) will command anything near their current deals for their next ones.  IMHO that means that if we have bonafied up-and-comers who are looking at their first RFA deals right around 3 years from now (Snuggie, El Gato), we might just have the cap to retain them if they indeed show signs of being the next big names on the 'hawks.

Big if, I know, but unlike recent cap casualties, they're not going to have a ton of players making a ton of money who earned their stripes clogging up the pipeline for 2 or more contact cycles out.  IF Snuggie or El Gato end up being the real deal--like the next core leaders of the 'hawks, they'll come on when Keith and Seabrook are on their way out and Toews and Kane are fading out.

IMHO, that means that the brass has to juggle this from 2 angles:  Is the current TKKS core performing at a high enough standard that they can lead competent depth to victory?  And, are any players coming into the system right now poised to be the next team leaders?  If the 1st question is no then it doesn't matter no matter what--the window is closed until they cycle out  I hope it's not the case but it's possible.  If it is yes, but the 2nd question is no then by all means trade out our current prospects for short-term pieces who, right now, can help the TKKS core win.  If both questions are yes, then maybe given the time frame the smart move is to hold onto those "next gen" prospects and trade the others out--it will give us a head start on the rebuild.

It's hard to argue with that logic.

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LordKOTL said on 1 hour ago:

I still stand by my assertion that for the next 3-5 years the 'hawks go as the TKKS core does; we've got over 32M locked into them and all have ironclad NMC's--so even if the team is blown up in that timeframe they probably won't be moved.  We know those 4 can win--anyone saying otherwise has been hitting the 'shrooms.  You need the depth for them to lead the team to victory but if they, themselves aren't leading out in front the team is going nowhere fast--see also: 2017 playoffs. 

That being said, 3 seasons out from the one we're about to enter, the only guys we have on the books signed through are Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, and Murphy.  From there, you've got 1-3 more seasons with one of them on the books in their current form.  Sure, Seabs may retire--and I don't see Keith playing beyond his current contract.  I don't think Kane (much less Toews) will command anything near their current deals for their next ones.  IMHO that means that if we have bonafied up-and-comers who are looking at their first RFA deals right around 3 years from now (Snuggie, El Gato), we might just have the cap to retain them if they indeed show signs of being the next big names on the 'hawks.

Big if, I know, but unlike recent cap casualties, they're not going to have a ton of players making a ton of money who earned their stripes clogging up the pipeline for 2 or more contact cycles out.  IF Snuggie or El Gato end up being the real deal--like the next core leaders of the 'hawks, they'll come on when Keith and Seabrook are on their way out and Toews and Kane are fading out.

IMHO, that means that the brass has to juggle this from 2 angles:  Is the current TKKS core performing at a high enough standard that they can lead competent depth to victory?  And, are any players coming into the system right now poised to be the next team leaders?  If the 1st question is no then it doesn't matter no matter what--the window is closed until they cycle out  I hope it's not the case but it's possible.  If it is yes, but the 2nd question is no then by all means trade out our current prospects for short-term pieces who, right now, can help the TKKS core win.  If both questions are yes, then maybe given the time frame the smart move is to hold onto those "next gen" prospects and trade the others out--it will give us a head start on the rebuild.

 

Big-T said on 26 minutes ago:

We're still half a decade out from a rebuild, maybe longer. I don't see how anyone can honestly write off the Hawks at this point and time? Like I stated about Yzerman, can happen here. The Hawks could win 3 more Cups with the current core. The Wings had Cheli, Rafalski, Lidstrom, Murphy etc etc. All guys considered too old, and were basically dead, especially Cheli and Murphy!!!

I don't think that any of the young players are going to lead the team to victory without significant contributions from TKKS.  They are not good enough on their own. I think Keith and Seabrook are winding down and I have no idea about Toews.  Kane could go either way, but I expect him to continue to perform pretty well.  Guys like Debrincat have the potential of a guy like Drouin and there is no way that Drouin is a team leader and none of the young guys who are just coming up, or were here last year, are the equivalent of TKKS.  They can only be very good helpers to TKKS.  Without the latter performing really well, this team will flounder again.  With TKKS performing really well and young uns performing pretty well, the Hawks will be a pretty good force. 

 

As for the potential for a rebuild, the need for one will only occur if TKKS fail.  If that occurs, their salaries are so prohibitive that no one will want them and they will be Hawks the rest of their careers leading mediocre Hawk teams for the next several years.  The rebuild will only occur when their contracts are terminated and they are not resigned.  But, I am not going to say that these guys will not rise again.  They have too much potential and I am not clairvoyant.  We'll just have to see if they still have it in them and if the rookies have something in them also. 

Edited by jacksalmon

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galaxytrash said on 8 hours ago:

honestly...it feels like christmas morning is coming soon.

i'm sure that the older you get....the more you can't wait. i don't recall ever being so impatient, although i have likely said that every year.  :)

 

All are watching football league tonight

I'm sitting here alone waiting for NHL season to start.

21752035_761487804037627_230394381248336

Edited by Modry-Jazyk
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Big-T said on 49 minutes ago:

We're still half a decade out from a rebuild, maybe longer. I don't see how anyone can honestly write off the Hawks at this point and time? Like I stated about Yzerman, can happen here. The Hawks could win 3 more Cups with the current core. The Wings had Cheli, Rafalski, Lidstrom, Murphy etc etc. All guys considered too old, and were basically dead, especially Cheli and Murphy!!!

This is my feeling, exactly.

Toews, Keith and Seabrook are not what they were, obviously,   But they are still plenty good enough if the coaching staff surrounds them with the right talent.   No team other than the Penguins has this much championship experience on its roster.

Clearly, the margin between success and failure in the league is very small.   A cup winner like Los Angeles can fall out of the playoffs quickly if management makes the wrong decisions, or if there are too many injuries.

This team is certainly tougher and more physical than last year's version.   The defence might actually be improved if one or both of Franson and Stuart sign here.   I see a team built better for a playoff run.  

I worry about the secondary scoring beyond the Kane line.  The coach still has no alternative but to rely almost exclusively on Toews/Saad to do the checking, which means they won't be scoring much.   A fourth line anchored by Tootoo won't score at all.    

Bowman has assets to move and cap space to play with after Hossa is placed on LTIR.   If he adds some legitimate talent for the heavyweight position on the fourth line or a solid defensive minded centre who can win faceoffs and take some pressure off Toews, I will feel much better.

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Big-T said on 25 minutes ago:

We're still half a decade out from a rebuild, maybe longer. I don't see how anyone can honestly write off the Hawks at this point and time? Like I stated about Yzerman, can happen here. The Hawks could win 3 more Cups with the current core. The Wings had Cheli, Rafalski, Lidstrom, Murphy etc etc. All guys considered too old, and were basically dead, especially Cheli and Murphy!!!

Of course it can, but last I remember Yzerman, Cheli, Rafalski, Lidstrom, etc. didn't leave a skidmark on the ice as bad as the 2017 'hawks playoff core did.  The dichotomy is the same guys in February:  our core can most certainly be a force and that's what we're all hoping for.  They can also crap the bed in epic fashion.  As much as we hope it's not:  failure is always an option.  That's not writing them off--that's looking at what they're capable above from both ends--good and bad.

Now, that being said, I don't think it's necessarily an age question, but rather that the looming rebuild in 4-6 years and winning now aren't necessarily mutually exclusive when it comes to up-and-coming players with respect to the depth question.  The timing of everything is actually quite good; if anyone who projects high (like Panarin or Saad before his Columbus stint), they'll be getting paid when the current top guys' contracts are up. 

If not, by all means use them to acquire here-and-now assets.  But hypothetically, if El Gato slides this year, comes back next year and projects to be, say a 25G/60PT fwd of the Kane/Panarin type (O-driver, not stalwart defensively but not a liability), why exchange that for someone who won't produce much more, is not cost-controlled, likely gone after a season or two because we don't have the cap to afford them, and when he does come due is when Toews/Kane/Keith are up--so it's not like cap's going to be a problem.

And if not, shoot him out for a here-and-now asset.  If everything clicks no matter what and we get another cup--gravy!

 

hawkswinall said on 8 minutes ago:

Based on the players (Tootoo, Bouma, Wingles, Kero, Mashinter - and those of that ilk) that it looks like they will be using on the bottom 6., they will be lucky to finish 3rd.  I'm thinking 5th, unless the kids(DeBrincat, Dauphine, Schmaultz, Hayden,Hartman,and Fortin)  round out the bottom 6 and perform well

If the bottom 6 are Tootoo, Bouma, Wingles, Kero, Mashinter, and that ilk, either Q has been taking acid rectally and we're in the lottery, or *all* of our rookies/journeymen prospect failed miserably and we're in the lottery.  IMHO I think one of our rookie/journeymen get the lottery #2LW position and hold it, leaving Sharp to anchor line 3 and the other 5 positions are a smattering of both vets and rookies that play the bottom 6 well.

Plus chemistry elsewhere can come into play.  We just don't know 'cause there are a lot of questions about chemistry and what a lot of guys will be--does the depth retool compliment the core?  Does the core bounce back? 

Really though, Considering the upswing of the Pacific, I don't think the weak central takes both wildcards, but that being said, I don't think 3rd in the central is that much of a stretch. If everything clicks for the 'hawks there's no reason they couldn't top the Central again. 

jacksalmon said on 4 minutes ago:

 

I don't think that any of the young players are going to lead the team to victory without significant contributions from TKKS.  I think Keith and Seabrook are winding down and I have no idea about Toews.  Kane could go either way, but I expect him to continue to perform pretty well.  Guys like Debrincat have the potential of a guy like Drouin and there is no way that Drouin is a team leader and none of the young guys who are just coming up, or were here last year are the equivalent of TKKS.  They can only be very good helpers to TKKS.  Without the latter performing really well, this team will flounder again.  With TKKS performing really well and young uns performing pretty well, the Hawks will be a pretty good force. 

The real question is what some of the higher-projected youth really are.  No one knows what they are until they prove it.  That being said, though, it's not like TKKS came in and immediately were *the* guys.  We had Lapointe, Augroin, Havlat, Lang, or even to a smaller extent Hossa.

I think the salient point is that no one is expecting our current crop of youngsters to be the next guy *right now*.  That's years out.  But it doesn't meant the brass shouldn't be looking forward to see if one of them might have it--and if someone projects high we're in a position where nurturing them is an option because of the timeframe. 

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Modry-Jazyk said on 1 hour ago:

 

All are watching football league tonight

I'm sitting here alone waiting for NHL season to start.

21752035_761487804037627_230394381248336

I hear ya...Right now all I'm hearing is Seahawks fans blithering about the refs costing them the game.  Drop the puck already!

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hawkswinall said on 1 hour ago:

Based on the players (Tootoo, Bouma, Wingles, Kero, Mashinter - and those of that ilk) that it looks like they will be using on the bottom 6., they will be lucky to finish 3rd.  I'm thinking 5th, unless the kids(DeBrincat, Dauphine, Schmaultz, Hayden,Hartman,and Fortin)  round out the bottom 6 and perform well

well, mashinter was signed by the sharks and andrew desjardins is on a PTO with the rangers.

as far as bouma and wingels...i'm going to wait and see them play before figuring out how to replace them.

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LordKOTL said on 3 hours ago:

I still stand by my assertion that for the next 3-5 years the 'hawks go as the TKKS core does; we've got over 32M locked into them and all have ironclad NMC's--so even if the team is blown up in that timeframe they probably won't be moved.  We know those 4 can win--anyone saying otherwise has been hitting the 'shrooms.  You need the depth for them to lead the team to victory but if they, themselves aren't leading out in front the team is going nowhere fast--see also: 2017 playoffs. 

That being said, 3 seasons out from the one we're about to enter, the only guys we have on the books signed through are Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, and Murphy.  From there, you've got 1-3 more seasons with one of them on the books in their current form.  Sure, Seabs may retire--and I don't see Keith playing beyond his current contract.  I don't think Kane (much less Toews) will command anything near their current deals for their next ones.  IMHO that means that if we have bonafied up-and-comers who are looking at their first RFA deals right around 3 years from now (Snuggie, El Gato), we might just have the cap to retain them if they indeed show signs of being the next big names on the 'hawks.

Big if, I know, but unlike recent cap casualties, they're not going to have a ton of players making a ton of money who earned their stripes clogging up the pipeline for 2 or more contact cycles out.  IF Snuggie or El Gato end up being the real deal--like the next core leaders of the 'hawks, they'll come on when Keith and Seabrook are on their way out and Toews and Kane are fading out.

IMHO, that means that the brass has to juggle this from 2 angles:  Is the current TKKS core performing at a high enough standard that they can lead competent depth to victory?  And, are any players coming into the system right now poised to be the next team leaders?  If the 1st question is no then it doesn't matter no matter what--the window is closed until they cycle out  I hope it's not the case but it's possible.  If it is yes, but the 2nd question is no then by all means trade out our current prospects for short-term pieces who, right now, can help the TKKS core win.  If both questions are yes, then maybe given the time frame the smart move is to hold onto those "next gen" prospects and trade the others out--it will give us a head start on the rebuild.

The Hawks fortunes do depend mostly on the core. Its is a big year for JT we have made excuses for him the last couple years, with Saad and Panik on his wings there shouldn't be any more. He has to be more focused on offense. Hopefully Seabs lost some weight and is in better shape because he has slowed down quite a bit the last couple years. Ketih should be healthier than he was last year I'm not as concerned about him and Kaner will be fine even though he lost the breadman and finding his replacement might take a while. Go Hawks

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Lordy, don't forget the Wings also had no salary cap to deal with. My point is, the Wings kept bringing in older and older guys and kept winning. We have a 32 and 34 year old top defensemen. Keith will be ok, I still believe he has another Norris in him, Lidstrom won 7, yes 7 starting at age 30 with his first. He won 4 in from 35 till he was 40. I believe Keith is not much below Lidstrom, and he's still young in my eyes. Everyone counted out the Pens, EVERYONE. Their top dman had a gawd damn stroke. Yes a stroke, and he came back and won. We have players like that, lots of them, all we need is for our management to supply the core players with decent talent, and that's where I've disagreed with management. I feel better moves were made this year, and we're going in a better path, but there's still a few unknowns, sometimes the unknown is the saviour we desire!!!

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