Getting teased isn’t fun. Not as a kid at the playground, nor as a sports fan when missing out on a talented player. Whether Chicago fans want to admit it or not, they were pretty disappointed when LeBron James chose the Miami Heat over the Bulls. They probably weren’t as depressed when Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed with the Minnesota Wild, but it still stung.
The good news is the front office for the Blackhawks doesn’t feel the need to make a splash, meaning they don’t have to overpay for a Carlos Boozer type player. The team still needs to be upgraded at a couple positions, but not having to pay top dollar will help out in the long run.
It was just last offseason when the Blackhawks were lucky to find a taker for Brian Campbell’s contract. Most fans would love to see number 51 back in the Windy City, but nobody wants that $7.1 million cap hit. By the way, Suter and Parise signed identical contracts that add up to over $15 million.
Another point worth thinking about is the uncertainty of the salary cap moving forward. It has been set at $70.2 million for the 2012-13 season. The Collective Bargaining Agreement still needs to be drawn up and signed by both the League and the Player’s Association. It’s hard to say whether the cap will stay around $70 million or be moved higher or lower in the years to come.
Parise would have filled a hole in the top-6, but the ‘Hawks could really use a center more than a winger. None of the free agent centers look like they would fit into the top-6 for the Blackhawks.
General Manager, Stan Bowman, will now have to get creative in the trade market. There are two guys playing out west who could become available during this offseason. Ryan Getzlaf carries a $5.3 million cap hit and fits exactly what the ‘Hawks are looking for. The problem is the Ducks probably aren’t ready to deal their captain. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this upcoming season. Anaheim will do their damndest to keep him in Southern California. If they did make him available in a trade they would be more inclined to deal him at the trade deadline rather than before the season starts.
The other center doesn’t carry the same wow-factor as Getzlaf, but would still be an upgrade. Paul Stastny has two years left on his contract before he hits free agency. The unfortunate thing is his cap hit would become the highest on the team at $6.6 million. The Avalanche already re-signed Matt Duchene and it would be a shocker if they didn’t do the same with their points leader, Ryan O’Reilly.
The asking price will be high for both players, as it should be. The question is how much is Bowman willing to give up. It has been reported that Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews are untouchable (some have even put Dave Bolland into that group). After two early exits in the playoffs, has that list become more exclusive? Would Bowman part with youngsters like Andrew Shaw or Jimmy Hayes, who got their feet wet during last season? Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait and see.
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