Trying something new here for the Blackhawks blogs with this mailbag thing. Carl did it for the Cubs blog and I liked it so figured I’d give it a shot with the Hawks. If you guys like it, be vocal about it. Right now I am thinking we could maybe do this format once a month or so.
The cap will continue to go up and the Hawks will have some pieces coming off the books(Handzus, Oduya, Kruger, Roszival, Brookbank). What complicates things a little is that both Saad and Leddy will be RFAs at the same time Toews and Kane are UFAs. I think Saad and Leddy will be given short term “bridge” deals if things get tight. I don’t envision a scenario where Sharp is traded. I think he is a lifer. Potentially moving into a management position once his career is over. Hossa could be traded to a team looking for veteran leadership if the Hawks agree to eat some of his contract(teams taking back money is allowed under the new CBA), but I am not worried about his production going forward. I think his game will age well. He is so strong on the puck, smart, and responsible that he will be effective well into his late 30s even if he loses a step or two along the way. Think Jagr.
Q never keeps the lines the same throughout the year, but I expect to see Bickell-Toews-Kane play together a lot. The second line will have Sharp and Hossa, and after that who knows? They are trying Saad at center, but I don’t love that idea. You can never have enough guys that can play center, but I would like to see them try Pirri there. He is a natural center who just led the AHL in scoring and won 59% of his draws. Puck possession starts at the dot, and if Pirri can win say 53%+ of his draws in the NHL then the Hawks will have an easier time establishing their game. Pirri is a natural playmaker and I would love to see him setting up Sharp and Hossa. Moving Saad down to the 3rd creates a more balanced line up in my opinion. My lines to start the year would be Bickell-Toews-Kanes, Sharp-Pirri-Hossa, Saad-Shaw-Smith, Morin/Hayes-Handzus-Kruger. I would also like to see Coach Q give the young guys more opportunities by giving Hossa and Handzus maintenance days here and there. And obviously games where you feel like you need a sheriff, Bollig gets the call.
When could Teuvo Teravainen see playing time, 2014-2015?
The Bs are going to have a real tough time with Detroit. The Wings can skate. They are responsible. They won’t get sucked into the bullshit like Montreal does. They are a tough matchup for the Bs. Boston and Detroit will be the class of the Atlantic and then Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and maybe Tampa Bay will be in a fight for the remaining playoff spots.