Cyber Monday Sale - 20% OffShop Now

Blackhawks News, Notes, and Mailbag

Blackhawks mailbag

I am done ranting, screaming, and fist pumping about the Blackhawks now. It’s been 12 hours or so and I am on to Detroit because even though the Blackhawks are back, they NEED points in games against teams like Detroit. They need to keep climbing. There’s been a ton of interesting Blackhawks tidbits in the last week or so and I haven’t been able to address them since I was drooling over the 6 game winning streak so lets do it now.

John McDonough sits down with The Athletic

Once again, John McDonough sits down with someone besides Barstool Chicago. Maybe it’s because they’re the old school media that McDonough understands. Maybe it’s because they have a previous relationship. Maybe it’s because they haven’t been calling him a lying dunce weirdo since November. Hard to tell. Either way there was answer that was particularly interesting.

Stan Bowman still your guy to take the team through that? Is his job safe?

Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m very proud of Stan. Stan has just recently made some really, really good trades, picking up (Drake) Caggiula, picking up (Dylan) Strome (and Brendan) Perlini. These are tough guys to see leave, especially (Nick) Schmaltz. It’s tough to see that. But Stan’s a very, very hard worker. Very diligent. This means a lot to him. He’s working the phones every single day, trying to make us better. He understands that this is about today, yet it’s about the big picture, that we’re not going to mortgage the future, but we need to be competitive. We want to be a playoff team and then once you get in, anything can happen.

Sounds like Stan Bowman isn’t going anywhere at this point which isn’t a surprise especially since Stan has made 3 good trades in a row to shed Manning, Schmaltz, and Rutta and getting the better player and better fit every time. Now, I think there is also the element that John can control Stan to a degree and feels comfortable with him. There’s no question about who the Alpha is in the organization anymore. I still think that if the Blackhawks make the playoffs and lose in the first round then Stan should be fired. Not winning a playoff series for four straight years for while Toews and Kane are 27,28,29, and 30 is a fireable offense in my opinion. Punting on the roster last summer by bringing in only Manning and Kunitz then wasting a month on the coaching change also could end up costing this team. So I don’t think it should be “absolutely Stan is the guy”, but that’s the reality and it’s not surprising.

I DO like that he said the Hawks want to be a playoff team. That nixes any possible Duncan Keith trade because the Blackhawks certainly need him. I do also think it’s possible and a good idea for the Blackhawks to get aggressive at the deadline for one of the premier guys available, but ONLY if an extension is signed prior to giving up an asset.

Also from The Athletic..

Pierre LeBrun Says Anisimov Is Available For The Right Price

Hearing that the Blackhawks would move forward Artem Anisimov for the right price. His role has decreased in Chicago this season. I don’t get the sense the ‘Hawks are actively shopping him, but for the right offer they would listen.

The 30-year-old Anisimov is not a rental, he’s got two more years on his deal after this season at a $4.55-million cap hit although the actual cash owed to him is $4 million next year and $3 million in the last season.

Anisimov has a 10-team list of teams he would go to as part of his modified no-trade clause. So his camp has some say in how a potential deal would play out.

This isn’t a big surprise. I think the Blackhawks will look to be aggressive as they continue to free up more and more cap space ahead of next summer. Anisimov just doesn’t seem to have a place here anymore. He’s a bottom 6 player making too much money for the Blackhawks. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t help someone else. Lebrun mentioned CBJ as a possible destination. I think Winnipeg could be interested as well. They could use some center depth and are still looking for a way to replace some of what they lost in Paul Statsny. A play-making and responsible center. Not sure the Hawks would want to trade him in the Division. Also not sure WPG is interested in players with term because Trouba, Laine, Myers, etc are all going to need new contracts soon. Other possible fits would be Ottawa, Montreal, and perhaps even Florida. I think the Blackhawks don’t really care about what comes back at this point. He’s a fine player, but a guy who can be replaced. It’s more important to have that cap flexibility next summer.

If this is true then I would assume that takes the Blackhawks out of the running for Panarin UNLESS…Crawford is just done. Then they put his $6M on LTIR for one year and then he’s off the books and Bob is your #1 goalie. I’d assume it’d cost $17-18M minimum to get both of them under contract. Not sure the Blackhawks want to do that. I LOVE Panarin. It’d be amazing to get him back. With the way the team is set up right now though, I think the Hawks might be better off getting Matt Duchene though simply because he can play center. Imagine this lineup next year

Caggiula-Toews-Kane

Debrincat-Strome-Kahun

Saad-Duchene-Sikura

Hayden-Kampf-Perlini

That is a DEEP team. That’s a team that can roll 4 lines and get production from everywhere. I am not committed to that fourth line, especially Perlini, but it’d be a real nice squad that the Blackhawks could afford. That would also reserve some money for Debrincat and Strome who will need RFA deals too.

Every good team needs a guy like Hartman and I would welcome him back. He is an RFA again(somehow) after the year. I would love to have him as a 4th line wing next year. He’s been very effective in that role for Nashville this year. I am sure he loves it down there and I bet they’ll give him another offer, but should be available somehow I’d love to have him back.

This is obviously the trickiest situation lingering in the future. Maybe Bob is a good option, but I’d be cautious about committing major dollars and term to a guy who is a) 30 years old and b) wilts in the playoffs and c) is a malcontent this year with his game suffering. I really like Delia. I think he will continue to get better. Can he be the #1 goalie on a Stanley Cup team? I don’t know. TBD. He might be able to grow into that. I also really like the idea of bringing Scott Darling back next year after if he gets bought out. Bring him home. Let him work with Jimmy Waite again. I bet he’d take a two-way deal and then he can prove himself again and the Hawks can kick the can down the road on Crawford and Delia and the goalie position at large until the following year.

In terms of major deals…my position was stated above. Unless one of the big guys (Panarin, Stone, Duchene) are willing to sign long-term then I think you standpat. I have been very much in favor of trading Gustafsson, but with the way the PP is clicking the Hawks should just hold him for now unless someone really blows their doors off with an offer. My position on Gustafsson has never really changed. His talent and strengths are so obvious. I just don’t think he’ll ever be more than a PP specialist and 3rd pair defensemen on a Cup caliber team. If he and Seabrook are your 3rd pair next year, that’s not a bad thing.

Realistically…I have NO idea what will happen down the stretch. If Kane and the PP cool off in the next couple of weeks the Blackhawks will be sellers again. It’s a crazy time here in Chicago. It feels like this team can get in and we can have fun again, but they’re walking a tight rope. This will be the most stressful deadline of the Toews and Kane era. I choose to believe. I live the Join Or Die lifestyle.