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Blackhawks Draft Week Mailbag Blog Is Live

It's that time of year...sort of. It's draft week and that is when teams do the most moving and a shaking. The Hawks opened up their dance card by sending Maatta and his cap hit to LA. There's A LOT of work left to do for a team that everyone seems to forget finished 12th in the West and dead last in the Central Division. This is the week when a lot of the roster reshaping and hopefully stimulating will get done. There's only one place to start and that is in the back

Great question. I will follow up with this one

I don't know what Crawford and his agent are demanding in salary and term. I also understand that the Hawks might be looking for a long term solution and and stability at one of the most important positions in sports and that is why they're kicking the tires on all of these other "options" in net. This is why communication of organizational goals is important. The Hawks have routinely said that they want to win. That they want to compete at the highest level. They said that they fired Joel Quenneville because Colliton was a better option to take them where they want to go. If all of that is true, how can they tell themselves and fans that signing anyone besides Corey Crawford is their best bet? Crawford was sensational last year, again. He is everything you want in a goalie. Yes, he's older, but he's better at 36 than Murray is at 26. Murray lost his starting job to Jarry. He hasn't been at the top of his game in 2 years. He does not give you a better chance at winning in 2021 than Crawford. Unless Crawford is asking for north of 5 million I don't see how the Hawks can justify giving up an asset or similar money to go get one of these goalies who are clearly, and undeniably, worse at their job than Corey Crawford. It's also a VERY quick way to further alienate the core leadership group. Maybe they don't care about that internally. They should, but maybe they don't. Sign Crawford. Don't look back. 

In short…no. Askarov is the closet thing to a slam dunk at a position that is extremely difficult to evaluate. If there were other goalie options at #17 you'd know their names already most likely. I wonder if there is a way to pry Spencer Knight out of Florida. He was talked about similarly to Askarov in his draft year and the Panthers have Bobrovsky on the books for 6 more years. Knight was drafted by the previous regime. I'd assume it'd take A TON to get him, but probably worth a phone call. The Hawks haven't been able to draft and develop a goalie since they took Crawford in 2003. That has to change. 

I don't think it makes it a lock, but yes removing a name from the depth chart would help clear a path for Mitchell. I am super high on Mitchell. I have been for a long time. I think he will end up being the best defensemen out of Jokiharju, Boqvist, Mitchell, Beaudin run of similar draft picks. Mitchell has the smarts, the wheels, the skill, and the desire to be great. He's further along than Boqvist defensively, and honestly, possibly offensively too because as toolsy as Boqvist is we've never actually seen that translate to the ice consistently. I like the idea of the following pairs to start next year


De Haan-Murphy

The 3rd pairing is going to be tough to sort out. The Blackhawks have Carlsson, Gilbert, Searbook, Koekkoek, Beaudin(probably not), and who knows maybe guys like Regula, Kalynuk, etc will be considered as well. And that is before trades and free agency. I could see Mitchell starting in that top pair next to Keith. I could just as easily see him in Rockford depending on how things sort out and if it is a true meritocracy on the blue line or not. 

I am not sure I am reading the same tweets as you, but I can't say that I've seen a ton of credible sources saying that Stan is going to pay Strome. I tend to agree with you though, I don't see where he fits in. He's not in the top 6 as a center. He doesn't have a ton of speed. He's a smart player, but he's never going to be a guy that drives offense by himself and he's not as hard on pucks or his opponents as I would like. Solid player, for sure an NHL player. Is he the right guy for this group at this time…my gut says no. I'd love to find a guy who is a little harder to play against. I wouldn't mind clearing a little more space and perhaps taking a run at Roope Hintz with an offersheet. I like Ced Paquette more than most. Wouldn't mind give TB a call and see if he could be had since they're having some issues with the Cap and other RFAs. End of the day, I don't think Strome is well suited for that 3C role, but I also don't think there's a big market for him. 

I honestly don't know. I feel like the Hawks are kind of stuck. They don't have any forwards knocking on the door from Rockford. I suppose a trade of Saad is possible. Not sure how trading him makes you better though. It's crazy that the 1st Saad trade in the summer of 2015 is really what set this entire demise in motion. 

Hawks tried to sign Saad. Saad's dad asked for $7M. Stan stopped negotiating. Stan trades Saad's rights to CBJ for basically Anisimov and then immediately signs him to a long extension. That trade didn't clear enough cap space so then the Hawks also had to trade Sharp and Stephen Johns. 

I think you can make a coherent argument that if the Hawks let Saad leave via offer sheet(like they should've) they win another Stanley Cup. No Anisimov on the roster clears a path for Danault to really assume that 2/3C role he got in Montreal. Having Sharp and Panarin as your LWs in the top 6 makes that group extremely dangerous offensively and they don't need to make the deadline moves that year that cost them another 2016 1st round pick because there's no need to get Andrew Ladd at the deadline. You probably also don't trade for Dale Weise and you certainly don't give up a top 9 rookie to do so. The Trevor Daley experiment never happens. You don't assume dead contract money in the form of Rob Scuderi/Erhoff. Sharp's money then completely comes off the books right at the same time you need to extend Panarin and you're not worried about his contract so then you don't need to flip him in return for…Brandon Saad. 5 years later and the Blackhawks still don't know what to do about Saad. I want to live in that parallel universe where Saad walks and the Hawks win another Cup and never let Stan drive a dynasty off a cliff. 

It's frustrating right now because I don't think the Blackhawks are THAT far away from being a team which can finish somewhere between 5-8 in the playoffs. The core is still really fucking good. I like de Haan and Murphy as complimentary pieces. I like Saad. I like Carpenter, Highmore, Kubalik, and Debrincat. Those names right there should be able to fit enough around them to make a competent team because 19, 88, 2, and 50 are all still SO fucking good. I just don't think they have the assets or the wherewithal to add a top 9 center, a top 6 wing, a starting goalie, and a top 6 winger. That's what they need. That is what separates the Hawks from the teams they're chasing in the West. I want to be positive, but I don't believe Stan can add all of those things and I think he's going to walk up to his zoom press conference and tell everyone that Nylander and Boqvist and whomever he gets to replace Crawford (after that situation gets fucked up) are going to take us where we had to go.