Ed Olczyk didn't mince words when asked in a live appearance Friday morning on the NBC Chicago newscast which of the capsized Blackhawks thrown overboard to save the top-heavy financial ship would be missed the most.
"Andrew Ladd," he said.
Not a name too familiar to all those late-arriving Blackhawks fans who leaped onto the rolling bandwagon down the stretch when it was mostly uphill.
Kris Versteeg scored three more goals and six more points than Ladd's 17 goals and 38 points last season. Dustin Byfuglien received more attention as a huge physical presence than Ladd in many cases. Certainly, Buff is better known than Ladd.
But in Edzo's eyes, Ladd brought the versatility to play varied roles on different lines and a rough-and-tumble aggressiveness that can't be easily replaced. So Ladd being traded to Atlanta for defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and a second-round pick in 2011 was the most meaningful loss the Hawks suffered in the house cleaning, as far as the Hawks TV color analyst is concerned.
For me, he makes a valid point. It raises the question of was it necessary?
For the first time in four seasons, Marian Hossa and defenseman Nick Boynton are going to return and play for the same team with whom they finished the previous season.
There is your opening upset before training camp commences, even if "Shake Your Moneymaker" Hossa returning to collect on $62.8 million isn't much of a shocker with that kind of loving attachment always bringing a guy back home.
In a major way, how this pair of elder statemen fares in Blackhawks Boystown is going to determine if the Stanley Cup is truly defensible or not. These old men aren't old hands at laying an immovable, strong foundation and being statuesque contributors that produce steadily like clockwork with precision timing.
They both have moved around here and there, and shot up-and-down and all around too much for the sake of security and knowing what's likely to transpire in the near future for either of them.
Patrick Kane will be Patrick Kane. Jonathan Toews will be Jonathan Toews. Even at their peach-fuzz ages. Duncan Keith will be Duncan Keith. Niklas Hjalmarsson will be Niklas Hjalmarsson. Viktor Stalberg will be Viktor Stalberg (just testing you with that one and pondering if I think that's good or bad).
But Hossa and Boynton, counterweights at both ends of the Hawks spectrum, aren't known quantities in some respects. For the team to hold the fort and repel those skeptics that don't believe a Cup repeat is in the taro cards, both players must be impactful at opposite ends of the priority list in far different fashions.
Hossa has shown promise to be a scoring superstar. Year after year. And yet??? Boynton has shown promise to defend teammates and be a physical presence. And yet???