Stan Bowman wasted no time bolstering his 2011-2012 Blackhawks roster on Friday as free agency opened across the league.
Forwards Jamal Mayers and Andrew Brunette were given 1-year deals at $500k and $2 million respectively. Mayers' most recent stint came with the San Jose Sharks where he saw mostly 4th line minutes, a role he'll likely duplicate in Chicago. Brunette replaces Tomas Kopecky's offensive production immediately (18 G, 28 A last season in Minnesota) without the bad offensive zone penalties. The Hawks also added center Brett Mclean on a 2-way, one-year deal at $525k.
Also en route to Chicago is veteran defenseman Sean O'Donnell. O'Donnell figures to have an immediate impact, bringing much-needed physicality and veteran experience on the back end.
Signing four veterans to one-year contracts speaks to Bowman's intentions to contend in 2011-12 while also reserving future roster spots for the kids. Adding another defenseman today after signing Steve Montador yesterday means more time for the Shawn Lalonde's and Dylan Olsen's to develop on the farm; never a bad move for young defensemen, just ask Cam Barker.
The TSN panel is high on the Hawks' moves, citing a possible return to 2010-like depth.
If the additions pan out and the team stays healthy, they should be able to roll four solid lines out on a nightly basis.
Looking at this roster, especially with half of them getting substantial rest for the first time in two years, there's no reason they don't contend.
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