The question is: Are the Hawks better than they were a few weeks ago?
I am a little shocked that the Blackhawk's website wasn't booming with articles about the new high profile center that SB acquired on day one of hunting season. Everything rolling up to this day seemed to predict a big acquisition. Instead, Stable Stan played it safe and attempted to find exactly what the Hawks were missing besides a 2nd line center. He found some size, he found some angst, and he found some veterans. Let us review.
Andrew Brunette: Besides Montador, this is the guy I am most excited about. He might not be fast, but he seems to have a knack for scoring goals and he does so with a comfort for getting in front of the goaltender.
6' 1" and 212 pounds, his career high is 27 goals (not too shabby), he recorded 18 goals last year for the Wild and 8 were on the PP. Oh, he has played more games than any other player in the NHL since 1998. SO, to say he has some experience at age 37 is fair. SB mentioned him as a top 6 forward which makes me think he might get some ice with Kaner and Sharp, or maybe Kaner and Toews depending on what Q is thinking. My gut tells me that the Hawks are now thinking Sharp will be the second line center and Brunette might just fit well there on the right wing
Jamal Mayers: 6' 2" and 214 pounds. He recorded 3 goals last year for the Sharks, racked up 105 hits, 14th among forwards and likes to stir things up. Most likely fitting in on the 4th line, Mayers was mentioned by SB as being versatile and at 36 another guy with experience. He can play center, though spends most time on the wing and has had a 15 goal season back in 06. Sure, why not, but I personally would have liked to see a different big forward targeted in SJ.
Brett Mclean: He is the only center the Hawks picked up and I doubt we see much of him. 32 years old, 5' 11", 185 pounds and scored 10 goals in the Swiss league last year. You might remember him from around 2002-04 seasons when he skated for the Hawks.
Sean O'Donnell: This guy is big and experienced. 39 years old, 6' 3" and 234 pounds. His stats are less than impressive, but he is not at all an offensive defensemen. He brings a ton of playoff experience, is a shot blocker, a physical force and he can be one of the guys to teach these younglings how to be professionals.
Before yesterday, the Hawks also signed Steve Montador who was in no hurry to see what the free market would bring. SB mentioned the need to bring a different style of player to the team. He has some size, strength, seems pretty smart, and isn't hurting in the offensive department either. In fact, he is known to be pretty effective on the PP and also kills them well too. He is 31 years old, 6 foot and 210 pounds. I think he will be a good fit, and while I would have been a bit more ecstatic about a few other names, he should fit in nicely and might even see some top 4 minutes.
Lastly, but not least, the Hawks brought Carcillo over from Philly to stir things up a bit. Most likely a 4th liner, I think his arrival means that the Hawks now have enough grit to play with. Sb mentioned wanting to get players who are hard to play against. Well, mission accomplished. Now what about that center?
In review, the Hawks became bigger, older and more experienced. They have added to their PK and even PP. They now have defensive D-men and offensive D-men. They are also a bit slower though teams might be less likely to take advantage physically. In other words, the the Hawks are more rounded now. Could be a good thing. The focus now turns to those yet to be signed. Frolik, Campoli and Stalberg are still waiting in the dark. I would assume that all are signed. We all were happy with Frolik even though he could afford to score more often, Campoli seems needed if the Hawks want to keep that puck moving defense together, and Stalberg is all of the speed that wasn't acquired yesterday. In Stalberg I see a guy the Hawks are not ready to give up on. His potential is just so high. The only thing standing in his way from being great is himself.
And in other news, the Panthers are being really aggressive picking up Jovanoski and Theodre. Wisniewski was the big contract of the day signing in Columbus. Richards has yet to make a decision, and the Hawks aren't even on the table. Jagr is back to the NHL and Stamkos might be leaving the Lightning.