The Chicago Blackhawks picked up a not so large winger who doesn't mind playing center with great hands and vision, surprise. They are also shopping Hjalmer along with his buddy Montador. Here are some thoughts on the recent news surrounding the Blackhawks roster.
With the news that Jordan Staal just turned down a 10 year offer from the Pens, and boy isn't he exactly the player for the Hawks right now, possible trades are starting to buzz around the NHL. Unfortunately for the Hawks, Staal seems interested in only going to a few places and in big money contracts.
It wasn't too long ago that Hjalmarsson was a part of building a better future for the Hawks, but it would seem that he and fellow defensemen Steve Montador are being shopped. Much as we speculated after the news about Oduya's signing, SB has deemed Hjalmer no longer useful to the Hawks future and system, whatever that is. It also says that the Hawks are backing Leddy and believe he has more to offer us next year.
While I understand the reasoning, I think it is a shame. The Hawks might be making the wrong move, and that would not surprise me a bit if it is. It seems as though the Hawks are getting pretty good at that lately. My personal opinion is that Leddy was really bad last year, and If I had to choose, Hjalmer is the guy I would be backing. Unfortunately, like so many other Hawks post Cup, Hjalmer has had 2 less than pleasing seasons, but so has Kaner, and a bunch of other players.
When on his game during the run for the Cup, I saw a great stay at home defenseman whom the Hawks were in great need of. It looked as though he might even have the stuff to make a run at being the top defensive player on the team. This still might be in him. And, the idea of having Seabrook, Oduya, Keith, and Hjalmer make up the top 4 is not a bad thing, if everyone plays to their abilities, and knows their expectations.
Hjalmer is a very positioned player, and he takes up a lot of the ice with his skating style and active stick. His slump after the Cup could, and should be justified by the price Hjalmer often pays to make a play, which was pretty often when Campbell was unwilling to do the same. But, Campbell's puck moving ability also allowed for Hjalmer to play his game. Leddy never came into his own, and Hjalmer was hung out to dry by bad positioning and team play this past season. Plus, a bad hit seemed to curb his physical presence until late in the season, which is a shame, because he might be the hardest hitting player when he gives himself to that part of his game.
Essentially, I see a player who has much more to offer, as I do with many other names on the team. Bad team play has left him out to dry, followed by inconsistent coaching. Why Hjalmer is the one being shopped even though the Hawks defense is hurting so much, has me second guessing the whole idea. Quite frankly, the Hawks will be in terrible need of a shot blocker, because he is one of the best in the league, and our goaltending doesn't exactly boast a great save percentage currently.
On Montador: it would surprise me that another team would be willing to take Montador when his health has so many questions around it. If he is healthy, which is the only way anyone would take him, why aren't the Hawks giving him more of a clear look? He is aggressive, can move the puck well, and has a good shot. Sounds like what the Hawks are in some need of. Again, I am more sold on him than I am on Leddy currently.
Unless the Hawks are getting ready to make a large play for a big named defenseman, it all seems a little scary. And then, the Hawks will most likely end up with a lot of money being tied up in one D-man, which is Campbell all over again.
No need to fear though, because as the heading makes mention to, the Hawks picked up another Patrick Kane, and we all know how well that is going right now. Or, maybe he is Kane's replacement? Patrick better take notice. Actually, in all fairness, picking Teranainen up, and so late in the draft was a pretty great thing. He is young, but shows a lot of promise, and at only 17 years of age, might grow an inch or 2, which could make him a highly sought after player in a couple of years, which will most likely be about how long it takes to see him in a Hawks sweater.
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