Just checking in to make sure everyone is still awake and around. Not much has been happening in the world of hockey, but there is always something to talk about, or an old topic to beat into the ground over and over again. Let's see, there has been some talk about Leddy and future contract negotiations, there is the ever exciting conversations taking place between the NHL and Player's Association, PK Subban might be up for grabs, and Viktor Stalberg has become close buds with Hjalmer.
On Leddy: Many have made the argument that the Hawks should jump first by making an early offer to him before this season starts. Leddy will be up for contract negotiations less than a year from now and it would seem that many believe he should be in Chicago for an extended length of time.
There are two thoughts that occur to me here; one, that while I too saw great things in Leddy when he first arrived in Chicago, he has also produced some fairly awful results more recently, which has me guessing if the Hawks tainted his future or not. Two, offering him a deal now would be a gamble, but might also save a ton of cash if Leddy has the kind of year many want him to.
My opinion would be to make him a low end offer and see if he bites. If not, then let him prove his worth this year. No harm, no fowl.
The news surrounding the negotiations between the NHL and Players Association is filled with some optimism, but mainly sour thoughts. This is probably a product of our wonderfully exaggerated media, trying to cause drama when there really is none. I am on the optimistic side for this one. The fact, is that the NHL cannot withstand any kind of strike or failed start to the season. Hockey needs this deal to happen, and everyone knows it. There is still ample time to get the deal done, even though some are reporting the lack of a counter-offer from the union.
Besides seeing hockey resume as planned in the coming months, there are a few other things I would like to see happen. I am a fan of the talk around ending these ridiculous contracts. The length and dollar amount on some of these recent deals is going to hurt hockey if continued. I have always found satisfaction in knowing that the NHL had players who played for the love and not the money. I also have some fairly extreme views on what Pro Sports should do with all of the money it generates, which involves more giving back than giving to player's pockets, but I don't want to get into that right now, and it is not hockey's job to save the world (or is it?).
Speaking of ridiculousness and contracts, PK Subban has reportedly declined a first offer from the Habs. Like everyone else in Chicago, I started salivating at the news, until reality set in. I read a great article at Sports Illustrated , which offered some strong thoughts on the matter. The best points of this article state that the Habs will not let Subban go, and that RFA offer sheets suck in the first place. I agree on both points.
Absolutely, Subban is exactly what the doctor ordered in Chicago, but he is also crucial to the Canadiens game, and they know it. Some have even stated that rumor of the declining offer is just not true, saying that no official offer has been made. I would put more money on Luongo playing in an Indian Head sweater this year, but if it comes at the cost of Bolland I might start following Wolves hockey again.
Lastly, there is news that Stalberg has been enjoying his time off. And when there is little news, this is what makes it. In a recent interview, Viktor talked about taking time off in his home country with fellow Hawk Niklas Hjalmarsson. Viktor has stayed off of the ice for much of the time, and he plans to work mostly on his shot upon returning to it. What I like about this news is that it speaks to friendship within the team, which might be an overlooked factor, and it might be what the doctor ordered for both players. Both are players that can use an added dose of confidence, but have different things to prove. These are also 2 names that I anticipate big seasons from, and whom might have a large impact on the overall results of the club. Stalberg, and Hjalmer, along with Frolik of course are the players to watch closely from the start. Not just there personal play, but how well Q uses them too. They all have more than just the possibility of great production, and have all been mentioned in trade talk this off-season. They are the biggest wildcards in my opinion.