Not a shocker to most who have been following the Hawks closely over the past year, Dave Bolland has found himself a fresh start with a new team. Personally, I wish most of the predictions and news could have waited until after the Hawks Parade, as Bolland rumors were posted almost as soon as he had scored the Cup winning goal. Who am I kidding, even before that. And, with draft day following so closely behind the closeout on the season, we have some news to discuss.
Before that, I would like to bid Bolland the farewell he deserves. I have always been a huge supporter of everything he brings to the organization, on and off the ice. One of the current oldest shirts I have that hasn't met its demise is a Bolland shirt, and I have always wore it proudly. He has been one of my favorites for a while now, and for obvious reasons stemming from his approach and success on the ice. Thanks for everything Bollie.
With that said, I think this move was the right move. Bolland ends up in Toronto playing for his home crowd and in a city that will treat him well. Bolland himself has shown excitement over the deal, and he leaves us on a high note. We gained a few draft picks, one of which was used almost immediately (more on that later).
A much larger surprise was the deal involving Frolik. If you haven't heard, Fro was dealt to the Jets for 2 draft picks. In Stan we trust, or have faith right? Well, this one I just can't get behind. I can understand the issues around having a player who makes 2 mil play on the 4th line, but I don't believe that Frolik is a 4th liner, and I also think Stan knows exactly what Fro brings to the team. Just a week ago, SB was commenting on the complete game Frolik brings, the many roles he has played for the Hawks, and his eagerness to do it. Given this, and the obvious playoff performances he has brought, I really think Stan made the wrong choice here.
Especially given that Fro was more than likely to move up when Stalberg finally packs his bags, which will probably be any minute now. Frolik brought a lot of elements to the Hawks game that are not always in the spot light. Frankly, when he is on the ice, the puck is in the offensive zone. His relentless pursuit of the puck, skating ability and hands have brought about a ton of sustained offensive pressure. He just hasn't been playing with anyone who can help score goals. Then there is the defensive game Fro brings, which might be a little more noticeable given the epic penalty kill he was maybe the most important forward in building. Yeah, mistake from my perspective no matter how you look at it. SB seems to be having a lot of faith in his farm, which is full of a bunch of players that only saw 1 NHL game this year.
Switching back to the less than shocking, the Hawks signed Bickell right away. What is shocking about this though, is how much he raked in. Bickell will make 4 mil per year over the next 4 years. All that from 1 really good playoff performance. I can't help but feel Frolik was moved to make some room for what I consider this oversized deal. I thought Bickell might pull in 3 mil, but no way do I see a good playoff run as worth 4. A lot of his success is due to the guys he has been playing with. During the regular season, I would argue that Stalberg and Shaw were the main creators of Bickell's decent point production. In the playoffs, playing alongside Toews and Kane didn't hurt matters.
Bickell proved to me a lot this year, but I was a pretty big doubter before the season started off. I just can't make the leap from underwhelming to worth that kind of cash so quickly. I get it, some other team was probably more ready to make that leap of faith on a big power forward with good hands, but if Bickell really wanted to stay in Chicago so bad, and he was willing to take the city discount to make it work, how does that equate to 4 mil a year? And, is he really a power forward yet?
I hope he earns every penny, because a really hard working forward might have been lost in the process. Now, I do not want to take anything away from Bick's performance in the playoffs. He was amazing. I just don't see that leading to a 25+goals next year, which is right around the production he would need to make this worth the cash. I could be wrong, and maybe Bickell will bring his overall game up to the challenge. We will talk more about his role when we get closer to the new season.
And in a little less exciting news, the Hawks picked up a fella by the name of Ryan Hartman in the draft, who is said to be an agitator of some sorts. A "do-it-all" type of hockey payer who plays at both ends of the ice. Tough is a word thrown around, and versatile as well. Hartman plays both a wing and a center spot. Said to have good hands, and really strong on his skates. His size ins't exactly enough to call home about, at 5'11" 190 pounds, though he is said to be built like a truck. The word used to describe him that sticks out for me is passionate. Makes you think of a #65 we have all come to love, who looked like death after winning the Stanley Cup this year. He could very well end up being Fro's replacement actually.
The phrase that worries me is "not fast," which might not gel with the Hawks direction, though it is said he looks faster in the corners (quick on his feet). Who knows, we have a couple years to see what he grows into.
The next item up for discussion will most likely be what the Hawks want to do with Leddy. I don't know, sitting a player in the finals does not sound like someone the coach has a lot of faith in. Rozsival, on the other hand, played some important minutes late in the game. Who are we getting behind moving forward?
Frolik's skates are going to be hard to fill. Bring on the Rockford players, and maybe a decent sized grab before the season begins.
Filed under: View from the Bench