As deadline approaches, Blackhawks can't hesitate

The NHL trade deadline comes this Wednesday, and the Hawks are expected to be active.  They have one of the top teams in the league, but are staring down salary cap issues this summer, and a weak link that is weighing heavy on everyone's mind. 

The Hawks, as currently constructed, are good enough to win the Stanley Cup right now.  They have more depth than pretty much every team in hockey.  With Adam Burish's return on the horizon (he's aiming for a March 7th debut), someone is going to have to sit.  That someone could be Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager, Tomas Kopecky, Kris Versteeg or Colin Fraser.  That is depth. 

Aside from being able to compete when players are injured, depth also means you have the pieces to make a big deal when it's needed, and many experts believe it's needed in goal.  Cristobal Huet has been a disappointment since he joined the club last season, and the Hawks aren't comfortable heading into the playoffs with a rookie, Antti Niemi, in goal.

NBC analyst and former Blackhawk Jeremy Roenick chimed in on the Hawks goaltending situation last week on the Score's Mully and Hanley Show.  "The Hawks have a legitimate, legitimate chance to win a cup,"  Roenick said. "It would be a shame if they lose it because they gamble on a goaltender that everybody's questioning."   

There are a couple goalies available.  Montreal's Jaroslav Halak (17-10-2,  2.56 goals against average,  .923 save percentage) and Florida's Tomas Vokoun (19-21-10, 2.36 goals against, .931 save percentage).  As of "press time," Halak seems to be the guy the Hawks are after the hardest.  He's younger than Vokoun, and is unhappy in his role in Montreal.  He and Carey Price have been splitting time in the net, and Halak deserves to be a starter.  Maybe the Hawks can give him that shot.  Halak may be the preference, but either goalie would be a significant upgrade.  

So get it done...right?  Well, one would assume you'd have to move Cristobal Huet in a potential trade.  Why would the Florida Panther trade a better goalie for a richer and lesser Cristobal Huet?  Why do the Canadiens want Huet back?  Well, if you can toss in Kris Versteeg or Dustin Byfuglien, it suddenly becomes much more attractive.  Add in a pick or a prospect, and you have deal. 

Trust me...the Hawks KNOW what they need to do to win a cup, or at least increase their chances.  If there is a goalie to be had, they are trying.  Moving Huet is the only roadblock.

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YOUR RESOURCE for Wednesday's NHL trade deadline.  I will be live blogging from 9am
until the deadline if OFFICIALLY passed.  I will have my eyes and ears
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  • FYI - one of the defensemen linked to the Hawks in the Vokoun rumors, Jordan Leopold, was dealt to PIT for a 2010 2nd round pick already this morning. The other defenseman FLA was rumored to be sending to the Hawks was Denis Seidenberg, but I'm not sure they have enough depth left on the blue line to move BOTH Seidenberg AND Leopold... AND Vokoun! Unless they're that unhappy with this year's team that they're going to completely burn it to the ground, I think the Hawks' chances of landing Vokoun took a serious hit when Leopold was dealt this morning.

    Thoughts?

  • Huet is not a "richer" goalie. Vokoun's cap hit is slightly higher this year and significantly higher next year. Don't care. Get him. Turco is either lights out or a clownbag. And I'd just as soon go into the playoffs with Niemi rather than Halak. Pittsburgh can have Leopold. Vokoun is the key.

  • Tab -- Per the letter that Florida ownership sent to their fans, they AREN'T happy with the team, and said themselves they will make wholesale changes (if deemed necessary) to put the product on the ice that they want. I don't think Leopold's trade would effect a possible deal for Vokoun, only what StanBow is willing to sent FLA's way. I've read that FLA is very high on Versteeg.

    Just a couple updates though, since JayZ said this was going to be "The" place for up-to-the-minute trade updates concerning the Blackhawks:

    Rick DiPietro is going to be sidelined "indefinitely"...whether or not this effects their willingness to deal Roloson (who has been linked to the Hawks) may or may not be effected. Probably not, since the Hawks would be looking to send Huet their way...in fact, it probably reinforces NYI's need to have a solid goalie behind RDP.

    Also, Philly just put Emery on long-term IR...probably precluding a move. They were one of the teams rumored to be bidding against the Hawks for a goalie.

  • Philly making a push for Vokoun.

    Also, a minor move (maybe a pre-cursor?):
    Rockford sends Fallon & Boyle for G Hannu Toivonen and Danny Richmond from St. Louis.

  • I think Halak would be a better goalie for the Hawks than Cristobal "I have no confidence" Huet! Halak faced major talent in the Olympics and had a pretty decent showing. I believe he and Niemi would be a better tandem for the Hawks. But the way Chicago teams approach change we will have Huet and Niemi for the rest of the season!!

  • KenL2: Both Halak and Niemi are arbitration-eligible RFAs, and hence both are due significant raises in future seasons. Having both Halak & Niemi on the roster would put Chicago in a similar position to Montreal, in that they'd have 2 'starter quality' goalies on the club...Chicago can't carry that kind of salary with the big, long-term contracts they have.

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