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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Filed under: Adam Burish, Antti Niemi, ben eager, Blackhawks, Chicago Sports, Cristobal Huet, danny mac show, dustin byfuglien, goaltending, hockey, NHL, nhl trade deadline, olympic hockey, salary cap, sports
Tags: adam burish, antti niemi, ben eager, blackhawks, chicago sports, cristobal huet, danny mac show, dustin byfuglien, goaltending, hockey, NHL, nhl trade deadline, olympic hockey, salary cap, Sports