Tough offseason could finally be over for Hawk fans

Monday, the Blackhawks officially announced the one year re-signing of defenseman Nick Boynton, likely putting an end to the roller coaster ride that was the 2010 offseason.  The second the Blackhawks lifted the Stanley Cup, everyone knew there would be changes, but no one could have expected this.

The combination of salary cap restrictions and playoff bonuses forced the team to either trade or abandon many fan favorites.

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A lot has changed since June 9th, but the Hawks' core remains intact

 

Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager, Kris Versteeg, Brent Sopel, Adam Burish, Colin Fraser and John Madden all are on new teams.

Antti Niemi and his agent Bill Zito played chicken with the Hawks...and lost.  Now it's looking more and more like the Cup winning goaltender might have to find work overseas next season. 

Cristobal Huet will be...well...somewhere, but it won't be Chicago.

All of these moves were difficult to take, even for the most "objective" Hawks fan.  It's tough to see guys you fell in love with leave, but Stan Bowman did the best he could, given the situation. 

The very important core is still intact.  Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson are still here, and that's the best possible news for Hawk fans.

Bowman, in my opinion, made all the right moves.  I'm sure the temptation was there to move Patrick Sharp, and to let Hjalmarsson go to the Shark after they placed an offer sheet on him, but they found a way to make it work, without losing their most important parts. 

So what lineup can Hawks fans expect next season?  In the coming weeks, I will be profiling the "Hawks to watch" in this upcoming training camp. 

Below are some of the new faces that could be in the lineup when the puck is dropped opening night in Colorado. 

FORWARDS : Jack Skille, Kyle Beach, Igor Makarov, Jake Dowell, Viktor Stalberg.

DEFENSEMEN : John Scott, Shawn Lalonde, Ivan Vishnevskiy, Brian Connelly, Nick Leddy

Keep you eye on the Red Light District for detailed prospect profiles as camp begins in September.    

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