Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks, like most NHL teams, have been pretty quiet this month. Maybe it’s fear of a work stoppage. Maybe it’s an overall lack of elite free agents, but it’s been a pretty uneventful summer.
While the teams that lost out on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter wait for Shane Doan to make up his mind, the Hawks have an opportunity to make an impactful, inexpensive, and low risk signing.
Veteran center Jason Arnott, most recently of the St. Louis Blues, remains unsigned.
Arnott, who will be 38 years old in October, is certainly nearing the end of his career. But for a Blackhawks team waiting for kids to develop, he could be a perfect fit, especially for a cap hit under $2.5 million.
Let’s take a look at Arnott the player.
Durability? Last season Arnott appeared in 72 regular season games. The games he missed were due to a left shoulder injury. He also missed two playoff games with a lower body injury. For a 37 year old…you could certainly do worse.
Can he score? Not like he used to, but he recorded 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points in 2011-12. 14 of those points came on the man advantage.
How is he in the faceoff circle? Arnott won 50.3% of his faceoffs. Not outstanding, but better than every Hawk not named Jonathan Toews or Jamal Mayers.
Can he play in front of the net? He’s 6′ 5”, 220 lbs., and has made a career of combining skill with physical play and net presence.
Arnott brings elements that the Hawks have lacked since the departures of Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. If Bowman is not going to make a trade for a #2 center, he’s the best free agent option on the market.