Len Ziehm weighs in on Campbell, others

Not really anything new here, but Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun Times gives us his own info and insight on Brian Campbell and some other free agents as well:

Whether Campbell wants to sign with the Hawks, though, is another matter. While he opted to test the free-agent market, he has been happy with the Sharks. He also has a preference to play for an Eastern Conference team, and the Sharks gave him permission to talk with Boston, Montreal and Ottawa before free agency kicked in.

Now comes the moment of truth, with the top free agents expected to sign within a day or two of the opening of free agency. With the Hawks missing the playoffs nine of the last 10 seasons, the top free agents showed little interest in coming to a losing team.

Last season, however, the Hawks finished just three points out of a playoff spot with a young, seemingly up-and-coming team. That might make them more attractive for Campbell or Marian Hossa, the top available forward.

He makes a good point. I think it will be different this season, considering there hasn't been this much excitement and anticipation around the Hawks' organization in a long, long time. I think that gives them a better chance at the top free agents than they usually have.

If the Hawks can't sign Campbell, they'll probably pursue Michal Rozsival of the New York Rangers, Mark Streit of Montreal or Wade Redden of Ottawa for help on the blue line.

Tallon also might be tempted to go after Hossa, but he won't come cheap. He rejected a seven-year, $50 million offer from the Pittsburgh Penguins before deciding to enter free agency.

Rozsival is a player I wouldn't mind. He is 29 years old and is coming off a year where he played in 80 games and produced 38 points (18 of them on the power play) with an even +/-. Not a bad alternative to Campbell. I think Streit might be my favorite Plan B to Campbell, though. He had 62 points in 81 games last season and moves the puck well.

Also:

The Hawks likely will lose two players they might want to keep. Goaltender Patrick Lalime reportedly is on the brink of re-signing with Ottawa. He played five seasons for the Senators, winning a franchise-record 146 games, before leaving in 2004. Forward Jason Williams also is testing free agency and has asked for more than the Hawks have been willing to play.

Well, nothing is really too shocking there. I'm surprised Lalime wants to be a Senator again, but it looks like they need a backup to Martin Gerber and he fits that bill. Williams, again, he's a guy I'd love to see stick around here but it doesn't look likely at this point. I would think he'll get a fairly decent contract from someone looking for scoring.

Just a note: I will have an open thread up late tonight/early tomorrow as the free agency period begins, I'd like to encourage everyone to drop by and talk about Blackhawks signings, other teams signings, rumors, etc. It should be an active day around the league and hopefully for our Hawks as well. Free agency officially begins at 12 PM EST tomorrow.

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