First, a quick note. We will be doing our now-infamous free agency liveblog tomorrow, starting about about 10:30 in the AM. And it won't be in the comments which we'd done in previous years, we'll have one of those neato Cover It Live Blogs on the page. It'll start a half hour before the gates open to give us time to work out any kinks, so please do join us and send your productivity at work even farther down the toilet.
Now, on to what we started yesterday. We'll have to do this in two separate posts. For the sake of real discussion, i've left Brad Richards off the poll. Yes, we'd all love that and no, it's not likely to happen. We do know that the Hawks are, or at least have to be, in the market for at least one top 6 winger and a 4th line center. We'll start with the top six winger. He'll have to be able to play on the left, Hossa and Kaner have the right-sided spots pretty well locked down.
All the guys listed below have some warts. Erik Cole can't be counted on to stay healthy, and when you combine his age and style of play he could fall off the cliff pretty fast. Simon Gagne has his own injury concerns, and would appear to be Patrick Sharp II who doesn't play center. Is there enough physical grit from him? Andrew Brunnette is 183 years old. Antti Miettinen is a very crafty player, but can he score enough and is he too soft? Ville Leino will probably be far too expensive. Sean Bergenheim will get a ridiculous raise based only on a playoff performance, and isn't he really just a third liner?
I'll have to go with Cole, despite the concerns. The Hawks aren't big enough on the front line nor physical enough, and Cole solves those two things. But I'll make the point that's been made repeatedly in the last week, why hand an older and more brittle Cole $3.5-4 million when you wouldn't give Troy Brouwer $2.5?