First off, a Happy June 9th to you all! I hope despite the March-like weather (only after 24 hours of straight 90+ temps) we can all reflect on the awesomeness that is our 1 year Anniversary of winning it all!
Secondly, I was fortunate enough this past Sunday to play 7 innings of hardball with some friends of mine in the city and, by pure coincidence, met Sam for the first time! Ladies, the guy has a killer batter's stance at the plate. Just sayin'.
Thirdly, about all these trade dreams and roster changes, i give you the following, which is strictly my own opinion, after the jump:
(1) Hammer shouldn't and doesn't go anywhere, so forget it about it. Too young, too skilled, plays top-four mins, kills penalties. I chalk up last year's experience to "cup hangover". Next year he WILL be better.
(2) Brouwer doesn't go anywhere either unless we can get the most out of him via a trade to someone like the Islanders for a couple roster guys (IMO: Moulson or Okposo and some prospects) but again, how do you let go of a young guy who has the size Brouwer has plus the skill set to run with Toews & Kane every other week? No one in the Rockford system looks like a prime candidate to step into Brouwer's role.
(3) If, and only if, Hossa gets traded I think the destination is LA. If that happens, which it most certainly will NOT, I would want in return the guy I wanted the Hawks to draft over Skille initially, that being Anze Kopitar (again, NO WAY LA gives him up). Now, this situation is less than ideal or realistic since no one, including myself, would want to see Panda leave, nor would the 3-5 LA Kings fans on the West Coast want to see their only Top-Tier player on their squad (Kopitar) leave either.
What getting rid of Hossa does is (A) make our Top-3 center depth the cream of the Conference (Toews/Kopitar/Bolland ... Yeowza!) as well as (B) free up cap space for the Hawks so Stan can (drum roll please) ... GET LADD BACK! (purely fantasy, but a boy can dream, right?) Again I want to mention that the situation stated above in (3) is only in response to those who want to trade Hossa purely to free up cap space. I know hes getting older, but c'mon guys, "He's Marian Fucking Hossa and YOU ARE NOT!", remember??
(4) Chris Drury coming in at a REDUCED rate as a fourth line center would be awesome, so would John Madden. Basically they are both near identical as far as age goes and the skill set they provide would be practically the same. I agree that the real benefit of having a player of the Drury or Madden mold is to provide a priceless veteran presence to a relatively young squad, including the young guns that won the cup last year.
In my perfect world, I'd want Madden back since he won with us brought a good amount of snarl to the bottom 6. Drury on the other hand was a Captain of an Original 6 Franchise, and nobody just hands those out. That kind of experience is worth its weight in silver, for reals. I wouldn't be adverse to seeing either John Madden or Chris Drury wearing the Indian Head while slaying bums on the 4th line.
(5) The Philly Experiment - Before I go down this road I want to point out the only other team in the East that is more fucked in terms of cap space other than Philly is Pittsburgh, and it'll be interesting to see how they handle things if/when Sidney returns to the lineup for them.
Scott Hartnell is a very interesting option since it gives us someone other than Brouwer or Seabrook who actually exploits his physical size and power, but also has a bit of a scoring touch and can fly with Top-Tier talent (I had Claude Giroux and Hartnell on my fantasy squad this reg season and watched A LOT of Flyer games because of it. Take it from me, Hartnell is no slouch. Prone to scoring slumps but he's tough as nails and plays well in all three zones. To quote GM Stan Bowman, Hartnell is "versatile").
The other names to take into account are Versteeg, Leino, Coburn, & Carter:
Kris Versteeg would be great to have back but at who's expense? I will totally take Verbeauty over Pisani, Johnson, or Kopecky (even with his "career year") but Kris' cap hit might still be too high, regardless of how much i would love to see a 4th line of Smith - Madden/Drury - Versteeg (excuse me, i have to go change my pants now ... anyway, where were we? right).
Ville Leino is a bust. Really. He was a bust on Detroit and got real hot in Philly until, (in the words of my younger brother, a fervent SCUM fan) "He was informed Philly Management wanted him to play like that for a WHOLE season. God forbid, right?"
Jeff Carter leaving Philly I still don't fully buy into, so i'll believe it when i see it. Additionally, as far as i have seen, Jeff Carter can be great in the Reg Season but turns into a fucking ghost in the playoffs. Plus, no way we or anyone gets Jeff Carter on the cheap and if Philly just lets him go, then they have completely undervalued this obvious Top-Tier Pro.
Braydon Coburn is an interesting option. He would be a good "veteran mentor" for Nick "Youngblood" Leddy but he would have youthful enough legs that he could be very serviceable in a bottom paring role. I'm not sure what his cap hit is, but if he is an economical option, I'd say pull the trigger.
I hope I have successfully distracted you from whatever important errand you needed to take care of so the Blackhawks' future is commanding your complete attention. Enjoy reminiscing in the glory of what happened a much warmer June 9th evening one year ago, I know I will.
PS - Go Black & Gold