You might be saying to yourself right now "I hate Stan Bowman so much, I wish he would come and jump off this cliff with me, because like him, I have completely given up on this team." Now you may be angry, you may be displeased with the way the trade deadline went down, but I'm here to tell you, fear not my children, all will be well in Hawk Nation.
Let's start off by looking at what the Blackhawks did do:
While there was clamoring for a better defenseman, none but maybe Niklas Grossman was moved on the deadline. What Oduya will bring is a bit of everything, shot blocking, puck movement, a bit of physicality, and most importantly a break for our Marlboro 72 boys, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. Oduya, when playing for the New jersey Devils a few years back (he was part of the Ilya Kovalchuck trade) was averaging around 21 minutes a game. All of his years with NJD he was a plus player aside form his -5 rookie season. He is an above average skater which in my opinion is huge for this acquisition. We have all seen how Andrew Brunette just cant keep up with the rest of the team and most of the other teams the Hawks play. In my opinion, the Hawks needed a puck mover rather than a big physical shot blocking hitting D-man. This team wants to have more puck possession and less D zone time and adding a puck mover is exactly the thing to help that out. By adding a different type of D man, the hawks would be trying to fix a rusty pipe with a band-aid. The solution to their problems is getting the puck out of the zone, something in which puck movers excel at, not staying in it and letting other teams barrage them with shots. Oduya may not be Brian Campbell, but he will provide a bit of offense and the ability to skate the puck out of the zone and make solid passes. Will there be mistakes? Absolutely, as with most of our defensemen, they have to deal with "cherry-picking" forwards leaving the defensive zone as soon as puck possession is retained. This is another problem that really has an easy solution, if you have time, take a look and make a smart simple play rather than the risky dangerous one. I believe that hawks will improve as they draw closer to the playoffs. But most of that hinges on a healthy Jonathan Toews.
Acquiring a fifth round Pick for John Scott:
Now there is a contingent out there, including Coach Q, who believe that putting Scoot-a-toot in the lineup prevented teams from taking vicious shots at our star players. I for one believe in the idea, but the application of the idea in this current Hawks lineup with John Scott has failed for a few reasons.
1. John Scott cant skate.
If you look at other teams and their so called "enforcers" most of them do have a bit of skill. Take a look at Ben Eager, he was a first round pick, and has been quoted himself as saying "fighting was my quickest way to the NHL." Now he may not be a legit "heavyweight" in the NHL, but he will step up and fight almost anyone who takes liberties with his teammates, as we saw during his time with Chicago. I am absolutely not pining for Eager, as he is a penisloaf. The point I'm trying to make here is that Eager could and did skate with all four lines during his tenure with the Hawks, and having him on the ice with the top lines did put a stop to a lot of the shenanigans by other teams. This was not the case with Scooter, who just couldn't really do anything but stand in front of the net.
2. John Scott did not play enough minutes.
While Scooter did get a bit of ice time, 4 minutes a game is not a deterrent to other teams. Opposing teams knew late in games he would be sitting on the bench because he is a defensive liability. While Scott did work hard to improve his skating and defensive play while here, moving him was a must.
3. John Scott was actually TOO good at fighting.
The thing about John Scott this year, and we all saw it, was nobody wanted to fight him(unless they were eating shrooms in the locker room in between periods and thought he was a big cuddly teddy bear. See Dorsett, Derek). He still has of yet to lose a fight in the NHL and people were actually scared to fight him. The New York Rangers will soon learn of this same problem and probably scratch him for the remainder of the season after a few games.
This trade has a few benefits for the Hawks in my eyes. Its complete highway robbery to get anything more than a fringe minor league player for John Scott. Stan Bowman deserves a lot of credit for getting a pick out of Scott. The second thing it does is tells people that they are not untouchable. John Scott was originally a Bowman guy and became a Q guy as time wore on. He was a well liked, and a quite hardworking individual who no one thought would be moved. His usefulness on the roster was well documented, but I think this move sends a message to the other players on the team that its time to work hard if you want to stay on this team.
The callup of Brandon Bollig.
While this is not a trade or a signing, I believe this move will help the Hawks. Bollig is known to be a fighter and enforcer who has good size(6'3 215) and is also known as a good skater with a nice shot. From what I've heard from the people covering the Icehogs, mainly @chrisblock for those on twittarghs, he has been one of, if not THE most improved players on the team this year. He has really worked hard to step up his game to more than an enforcer. Apparently he is very solid on the PK, a shot blocker and a tough guy to work around for opposing teams. While he might not see any PK time with the Hawks, having a guy like this is always a good thing.
Bollig's main asset is his ability to fight. Where John Scott was too good, Bollig will get anyone who is willing, to drop the gloves. He knows why he is here and will provide a spark for the Hawks. While I do not think that the hawks will fight their way to a Stanley Cup, as long as fighting is a part of the league, teams will need someone to counter opposing enforcers. Its basically a necessary evil to have someone like Bollig on your team. I think fans will be reminded of Ben Eager with this guy in that he will always step up and defend his teammates, something which has been lacking this year.
What the Hawks did NOT do:
While I think Grabovski would be a solid addition to the Hawks, Brian Burke came on TSN well before the deadline and said Grabo was going nowhere. He was taking offers and I'm sure they were incredibly high, but decided to try and re-sign Mikhail in the off-season. If Mikhail hits free agency I believe the Hawks will be in the running to land him. Although don't be surprised if someone signs him to a 5 or 6 year deal for 5 million plus. If this is the case, Stan will not make that kind of commitment because of the centers we have in the minors and juniors.
Once again, this would have been a solid fit for the Hawks, but the asking price was too high. Stan said he did make a few offers with first round picks, but was turned down. If you are angry about not getting Roy, I feel your pain but let me try and calm your fears.
Roy has a cap hit of 5 million a year for this year and next year. If Paul Gaustad went for a first round pick, Roy would have commanded at least one first round pick, and possibly two prospects and a lower round pick. If this was the NFL, Gaustad is the equivalent of a third string player going for a first round pick. Roy is the Sabres first line center. If Stan called about him I'm sure his offer was along the lines of a first round pick and Brandon Pirri. What Buffalo wanted was along the lines of 1st round pick, Mark McNeill, Jeremy Morin and a 2nd or 3rd round pick. if you are willing to pay that price for 1.25 seasons of Derek Roy, you are a moron. Here is why:
The Hawks drafted Mark McNeill in the first round last year and he has played extremely well on a bad WHL team, the Prince Albert Raiders. Derek Roy is 5'9 184 , McNeill is 6'2 210. The Hawks own McNeill for his first three years of NHL play, which does not include AHL time. He can play in I believe 9 games before his entry level contract kicks in which is a cap hit of 1.1 million. In my humble opinion, McNeill is the future second line center, and can be a solid point producer in the NHL. In 59 WHL games, McNeill has 66 points, 28 goals and 38 assists, and is a -5. He can do a bit of everything, kills penalties, wins faceoffs, scores goals and sets up snipers, and is big and physical.
To pay the price of McNeill for a 5 million cap hit and one full season of Derek Roy, the Hawks would lose out on three years of a 1.1 million cap hit and someone who could become a very good center in the NHL. Its simple math and logic as to why Derek Roy is not a Hawk today. Yes he would have been nice, but to give up a player like McNeill who will probably become better than Roy is now is just something that you cannot do. Could I be wrong? Absolutely. But that price for Roy, who has 35 points in 60 games is just too much.
The Hawks future:
While some fans want Bowman's head, I personally do not. I think it was incredibly smart to not give away the future of the Hawks for a one year run at the cup. When I read headlines like this that cause panic, I get a bit angry. While the story is mostly about the remaining 19 games the Hawks have, the headline is dead wrong. Its not about this year, its not about right now. Its about being competitive for the next ten years or so with the current core of players on the team. Its about not having to give away draft picks and prospects to pay unreasonably high prices for one year rentals. Its about winning the Stanley cup yes, but you don't have to win the presidents trophy to win it(See Bruins, Boston and also the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks). Having home ice is a big advantage, but if this team is playing well it can beat anyone, anywhere. What matters is getting to the postseason on a consistent basis, one in, everyone has the same chance of winning the Cup. Having a great young core with backup from solid prospects coming up from the minors is what its all about. When was the last time Detroit made a huge blockbuster? I cannot recall. Teams do not have to make huge trades to win. They have to work hard and play well when it counts. After going through the early 2000's awful teams, awful management, awful ownership, I'm completely content on being a contender for the next ten years, which the Hawks will be as long as they have "The Core." They arent going to win the Cup every year, but i can say this, they will be a favorite every year and it will get better. This team is lacking a top 6 forward and a second line center, of which both were addressed in last years draft. Saad and McNeill should be with the hawks in the next year or two and contributing well. They will be right back to where they were in 2010, a team with incredible depth and versatility. maybe they dont win the Cup every year, maybe they win it every 5 or 6 years, maybe they dont win it for ten more. What I dont see happening though, is another 49 year drought. They will have a chance every year to win it for probably the next ten years. That is something to be proud of.
Now if they miss the playoffs, thats a whole different story, but I do not believe that will happen.