By now you've seen the news, the Hawks have re-signed both Jamal Mayers and Johnny Oduya. One of that isn't all that confusing, the other might be.
First, Jamal Mayers. He's coming back at 600K. And really, for that number, it's fine. You know exactly what you're going to get from Jamal Mayers. He's going to be Jamal Mayers. He'll win draws, he'll give you whatever he's got left, he'll kill penalties, he'll enter some scraps when called upon, maybe even chip in a goal here and there. Considering the bevy of forwards the Hawks will have, he probably won't approach 82 games this year. That might be a good thing, as it could save his aging legs. At that price, it's not really a bad thing to have a veteran who can do a lot of a little around. The only confusing part is the Hawks have 15 forwards for 12 spots. So Draft Night oughta be a blast, because moves are going to have to be made. I would expect, or hope, that Mayers and Carcillo kind of rotate in and out, but that's going to depend on what moves are made and how the roster shakes out.
Oduya is more confusing, and really final judgement can't be made until we know the cap hit -- rumored to have been cut in exchange for the mystifying three years he got. If we were having this discussion at the end of the regular season, most Hawks fans would have been on board with bringing Undercover Swedish Brother back. But then he got his skull caved in in the playoffs, and you wonder how his performances against heavy forechecks are going to get any better on the wrong side of 30. It's not that Oduya is a bad player or doesn't fit what the Hawks do well, because he does. But how much responsibility can he be trusted with now for the ambition the Hawks have after being clowned by Shane Doan? But who's going where now?
What we know is that the Hawks are bringing back five d-men from a defense that wasn't all that good. Keith and Seabrook, Leddy, Oduya, and either Montador or Olsen. I would have to believe this signing means Hjalmarsson is a goner, but I don't know that. Maybe Montador is retiring because of his concussion problems, which appear to be that serious. But there's been no hint of that. Maybe the Hawks think Olsen needs more time at the AHL-level, which would not be the worst idea ever. Maybe they think this is finally when Nick Leddy looks like something other than the West's Michael Del Zotto (ignore the +/-, that's not a good thing). I have no idea.
It also colors those rumors that the Hawks were going to make a serious run at Ryan Suter. Or at least I think it does. But the defense needs an upgrade, and I'm not sure where it's coming from now. And if the Wings grab Suter or Parise or both, and the Blues find a genuine top line scorer, and the Hawks are bringing back Oduya and letting kids fill the holes at forward? We'll be putting out some fires around here, that's for sure.
Update: Pierre LeBrun is reporting that the cap hit is 3.3 mildo, which would be bordering on moronic. That's about what Oduya made last year, and considering age and playoff performance, that is far too much. We still don't know what other changes will be made to the defensive corps, but we have to hope that the Hawks will be paying a 3rd pairing d-man 3.3 million. Actually, a total third pairing a total of 6 million in cap hit with Montador. That's some fine calculatin', boy!