With the draft now only 24 hours away, things on the hot stove are getting progressively hotter, even for the Hawks, in spite of Stan Bowman coming out and saying that the he didn't suspect the team would much different than it does at present. With all due respect, it sounded like a bunch of grade-A bologna then, and it's sounding even more and more so by the minute.
- As was reported last week by some hit-and-miss rumor mongerers, the shopping of Niklas Hjalmarsson was confirmed this afternoon by one-time Committed Indian purchaser Pierre LeBrun.
While Hammer's availability has been speculated since even before he was eligible to be traded, after the San Jose offer sheet ordeal, it appears that this finally has legs, as if the signing of Johnny Oduya wasn't enough to seal that. Speaking of the Sharks, Douglas Murray's alleged availability would in theory dampen the market for Hammer since his cap hit is less, but it seems by all accounts that sought return for Hjalmarsson would be picks of a pittance of a salary just to free up space, possibly for a larger blue-line type fish. Getting Hammer's salary off the books would be a key domino to fall if the Hawks are indeed rumored to be in on the Suter sweepstakes. But if they trade Hammer, they'd better make damn sure they win that sweepstakes, as its doubtful that Dylan Olsen is fully primed for a role with the big club.
- LeBrun also states the blindingly obvious to anyone with a functioning television and/or brain, which is that Patrick Kane is not available and the Hawks have no interest in Roberto Luongo. If you're the type of person that needs to be told that sort of thing, you should have probably already walked your ass into oncoming traffic, but if you're still going to cling to it even after this, please do us all a favor.
- The other large news to come out is the purported availability of both Bobby Ryan and now Jordan Staal, after Staal's rejection of a 10 year uber deal from the Pens. While Staal is getting married tomorrow and there are likely other things that he has to deal with other than contract negotiations, it seems as though he's desirous of a larger role out from behind Sid and Geno, and is willing to bet on himself in the open market next year. It seems Carolina is his preferred destination to play with his brother, but if indeed that's his strategy, seeking a trade partner where he could play for one year in a sheltered offensive role due to a team already having established scoring and checking centers, and inflate his numbers going into a year where he's going to test the market anyway. Not to mention his declaration of no intention to sign a long term deal with anyone drastically hurts the Pens trading position. I wonder where he could slot in that nicely....
And once again, Red Ass Uncle Bob is dangling Bobby Ryan to potential suitors. We've been over this one before, as it's pretty obvious the holes Ryan could fill for coming years on the Hawks. And the asking price will be drastically lower than the other power forward on the market, alleged wiener tucker Rick Nash, due to Ryan's age, contract hit, and the fact that Bob Murray regularly gets bent over the barrel in deals, which I'm sure thrills Scott Howson to no end.
- While all of this currently amounts to fuck and all at present, that the Hawks currently have a full 23 man roster with cap space to spare, one of the most stocked farm systems in the league, a full battery of picks, fairly obvious holes, and a braintrust displeased with two consecutive first round outs, it all smells like Stan's words earlier in the week were just that- words. The evidence points to a flurry of activity, CBA be damned. At least I hope it does, it's a lot more fun that way.