As the Hawks official site is reporting, Robert Lang has been traded to the Montreal Canadiens for a 2010 second round draft pick. Dale Tallon says:
"Robert is a quality guy and we appreciate that he gave us everything that he had but this move gives one of our great young players an opportunity to step up," Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon said. "We are excited about adding a second round draft pick in 2010 as we continue with our philosophy of building from within."
I'm guessing this trade is paving the way for a guy like Petri Kontiola or Dave Bolland to win a spot on the 2nd line as a center, but I'm not sure I'm a huge fan of this move right now. Lang recorded 54 points last year in 76 games while also adding a +9 rating. He was a fairly consistent offensive contributor all year long and pretty underrated considered he was one of the top Hawk forwards. He isn't a huge loss, I suppose, if a young guy is ready to step in and do the job for a fraction of the cost, but that's assuming Kontiola or Bolland or perhaps someone else is ready to take on that role at this point in their career. Also, I'm sure part of the reason this deal was made was to help the Blackhawks get back under the salary cap, as Lang was due $4 million this year.
For now, I'd have to say I'm a little skeptical of the deal, but if someone can step up in training camp and prove they can fill Lang's role, I won't have a problem with it at all. I liked Kontiola's play last year and if he can build on that this year, I have confidence in him. Hopefully he will have a good camp and win himself a spot.