A look at the free agent possibilities

Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald had an interesting article a couple of days ago on the Blackhawks, talking about who they might go after on the FA market on July 1st. He reports some interesting things on which players they will make their top priorities to sign:

The belief is the Hawks will seriously pursue defenseman Brian Campbell and left wing Marian Hossa. That's the good news. The bad news is there's a long list of teams that also want them.

Campbell, the big, puck-moving defenseman the Hawks so desperately need, might re-sign with the San Jose Sharks. If not, there are reports he would prefer to play with an East Coast team for personal reasons. If Campbell gets to Tuesday unsigned, it's expected Boston, the New York Rangers and possibly Ottawa would be waiting with open checkbooks.

It could cost as much as $8 million a year to get Campbell, which begs the question: Why was there that lockout again? Hossa might be looking at $8 million as well after turning down a reported seven-year, $49 million offer from Pittsburgh.

I think Campbell is a solid defenseman and would be a nice addition to the Hawks' blue line, but is he really worth $8 million a year? That seems like quite a lofty price, even for a guy that would be a difference-maker for this team. I get the feeling that Dale Tallon may show some interest in him, but somebody like the Rangers will probably overpay a bit in the bidding war and end up with him. If we ended up with him, I would be happy, but I just don't see the Hawks putting up that much money when they probably need a forward more than they need a defenseman at this point. I look at the Hawks' current defensive corps and when I see guys like Seabrook, Keith, Sopel, Wisniewski, Barker, etc., I have to think that we are fairly set back there and not as desperate for a d-man as some seem to think.

As for Hossa? Wow, I would be ecstatic to see him in a Blackhawks uniform. He is just a fantastic goal scorer and point producer and would look great amongst the Hawks' top two lines. I'd have to think he will command top dollar as well, and rightfully so. Personally, I think that Tallon should make Hossa his top priority and do everything in his power to bring him in here. He is consistently putting up 30 goal, 80 point-type seasons and if you were able to put him on a line with someone like Martin Havlat, he could do quite a bit of damage.

Sassone also mentions a few of the other forwards and defensemen that the Hawks could possibly consider:

Among defensemen, Wade Redden, Mark Streit, John-Micheal Liles, Ron Hainsey, Brooks Orpik and Michael Rozsival are available, although it's believed the Hawks are lukewarm to Redden or Liles.

Streit had 62 points for the Canadiens last season and might be a good addition if Campbell goes elsewhere.

After Hossa at forward, there's Ryan Malone, Brian Rolston, Pavol Demitra, Jaromir Jagr, Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, Sean Avery and Kristian Huselius for consideration.

I haven't heard the Hawks linked to many of these players in rumors or anything, but Mark Streit is an interesting option as Sassone mentions, and he could be had for cheaper. I can't see any of the forwards on that list coming to the Hawks, although maybe they will take a look at someone like Malone or Rolston. It certainly will be interesting to see if Tallon can make a big splash come July.