NHL Free Agency: Cheat Sheet for the Hawks

Back from Montreal safe and sound (and sunburned). Highlights include getting my girlfriend and friends to wait as I took my picture in front of the Richard statue and looking at all the other memorials outside the Bell Center, ice skating in June and seeing Marc-Andre Fleury walking down the street and geeking out about it plus of course all the delicious food and drink.

But you don't really give a shit about my vacation, so lets get back into hockey.  There's a lot of info coming later as we'll be wrapping up our season reviews and getting ready to head into high gear for Free Agent Day on Wednesday.  And I'm course you're all very impressed with our first round pick of Joonas Nattinen going to the Habs in the third round and you want to know a quick glimpse of some free agent info.  We'll here's a quick cheat sheet.

2009 NHL Free Agency: What The Blackhawks Should Do

Pending UFAs: Samuel Pahlsson, Aaron Johnson, Matt Walker, Nikolai Khabibulin.. oh yeah.. and Martin Havlat

Pending RFAs: Dave Bolland (signing still unofficial), Troy Brouwer, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser, Kris Versteeg, Cam Barker, Corey Crawford, Antti Niemi

Salary cap space: about $18 Million

Projected budget: $56.8-million

Key needs: The Blackhawks really just need to figure out what the hell is going to happen with Martin Havlat. Once that happens everything else can somewhat fall into place. If they do sign Havlat, and it's looking more and more like they won't/can't. Then they'll have some extra money to throw around this summer, however, it's money that won't last long. They'll need to offer someone a one-year deal so that the big three can get their bailouts contracts next summer. The obvious need would be for a center but another high producing winger might be necessary if Havlat ends up walking.

Potential targets: As said above - Havlat should be the main target. Try to get him to a one-year deal or something ridiculously low long term. The one year thing is more likely, if anything is. If you can't there are options. One might be a one-year deal to Marian Gaborik thought taking a gamble with another injury prone winger might not be the best option. There isn't a lot since the Hawks can really only offer the one-year deal. Check out Mirtle's list of free agent forwards and pick who you'd like.

What our rivals want: You'll have to check with them St. Louis Game Time (Blues), On The Forecheck (Predators), Winging It In Motown (Red Wings), The Cannon (Blue Jackets)