No Dude, That F---s With Our Plan: A Quick Off-season checklist
So I can't quit you people, I just have to write something. After taking a day, I thought of a few things I think the Hawks need to do this summer. I submit them for your consideration.
Give Tallon an extension: As if this will happen. All the quotes we hear from the higher-ups do not bode well for Dale, and it's unfair. You do not let your coach or GM go into the last year of a deal as a lame duck. How's Dale supposed to think long-term if he thinks he auditioning for his job in 2010? We're sure Scotty Bowman has Rocky's and McD's ear, but he's not exactly unbiased, is he. with his son next in line? Quite frankly, the whole Scotty Bowman thing is starting to sicken me. What kind of message does that send to the rest of the league? This is Dale's team, and he deserves a longer ride with it. I don't think Tallon is the best GM in the league or anything close, but I think he's a hell of a lot farther away from the bumbling doofus some paint him out to be. We're still not sure the Huet and Campbell signings weren't McD Productions. A good organization rewards those that have done well, and any way you slice it, Dale has.
-Resign Dave Bolland Tomorrow: Yes, I'm a little biased, owning a Bolland Winter Classic jersey as I do. But, to quote Chris Block, "In a salary-cap era, Dave Bolland is a #2 center." It's hard to figure where Fabulous Weapon's ceiling is, but I know it's pretty damn high. He also gives you strength up the middle in the same fashion that Detroit has, i.e. an entire corps of centers who play well on both ends. You'd be 2/3rds of the way there with Toews and Bolland. As long as you're strong at the blue line and up the middle, you'll always be a contender, for the most part.
-Be Cautious As To What You Resign VerStud for: Look, we all love Kris here. He's been exciting, entertaining as all hell on and off the ice, and was a genuine surprise. That being said, I have this funny feeling about VerBeauty. When I watch him, I don't know for sure that I'm not seeing a player as good as he will be already. I'm not basing that on anything logical, just a feeling I get. The Fifth Feather has a great post about this today, and offer sheets in general. Frankly, the only size offer-sheet that will make the Hawks think twice is anything over 3 million, and I wonder if any team will think VerStud is worth 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks. Might be a good idea to let the market determine where Versteeg's value is, maybe you get him for cheaper than you think. Oh, and tell him to get the fucking puck in fucking deep once a week.
Sell High on Dustin Byfuglien: You're never going to get a better chance to unload this guy (and in my wet dreams it's part of a package for Kovalchuk, but those will remain my dreams). Yes, he showed flashes in the playoffs of being the dominant player we all think he can be. But A) I don't trust him to do it all the time, and B) you have players in the pipe-line who are supposed to fill this role anyway. Both Aliu and Beach are this sort of player, when they're not in jail at least, and personally I think even Troy Brouwer could probably fill it with a year's experience under his belt. I know Brouwer is kind of a laughing-stock on this site, and with good reason (ohmygodohmygodohmygodohcrap), but he does have two 35+ goal seasons in the "a" on his resume, so there is something to work with there. We're going to need Buff's cap space, and someone will take him.
Do Not Trade Cam Barker: I've seen some rumblings about this from a couple places, and it makes me urpy. Yes, with the current set-up, Barks is actually your #5 d-man. And it seems silly to pay your #5 d-man $3 mil+ or what it might take. But with Barker and Campbell, you'll always have a deadly power play, and he also provides size on the blue-line which the Hawks don't have much of, and there isn't much coming from Rockford. If another team makes this guy a huge offer the Hawks can't match, fine, we'll take the picks. But Barker made some huge strides this year, and might have been the best player on the ice for most of the Calgary series. Again, strength on the blue-line and up the middle, contender for years.
Offer Jesus Havlat What You Can: This doesn't necessarily mean sign him. This might be the biggest debate over the next month. In my mind, Havlat is simply a true-gamebreaker, and there aren't many of those lying around. I know people think that once he's signed long-term, he'll go back to 50 games a year at most. I don't buy that. I don't think Havlat has ever jaked an injury, or not given his all when he was fully healthy. Though he's had some groin issues, most of his injury problems stem from a balky shoulder that is not the sign of someone out of shape. From all indications the surgery he had last summer fixed these problems. Maybe it's something you're never free from, and the Hawks should be aware of that. That being said, I'd offer Havlat a long-term, Franzen-like deal, because we can't afford much else. If Marty wants to go chase as much money as he can for as many years as he can, that's his right (and I have this feeling that the Bleu, Blanc, and Rouge are going to offer a lot of both). With these "negotiations" having gone on as long as it sounds like they have, my bet is the Hawks have already offered one of these, and Havlat's holding out for more. I hope I'm wrong.
Do Not Let John McDonough Sign Jeremy Roenick: You're going to hear about this one, believe me. I know McD is staring at possible headlines, and JR is already angling for a return. Though the inner-child in all of us would probably rejoice at #27 flying around the UC ice again, he doesn't fit, and the Hawks dont' need headlines for headlines' sake.