This Is How It Ends, Not With A Bang, But Probably Slightly More Than A Whimper
So the deadline has passed and the Hawks have made one move. Neither was major, and I think after last night's loss and the total capitulation of the weekend, everyone wanted a major shakeup. It's understandable, but in the clearer light of day, it probably wasn't possible.
Because no one of note moved addresses today. I know the Canadian media wants to make a big deal out of Zach Kassian moving to Vancouver, but if he were such a monster why was he bouncing between Buffalo and Rochester? Going to be a fine player one day, isn't yet.
So because we can't identify who the Hawks could have had, we'll never know what they were asked. I don't know what the Sabres wanted for Derek Roy, but if it was as high as some reported I wouldn't do that. We don't know what the price on Mikhail Grabovski was, and I don't know how much he would have solved. What other name was out there?
While there's a lot of people rushing out of their house to call Stan Bowman an idiot, I think the argument could be made that he thinks the answers are in that room and behind the bench. I'll make that argument now, though I'm not necessarily endorsing it either.
There really wasn't a center out there who would be an improvement on Patrick Sharp slotting over, just as he's done each of the last three years and he'll end up doing again. And that will be fine. And I find it funny that most of the beaters are clamoring for a second line center and yet heap praise on Marcus Kruger. It can't be both. Kruger has had a decent rookie season and shows flashes of being a very useful player. Is he ready to be a consistent #2 center? No, probably not. But he's more prepared for his role than Nick Leddy is for his, I know that much. But when you break it down, a middle of 19-10-36-16 looks pretty strong to me. That's what it should be.
The other main problems is obviously the defense, and Bowman's two moves today were to address that. If Oduya maxes out (no sure thing) and is in the form that got him on the Swedish Olympic team, he can take some of Leddy's minutes. It won't be anything near what they got out of Campbell, but it's be more stable than what they're getting out of Leddy right now. I don't know how it shakes out, and I don't think that can be decided until Hjalmarsson returns fully, or if Montador does at all.
The other problem with the defense is that Duncan Keith looks like he's thrown too many innings. He's gassed, it's obvious to everyone. So Bowman stripped Quenneville of the option that helped drive Keith's minutes and Seabrook's and Leddy's minutes up. Whatever you think of John Scott, there's no way around the argument that his four minutes per night drove everyone else's time up. Whatever Oduya will be, I know he can be out there for a 15 minutes a night at least. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked if Bowman envisions a scenario that takes Keith off the power play and let Oduya on the 2nd, because Keith needs the break and what's he really providing on the PP anyway?
No, it's not the massive change we were all hoping for. But I don't think it was Stan waving the white flag on the season either. I know a lot of people declared the Hawks season over last night, and though I understood the rage I think that's harsh. Yeah, the trap door is approaching fast in the rear view, but it's still in the Hawks hands. They need to turn around quick, they need Toews back, but it isn't last year. Yet.
But the main answer to what ails you is Marian Hossa not playing such a careless game as he has been lately. It's Patrick Kane adjusting to being blanketed by two guys as soon as he crosses the blue line, which he hasn't and must. It's Patrick Sharp playing a two-way game again from the middle. It's Keith and Seabrook finding a second (or 35th) wind. It's Bickell and Stalberg continuing to be the solid forecheckers they've been with Bolland.
It's a lot to ask, but it's not out of the reach of any of these guys. If they happen, I genuinely still believe the Hawks could be anything. That didn't change today.