We're Talkin' About Shoppin' - Blue Line Bargain Bin

With this afternoon's news of Dennis Wideman getting dealt from the Capitals to the Flames, and subsequently signed to a grotesque $5.25 mildo per for five years, it's time to look at options other than Suter on the back end. While this move is hilarious on a lot of fronts, including but not limited to: Jay Feaster's delusion that the Flames are only a piece or two away from contending, that the defensively challenged Wideman is one of those pieces, and Flames fan, Puck Daddy Columnist, and troll emieritus Ryan Lambert's subsequent Twitter meltdown, there's one area it's not funny, and it's the one that counts. Wideman's clownish contract unfortunately sets the market for the also-rans in the Ryan Suter derby, and it appears that price is going to be rather high for what's shaping up to be a shallow UFA defenseman pool. So let's wade in shin deep, shall we?

  • Matt Carle
    $3.47M/yr 82GP 4G 34A +4 23:01TOI -.41BTN .028QualComp .018QualTeam .001CorsiQoT

    Though it's been rumored by multiple outlets that Carle is all but officially re-upped by the Flyers, he's getting lumped in with this hot garbage on the outside shot that that falls through, as this is Paul Holmgren after all, where no long term deal is sacred. Carle's numbers are mind-numbingly average, which should tell you what the rest of this lot looks like if he's the consolation prize for Suter. Carle isn't big, he isn't fast, he isn't mean, and he isn't overly offensively gifted. He's just a guy who can play his position and log a lot of minutes, which in theory is all the Hawks need to be partnered with Leddy, we saw that movie in April with Johnny Oduya, who's arguably a better skater than Carle. Carle would be more of the same, which isn't a bad thing, but it isn't an upgrade for a team with Cup aspirations, and it might all be moot anyway.
  • Filip Kuba
    $3.7M/yr 73GP 6G 26A +26 23:37TOI 1.08BTN .056QualComp .281QualTeam -.297 CorsiQoC

    Next on the list is the aging Filip Kuba, who spent most of his year paired with Norris Winner Erik Karlsson, as the gaudy Quality of Teammates number reflects above. Kuba is big at 6'4" 230ish, and quite nimble for his size, but that equates to a lot of passivity in his own end, where he clearly struggled as reflected by somehow managing a negative Corsi relative to his competition. Like Carle and Suter, Kuba is capable of logging big minutes, which will be necessary if he finds himself on the Hawks' second pair, and even if his defensive game is suspect, if he's able to do for Nick Leddy what he did for Karlsson, it might allow Leddy to outscore the mistakes assuming he's got a green light (and can shake a forecheck). It might be worth a one-year flyer on at most, but Kuba has "300 Level Profanity Fodder" written all over him. DIS CUBA GUY IS TOO SAWFT. HE'S AS BIG AS DAT BIG BUCK GUY AND DOESNT HIT NO ONE.
  • Bryce Salvador
    $2.7M/yr 82GP 0G 9A +18 20:13TOI .058BTN -.004QualComp -.058QualTeam 0.234 CorsiQOC

    Yes, he's a Q guy from back in the St. Louis days, and yes he plays a stay at home game, but please, for the love of god, do not overpay a 3rd pairing defenseman with 2nd pair money for a fluke playoff year, and a 36 year old one at that.
  • Joe Corvo
    1 Conviction of Punching a Woman in the Face

    I don't give a fuck if he's from Oak Park or not, he's a turnstile, and he's got that on his resume, which a lot of people tend to forget.

Given these options, it might be time to circle back around to where this post started, which is the signing of Wideman, and has increased the volume of the rumblings of Jay Bouwmeester being available. While yes, J-Bo's paper is terrible at $6.68 per for this year and next, it certainly gives the Hawks a lot more long term flexibility than the obvious long term deal it would take to land Suter. Bouwmeester is a terrific skater and has the size that Suter doesn't and cannot be taught. And while yes, he would certainly not be described as a skull crusher, his range can't be ignored. Bouwmeester and Suter are similar players and the former is only 2 years older and still south of 30, so if Feaster's getting silly with his blue line, it might be wise for Stan to give him a ring.

There's also the RFA market which GM's rarely tread into, but there's certainly the option of throwing something stupid at Shea Weber or Erik Johnson (or at least stupid enough that the Preds or Avs couldn't reasonably match), as the Hawks are flush with prospects and picks in the system down the line aside from the two given up for Oduya next year.