It may seem like the Hawks are going to have a quiet free agency, just like they had a quiet draft. Of course, if they don’t get Saad and Kruger locked up by Wednesday, it could get pretty interesting in a hurry. It’s already started a bit, as David Rundblad was signed to a two year extension today at a $1M cap hit. It may seem strange, and we didn’t see him in the picture, but as we’ve said before Stan is absolutely loathe to lose any asset for free if he doesn’t absolutely has to. We saw this with Scott and Bollig and others. Especially assets he had to give up other assets to get. He’s probably praying day and night that Rundblad can show just enough to be some throw-in in a deadline deal. Rundblad could also be sent down and only 75K would count against the cap, but just for shits and giggles that puts five d-men for sure on next year’s roster in Keith, Seabrook, Hammer, Johns, TVR, and Rundblad. If Paliotta or Pokka or Svedberg or unforeseen underdog can wow in camp, that probably puts Rundblad in Rockford.
So that leaves just one slot on the blue line to be filled by a veteran willing to take less to be on a competitor, and there are a couple out there who might. Even though we all know it’s going to be Barret Jackman because Q will only remember their days together in St. Louis instead of all the times the past eight years that Kane has turned him into plasma and flotsam. But let’s pretend for a second that might not happen. Who else?
Christian Ehrhoff – Admittedly the longest of long shots. However his agent came out today and said he’s only looking to sign for a contender, though they all say that. Ehrhoff still has his Buffalo money coming in from now until eternity, so money might not be a concern. Looking at the Hawks pairings right now and how they like to set them up, with one pusher and one free safety per pairing, it’s the pusher they lack. Johns figures to be the more aggressive of any pairing, which is why having Hammer flip to his natural side to pair with Johns seems the best way to bed him in. You have Keith and Seabrook. TVR is not that player, especially on one mangled leg. Ehrhoff fits that bill perfect, and also can replace some point work on the power play the Hawks have lost through Leddy and most likely Richards as well. Would he take a $2 million, one year deal? Unlikely, but not totally impossible.
Francois Beauchemin – I know it seems weird to put a d-man here the Hawks just finished stripping for parts, but that was a first pairing d-man in Anaheim and not a third pairing role which he would have here. Again, might not be willing to take what little money the Hawks have to offer, but also would seem to be the perfect tutor for Johns if Q wanted to reunite TVR and Keith as he did early in the season. Is the PK/shot-blocking meatbag that Rozsvial was. If you could get him cheap enough, not the worst idea in the world.
Zybnek Michalek – See above.
Marek Zidlicky – McClure and I came up with a term when this name came up at the deadline. It’s “Zidlicky Drunk.” Meaning how drunk we would be to survive watching this cowboy try and play. That’s a no.
Scott Hannan – Oh dear lord, this is going to happen, isn’t it? Think Rozsival, now make him a lefty and then severely beat him over the head for half an hour. I suppose, if I want to be kind, it would be better than Tim Gleason. It might not be better than Jackman, which is all you need to know.
We’ll go through some forwards tomorrow who might be able to fill in for cheap as well if they’re willing to take it on the cheap.