A few notes to clear out before free agency officially begins, and keep in mind this post could be wiped moot in a matter of hours or even minutes.
-As I said last night, the Andrew Shaw trade could very well work out. You kind of know what you’re getting with Shaw, and unless he’s put on the shelf with a concussion by a stiff breeze (truly possible) it’s certainly going to help. It won’t be a directional change or a pivot, but he’ll contribute. But it’s yet another sign of just how much the Hawks pro scouting sucks, and yet there’s never been any impetus for change there.
Quick, name the last player the Hawks acquired out of an entry-level deal that was any good. That was a win. Strome doesn’t count because he was in his entry-level deal and the info on him was still mostly from the amateur scouting. I’ll give you Connor Murphy, even though everyone else hates him and he honestly might not still be as good as the player he was traded for. Richard Panik? Artem Anisimov for one season between two all-stars? And he was worse than the player they traded for him. And then they went and got that player back for a player much better than he is who just got $12M from the Rangers.
You have to go all the way back to Antoine Vermette, and before that the list isn’t very cheerful until you get back to Johnny Oduya (the first time). And you know the list of players that haven’t worked out at all. Look, if Rob Scuderi and Brandon Manning are on your list at all, your list sucks and I don’t care what else is on it.
Stan Bowman keeps making these moves and they keep sucking and yet nothing ever seems to change. Just you wait until you get a look at Olli Maatta. The Hawks seems to gain cover from fans and media for bringing back old names and cashing in on memories, and by the time everyone realizes these players suck now they’re on to the next one or the season’s gone anyway.
-Speaking of frugality, which is a big reason people seem to like the Shaw move, the Hawks are right in sitting out this market for the most part…if they indeed do. There aren’t really foundational players to be found unless you want to offer sheet Marner or Aho, and the Hawks won’t because they think they have to keep that from happening to DeBrincat. Fair enough, we’ll see. $9M for Lee is a function of him being one of the very few pieces out there and cashing in on desperation, and good for him, but you don’t want to be paying that. Three years for Pavelski is in the same range. It’s just not a very good class, and you can’t force it to be by paying more for it.
But if you’re truly trying to be frugal, why acquire Shaw for $4M instead of just keeping Kahun around who is basically going to give you the same thing for at least $2.5M less for the next few years? With a lot less dumbass offensive zone penalties and better health? More speed and durability? Younger? Am I supposed to believe Annette Frontpresence on the SECOND power play unit is that important?
The Hawks will say they got Maatta out of it, but he’s terrible and also seems to have crowded Henri Jokiharju out of the lineup completely. Which is either scandalous or they’ve decided Jokiharju sucks now which is also scandalous. So yeah, ok, Shaw isn’t that expensive but there was an even better money-saving way to go about it. This is middle path shit and the Hawks want pats on the back for like, spelling their name right on the SAT. It’s not imaginary or creative.
-When all is said and done today or this week, the Hawks still have not informed me how they plan on getting the puck to their forwards. Maatta can’t do it. de Haan can’t do it. Seabrook can’t do it. Keith can like do it maybe once per game. Gustafsson can’t because he’s too slow. It’s not Murphy’s game. How? You say you have scoring but what does that matter if the forwards have to break out themselves?
The Hawks have literally no transition game right now. None. Jokiharju is supposedly an answer to that, and they don’t even want him on the roster to begin the season. Boqvist is supposed to be that, but he’s one guy, a year away most likely at best, and also a smurf.
Again, there doesn’t seem to be a plan here, or any sense of how the game is played now. But hey, partial season ticket plans available!