UA-59049186-1 Blackhawks December 1 Update - Good if it Goes

Blackhawks December 1 Update

The Blackhawks enter December six points out of a playoff spot and looking flat just about every time they take the ice. After their most recent loss, Jeremy Colliton was quite candid:

It’s not impossible for the team to turn it around and make it into the playoffs, but based on the way things have looked this year, it may be time to focus on the future. They already traded Nick Schmaltz to Arizona for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini. Perlini should be a solid bottom 6 guy. Maybe Strome can realize his potential playing with his old Erie Otters teammate Alex DeBrincat. In any case, Schmaltz was probably going to be after too much money in the off-season considering he didn’t take the step forward we were hoping he would. Barstool Chief thinks there’s a path for the team to be good next year. The other option is a near-total rebuild. I’m not suggesting this is the better route, I’m just looking at where everyone stands if that’s what they decide to do.

UFAs on the way out

Marcus Kruger: Good penalty killer, but that’s about it. Makes too much money for a guy who’s only ever going to be a 4C.

Chris Kunitz: Will be 40 when the 2019-20 season starts.

Jan Rutta: Plenty of younger, cheaper options available in the system.

Cam Ward: Best days are very much behind him.

The Untouchables

Alex DeBrincat: Obvious.

Patrick Kane: Same, but with no-movement clause.

Jonathan Toews: Is playing good hockey this year. One of the few guys on the team who goes to the net and the only one winning face-offs consistently. Great leader as captain. Has NMC.

Henri Jokiharju: Showing great potential.

The Probably Not Going Anywheres

Duncan Keith: Full NMC. This is fine. Keith is still playing well and is on a friendly enough contract.

Brent Seabrook: Full NMC until the 2022-23 season.

The Will Take Anything in Returns

Artem Anisimov: Still don’t understand why Stan extended him when he did at the price he did.

Connor Murphy: Is just a guy. Would rather keep Gustafsson around at a third of the price.

Brandon Manning: Has work to do to get to “just a guy.”

The Hefty Price Tags

Corey Crawford: Has a modified no-trade clause – he has to submit a list of 10 teams the Hawks can trade him to. He turns 34 on New Year’s Eve and has only one year left on his contract after this one. If the right offer comes along, you have to at least consider it, don’t you? To be clear, we’re talking about a MASSIVE haul here.

The team’s not in a terrible position cap-wise if they don’t decide to truly re-build and instead just try to move the “will take anything” guys. They’ll have to pay DeBrincat after next year and Crawford’s up then as well. But it can work if the right guy is making the moves. It’s hard to imagine that guy is Stan Bowman, though. Firing Joel Quenneville seemed to me like Bowman pushing his chips to the middle of the table and if the team stumbles the rest of this season, I think he’s out as well.

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

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