Last year at this time I was a little down because the Hawks just got knocked out of the playoffs by the LA Kings. I was still excited for the 2015 season. This year I am even more excited, especially coming off a Stanley Cup win.
Most of us who follow the Hawks on a daily basis know there will be some turnover. Guys like Patrick Sharp and possibly Andrew Shaw could become cap casualties. Even though I love him, if Corey Crawford drew some interest, and the right deal was there, I would trade him. I want to be clear though, it would have to be a sweetheart deal.
Stan Bowman mortgaged a little of the future when he traded for Antoine Vermette, Andrew Desjardins, and Kimmo Timonen. All those players will be unrestricted free agents though. Their salary comes off the books. I would love for the Hawks to figure out a way to keep Vermette and Shaw if they can. Patrick Sharp has probably played his last game as a Chicago Blackhawk. This makes me a little sad, but it is a business.
More time for youngsters. Brandon Saad will no doubt garner top dollar as he is inline for a new contract. He needs to take him game to the next level. This will require more ice time. Teuvo Tarovainen will also get more playing time. I think Marcus Kruger should as well. I think Marcus really stepped up his game in the playoffs and should be a dependable player going forward. Trevor Van Riemsdyk should be more of a factor, providing he can stay healthy.
Ryan Hartman is another guy to get excited about. He made some noise in his few games as a Hawk. He and TVR can possibly be the Seabrook and Keith of the future. I know, I know, slow down there big fella. Guys like Keith especially, don’t come around often. Still, I think the arrow is looking up. The Indian Head has a little gleam in his eye for things to come. Summer is here in full force, but soon it will give way to autumn. Hockey will look to dominate the sports talk in a football town. Who’da thunk it?