Fresh off the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, in which the Chicago Blackhawks were victorious, focus turns quickly to the off season. One in which will include the bitter reality that the Hawks can’t afford to keep their current roster in tact. Many of the recently signed players are now unrestricted free agents. Which brings me to my topic.
Would you trade one to keep many?
The one would be Corey Crawford. I am probably one of his biggest fans. One of the few who have been speaking up and telling the many they are crazy. I think Corey should have won the Con Smythe trophy. I think he is a top 5 goalie. The reality is, Stan Bowman has the unenviable task of getting rid of some salary to get under the 2015-16 cap. When Patrick Kane went down with a broken collarbone, he was able to trade for a trio of players: Andrew Desjardins, Antoine Vermette, and Kimmo Timonen. Timonen is expected to retire. Desjardins and Vermette were huge parts in the Hawks getting to the Stanley Cup Final and ultimately winning it. Brad Richards, who was a preseason signee, is also a free agent. Brian Bickell and Patrick Sharp are two players expected to be dealt because of their salaries.
Those are the many. Would you trade Corey Crawford and move his salary in order to keep the bulk of the team together? First of all, it would have to be a heck of a deal. Probably trading either Sharp or Bickell and getting back a player and some picks. The Hawks need picks to make up for the ones they gave up for Desjardins, Vermette, and Timonen. There are quite a few teams that definitely need a goalie.
The wildcard in the whole deal is probably Brandon Saad, who the Hawks will have to fork over a lot of cash to retain. The salary cap for 2015-16 went up to $71.4 million but the Hawks have 14 or so players who will take a big chunk of that–without Saad’s pending new deal. Free agency starts on July 1st, so things will be picking up speed shorty.