Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/28/14 at 05:31 PM ET
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
So now we move from draft mode to free agency mode, and there are some teams that have work to do between now and when the market opens for unrestricted free agents on July 1.
St. Louis Blues
Got to hand it to Blues GM Doug Armstrong, he isn't afraid to get back on the horse after taking a tumble. The Blues, of course, made a significant splash at the trade deadline in acquiring former Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller from Buffalo, but Miller wasn't the answer as the St. Louis blew a 2-0 series lead against Chicago and were knocked out in the first round. It's easy to blame Miller, who struggled late in the series, but the real issue was the Blues stopped scoring. To that end, Armstrong is looking to upgrade down the middle, which means looking at Spezza and soon to be free agent Paul Stastny. If he can land a top pivot to share time with David Backes, the Blues should be back in the mix in the Central Division again next season.
The Blackhawks came achingly close to advancing to a second straight Stanley Cup finals but were beaten in overtime in Game 7 at home by eventual Cup winner Los Angeles. Soon after, GM Stan Bowman told veteran Michal Handzus that he wasn't part of the team's plans moving forward, and the Hawks began their own search for a second-line center to play behind Jonathan Toews. The Blackhawks have cap issues and the debate has been what pieces would Bowman have to shed to acquire a guy like Spezza or to sign Stastny? Tough decisions ahead for a team that remains an early 2015 Stanley Cup favorite.
read on for the Senators, Wings, Sharks, Predators and Coyotes...
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