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What Will Chicago Do With The Hjalmarsson Offer Sheet?

from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,

The question remains: Do the Hawks have enough cap space to match the offer sheet for Hjalmarsson and sign restricted free-agent goalie Antti Niemi and enough players to fill out a roster?

It would seem as if Hjalmarsson is someone the Hawks can’t let go, a 23-year-old defenseman with a huge upside. Bowman himself recently said the Hawks’ defense, meaning Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Brian Campbell and Hjalmarsson, was the strength of the team.

Niemi has filed for arbitration and his contract demands could be more than what the Hawks believe are reasonable for someone with one year of NHL experience, even though he won the Stanley Cup.

It’s possible the Hawks will let Niemi go to his arbitration hearing and hope for a favorable reward.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: niklas+hjalmarsson

Comments

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Either they’ll match it or they won’t or they lost him or they didn’t.

Posted by Garth on 07/12/10 at 01:25 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Perhaps holding onto him and exploring someone like Turco wouldn’t be the worst way to go. A lot more confidence inspiring putting your money into a proven young defenseman with even more potential, versus a 1-year goalie that rode a decent hot streak to the Stanley Cup.

Posted by SK77 on 07/12/10 at 01:39 PM ET

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Not a bad idea except that Niemi has filed for abitration, so if they go to arbitration and walk away from the deal that is rewarded, they’d lose the Stanley Cup-winning goalie for nothing…

Posted by Garth on 07/12/10 at 03:28 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

...if they go to arbitration and walk away from the deal that is rewarded, they’d lose the Stanley Cup-winning goalie for nothing…

They wouldn’t walk away from the deal. They’d sign him for whatever the award is (probably in the $3M range) and then either trade him or bury him in the AHL like they’re going to do with Huet.

If it’s the latter, how hilarious would that be? Their AHL team would have a goalie tandem making nearly $9M per year while the Hawks goalie tandem of Crawford (at $800k) and Turco or Theodore (at no more than $2M) would be making less than a third of that. I would think that would have to be a first for any NHL team.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/12/10 at 03:48 PM ET

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and then either trade him or bury him in the AHL like they’re going to do with Huet.

The problem with trading him would be that, at least at this point in the off-season, nobody seems to want to invest in goaltending.  If Niemi’s awarded anything over $3.5 (and you have to guess that Niemi’s argument would be based on Halak’s salary), are teams going to want to deal draft picks or prospects for him?  The two most likely dance partners would be San Jose or Philly and you’d have to wonder if Chicago would be willing to deal the Stanley Cup-winning goalie to a rival (who forced their hand with the Hjarlmarsson offer sheet) OR their opponent in this year’s SC Final.

Hell, either being saddled with the contract of sending him to the minors would be hilarious.

Of course, I’m gonna guess that they take the picks on Hjalmarsson and sign Niemi.

Posted by Garth on 07/12/10 at 05:01 PM ET

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Of course, I’m gonna guess that they take the picks on Hjalmarsson and sign Niemi.

And it seems like I wrote this AFTER they announced that they ARE matching the offer sheet…

Posted by Garth on 07/12/10 at 05:09 PM ET

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And wow.  $113K in cap space with 15 players signed…

Posted by Garth on 07/12/10 at 05:10 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

And wow.  $113K in cap space with 15 players signed…

Stan Bowman is being so classy about all of this I almost feel guilty giggling like a schoolgirl every time I think about the Hawks’ situation. Almost. smile

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/12/10 at 06:19 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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