by Vince Maranto on 04/26/12 at 05:00 PM ET
Being a recovering Cubs fan for many, many years now, I am ALL too familiar with the phrase, “Wait ‘til next year.” Chicago folks have heard that far too many times in every sport, and I in particular, am sick of hearing it. BEFORE we get to next year, I’d like to address some things the Hawks need to do…..
The Hawks have 2 very capable back up goaltenders. Crawford, although he played well in regulation during the series, and did win 30 games in the season, is not the shut down type of goalie required to take you into the finals. Sophomore slump? I say no. The Blues have 2 of those “next level” net minders. I know that trades within a division are rare and tough, so where else. Ryan Miller? He did show signs of not being what he once was, at times this year. The unproven kid at Rockford Carter Hutton? Long shot at best. Carey Price? I don’t know, but something has to be done. This city has a very short memory, and those nightly sell outs at the United center could end very quickly, following 2 “one and done” Play Off series.
The Hawks have 4 top 6 forwards in my opinion. Toews, Sharp, Kane & Hossa. Mix and match any 2 with Toews and your first line is set. Drop down the remaining forward and THERE IT IS, you need a legitimate 2nd line center. Bowman came out and said he thought Kane did a great job centering the second line. I disagree. Maybe as a band aid from time to time in the regular season, but he IS NOT a Play Off, 2nd line center. His face off % alone is ridiculous. The guy is an All Star winger, leave him there. There is also a need for another 2nd line winger, in my opinion. Will last years high Draft Pick, Brandon Saad, be mature enough for that spot yet, who knows?
Now. let’s jump to the 3rd line. Bolland and Shaw, great, couldn’t ask for more. If Viktor Stalberg, with his speed, could use his size to check (legally), this line would be really be great. A checking line with three, 20 goals scorers on it. ( This year we had, Bolly with 19, Shaw with 12 in 37 games, and Stalberg with 22 goals). If Stalberg can’t cut it, then to the 4th line with him, or use him as trade bait, NOW, coming off his 22 goals. I almost forgot Daniel Carcillo. Should he return with his knee at 100%, is he the other winger? If not, where does he fit in?
Your 4th line, Hayes, Ben Smith (remember him), Frloik, Kruger, Bickell, Bollig, Pirri? I don’t know. There’s some decent trade bait there to consider.
To recap the forwards, a legitimate 2nd line center MUST be a priority.
I still like Keith & Seabrook as the number one pairing. Oduya, Leddy & Hjalmarrson were the only constants at the end of the year & the play offs. Maybe Dylan Olsen? Brain Connelly was traded from Rockford in the Morrison (1 point as a Hawk, good going) so he’s out. We’ll have to see what their plans are there. Another vet or two, with a one year contract?
I would be surprised if we see Lepisto, O’Donnell, Brunette, Montador and Mayers back in the Hawks sweater next year. But then again, what do I know….
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