I thought, surely by now, I would be able to pump out a juicy "Blackhawks have acquired amazing Player X" by now. But alas, we sit here on July 6th with little news to report.
That's not to say that there isn't a lot of fun Erik Karlsson talk around the interwebs right now.
I joked this morning on Twitter
that lost in all of this that Erik Karlsson is moving as close as possible to his arch nemesis, Mike Hoffman. If EK lands in TB, those will be seriously entertaining "battle for Florida" games.
Also, I had updated yesterday that I had heard, "a lot of moving parts here, but Hawks are aggressively trying to move Hossa's contract (heard that before) to maybe help out a team that is trying to acquire a big contract."
Obviously, this sounded like the Blackhawks were trying to capitalize on a move surrounding Erik Karlsson. As in, if they could unload Hossa's contract (OTT makes some sense), then they could help Tampa Bay out / potentially help themselves out as Steve Yzerman needs to move some money to make this EK thing happen.
I went on to suggest the following as a theory on how this could look:
1) CHI trades Hossa, Forsling and Connor Murphy for Zack Smith : OTT gets a RHD at cost certainty that could slide into their top 4. They also get Forsling who could play this year for them. All this while having CHI take Z. Smith off their hands whom they've been trying to move.
2) CHI trades picks/prospects to Tampa Bay for Anton Stralman: Stralman is a RHD and a UFA after this year. He's a perfect style to play alongside Duncan Keith. With this move, it frees up money for Yzerman to acquire and extend Erik Karlsson.
It's been all NYR or NJ on Twitter and elsewhere that is that pivot 3rd team to help bring this trade together for OTT and TB. However, things could change at any time.
Since there isn't a ton on the docket today, let's roll into my Fast Five Thoughts for this Friday:
1) Erik Karlsson
– all signs are pointing this Tampa and all signs a pointing to this happening very soon. As I laid out above, it would have been great for Stan to maneuverer a couple trades to help himself and the Hawks current state. However, depending on the pieces in this trade for Karlsson, there is still a possibility that OTT still needs to bring the salary back up to hit the floor (Bobby Ryan is $7.25M and Karlsson is $6.5M).
Another thought to consider is that OTT GM Dorion should receive a large haul for EK and look like a genius for dumping Bobby Ryan's contract (if that happens) therefore he could have some breathing room optically to make a move that involved Hossa, as well as some other "really exciting pieces from Chicago" as he continues to revamp this Senators team.
2) Anthony Duclair
– yes, Duclair signed a 1-year / $650k deal with Columbus. No, he would not have signed the same deal with Chicago.
I heard that Chicago was not entirely impressed with him on and off the ice and the team was even warned before they got him. So, that tells me that this always had a potential to be a straight-up Dick Panik salary dump.
I hope he turns it around, but now on his 4th team at the age of 22-years old isn't a great track record.
3) Adam Boqvist
– I was a little surprised as most were when the Hawks announced the signing of 2018 first round pick, Adam Boqvist to his entry-level deal.
This was especially confusing considering the player himself mentioned that he was 3 years away. However, by signing this deal, that would mean the Hawks intend on him playing in 1-2 years.
The truth of it all was that the Hawks obviously see him (see: need him) ready for the NHL sooner than he does. And because of that thinking, they wanted to put him in the best position possible to achieve NHL readiness by then.
Once they signed him they had more control over where he was to play next year. Boqvist lit up the Swedish Jr. league, but when he got to the SHL he was only playing 7 mins/game. The Hawks weren't going to take a chance on that.
I think a big factor of this was that Adam was selected by the London Knights in the CHL import draft. The Hawks (like many teams) love this organization and if he wasn't drafted specifically to Mark Hunter's Knights, I'm not sure the Hawks would have put him in the OHL.
Along with Boqvist, there are 7 players on the London Knights roster that have NHL rights associated with them through either draft or free agency. This will surely change with guys like Robert Thomas (STL), Alex Formenton (OTT) and Cliff Pu (BUF) having a chance to crack their respective NHL teams.
I do think it's a good move and you once Boqvist gets comfortable on the North American ice, he should dominate this league and be in consideration for the OHL Defenceman of the Year award.
4) World Junior Hockey Championship
– I hope this isn't all we're excited about come December but I love this tournament (might even be going this year as I'll be in Vancouver at that time).
The Blackhawks had 5 players last year (Jokiharju, Soderlund, Kayumov, Altybarmakyan, Galvis) which was T-3rd by NHL representation standard. New Jersey has 7 prospects there to lead the way.
The preliminary rosters are coming out and so I made a list of possible Blackhawks candidates to rep their country this year and there is some light at the end of the tunnel, gang!
Ian Mitchell (CAN)
Nicolas Beaudin (CAN)
Jake Wise (USA)
Evan Barratt (USA)
Josh Ess (USA)
Adam Boqvist (SWE)
Henri Jokiharju (FIN)
Niklas Nordgren (FIN)
Phillipp Kurashev (SWI)
That is a possible 9 out of 17 players drafted in the last 2 years. That is a possible 5 different countries represented.
Some may not be the 6'4 / 220 lbs 18-year olds you wanted to see the Hawks draft but there's no denying that Mark Kelley and his scouts do a great job in finding talent.
Not all of those 9 players will be selected but I would expect 5 at least, which would match last year's total.
5) Positive Vibes
– this last one is up to you. There has been way too much negativity towards Stan and this team (I'm guilty of it as well).
So I want you to give me your best trades or signings that would totally change your tune on Bowman, the Hawks and give you a real boast of excitement to see the Hawks in October.