A Quick Guide to the Events of the Weekend

Hey everyone! I hope that you had a nice time! It was an interesting weekend for the Blackhawks, and I wanted to give ya’ll my take on it real fast.


Ben Smith is Back! I absolutely loved this. Ben Smith really made himself a name on the Blackhawks this year. What I love about him is how versatile he is. Smitty cut his teeth on the 4th line this year playing solid defense, but also giving it some much needed offensive edge. He also played on lines 2 and 3, where maintained that defensive talent while showing that he can play offense with the big boys. I though him and Kaner had really nice chemistry together, though personally I would like to see the two of them on different lines. I like Smitty as a 2nd or a 3rd liner to have his considerable defensive acumen while giving it more offence. Maybe later on in his career as he continues to develop he can move up, but good and cheap 3rd and 4th liners are what can make a hockey team, and I’m glad to have Smitty. OH! I forgot about the money! I was guessing that he comes in at 1.5-2 million, and we got him for 1.5. I’m a fan.


Raaaaaaaaaanta We brought back Raanta as well. I was a fan of this. Raanta has a lot more development to go, but I think that the goalie market is very lean, so I’m glad we secured a backup who isn’t 523952 years old (shot at Khabi there). Also, $750k is a great price for him. I think that Raanta has a high ceiling (we saw glimpses of this when he pulled our bacon out of the fire in the first half of the year when Crow and Khabi went down with injuries) and I’m excited to see him develop. One last thing, I know a lot of people wanted him at Rockford this year to develop, and while I agree that would do him a world of good, when it comes to a backup goaltender I think the devil you know beats the devil you don’t.


GIVE ME MO! I was super excited that we re-signed Jeremy Morin. I think he has tremendous upside and is going to go far in the NHL. I love his on ice vision, his shot, and his 62.6% CF. He makes players around him better, and I think eventually he’ll be a top-6 forward in the NHL. Also, 800k is a great price for him. I am worried that he’ll be sitting in the press box a lot, and I really hope the Hawks finally give him the chance he deserves.


WE TRADED BOLLIG!!! Oh. My. God. I was starting to wonder if this day would ever come. But then two things that are constants came through for us. The first is that Stan Bowman is a genius. I mean, a third round pick for Bollig?! The second is Brian Burke’s propensity for meathead forwards. I love it! I have nothing against Bollig personally. Actually, that’s not true. Attacking your fans on Twitter is pretty awful for a professional athlete, but I digress. I don’t like him as a player, and I hated his extension, but now that’s not an issue. A good day indeed.


Stan Bowman is Awesome He really is. Not only did he re-sign 3 valuable players for 3.05 million, but he managed to get a third round draft pick for Bollig. And I liked the way he drafted too. I know that some people aren’t a fan of Schmaltz, but he has high upside, and we have enough talent in the system to see how he develops. And I was fine with the rest of the draft too. Stan Bowman, you are a friggin genius!



A (Rather Late) Offseason Primer, Part 3

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T LEAVE ME!!!! or let’s resign Kane and Toews: Okay, dramatic title aside, we need Kane and Toews. They are two of the top talents in the league. They are young. They are the best things that have ever happened to The Chicago Blackhawks. They are the most dynamic 1-2 punch in hockey (if you disagree with me, well, you’re wrong). They win cups.

We need them.

Good news: We are almost certain to get them back. Both of them have said about a gazillion times they want to come back to Chicago (though, to be fair, Toews always seems more gung-ho about it than Kane does).

Bad news: We don’t want to become the new Pittsburgh Penguins. We need money to spend on our bottom six, plus defensemen and goaltenders. There was a while that people were throwing around the number of 12.5 million apiece as the cost to keep them, which would be a problem. Say that the year those extensions went into effect the cap raised to 75 million dollars. This would mean that Kane and Toews would take up a third of the salary cap. If the cap doesn’t raise that much, it would be an even larger percentage.  To those of you who aren’t good with money, take my word for it, that’s a lot. Too much. And the cap might not get raised that much, which would make it an even larger percentage. I don’t know what Bowman would do if they stood by their guns on it. I don’t want to know.

TL:DR We need Kane and Toews to resign. Let’s hope it comes in at 8.5-10 apeice.

One last note: I like the way that the organization is set up right now. A lot. There is a lot of talent on the team, and when some contracts go up that won’t be resigned (I don’t think Kruger and Shaw and Bickell get resigned, but that’s the topic for another day) there are players like Teuvo, Danult, McNeill, Carey, and Hartman to pick up the slack. This team is gonna compete for years to come. Grab a beer and enjoy, it’ll be fun!

A (Rather Late) Offseason Primer, Part 2

Earlier today I covered defense.  Now I’m gonna cover pretty much everyone else.  I’m gonna save two for later though.

What a Hoss: Marian Hossa is really, really talented. He’s a big part of why The Red Wedding Line is so good. We here at Graduate Blackhawks believe he should have won the Selke this year (by we I mean me btw) since he routinely made opposing players look foolish.

He’s also really expensive, and will be for the considerable future. 2021 to be exact. There is no way of knowing if he will be worth it for that long. But none of this matters, his cap hit, contract term and age make it almost impossible to ship him off. So pray that he remains on of the top forwards in the league for a long, long time.

Give Me Mo (gosh these titles are getting bad): I have to say, I’m on the Jeremy Morin bandwagon. Why? Cause he’s got a killer instinct. He’s got great on ice vision and hockey sense. Because of his pug nose (wait, what?!). Because his 5 on 5 corsi is 62.6%. Because he can score. I’ll keep this simple. Resign him, put him on a line with some offensive minded players, and watch the sparks fly. He may get scored on some times, but hey, he’s gotta learn. I worry that Q is gonna be cranky and not play him, but everything I’ve heard makes it seem like they’ll give him a chance. As reported here, Q said “I just think Mo really, I think he progressed this year. He didn’t get much of a chance in the playoffs, but I think that Mo has a good ability to score goals. He’s got the unpredictability offensively that, it’s a nice trait to have. It’s the unpredictability of being consistent and defensively being reliable that, putting that all together is what we’re looking for. And he gets that, the last couple of those things tightened up, you know, I think Mo could grow as a player and all of a sudden his opportunity could be enhanced. But there’s potential there. I like the way he competes and offensively he’s got some nice traits as well.” Typical Q, being not committing to anything.

Teuvo Time: Keeping this one short. He’s gonna be good. Real friggin good. Like, big part of the future of the franchise good. Don’t, for the love of God, trade him. Or Saad.

Goaltender Bender!!! (I’m struggling with these titles): For all you Crawford haters, grab a brown paper bag and breath into it: He’s staying. For the long term. I think he could get traded at some point, but something younger and better has to come along, and it won’t for a while.

As for Raanta, I’m guessing he comes back. He’s a super guy, evidently loved in the locker room, and got us out of a tough jam early in the season, but he’s not the best backup around. Problem is, I don’t see a better option. The good thing is, I think he has the potential to be as good a backup as there is, and even a good starter.

Nikolai Khabibulin: Hahahahahahahaha no.

David Runblad: Seriously, I don’t know whats going on here. Bowman must see something in him. I’d like to see it soon as well, but I don’t really matter, now do I?

Peter Regin (I’ve just started saying peoples names now. Titles are hard): First of all, I love Peter Regin. He doesn’t score often, but he doesn’t have to. He goes hard to the net (something the Hawks, aside from Shawzer, seemed unwilling to do this year, but I digress), plays good hockey, and I like his possession numbers (55.2% CF).

A Thorny Issue (Thorns are Sharp… oh forget it, I’m tired): This one is tough. Sharpy is really talented, but on the wrong side of 30 and his name is being thrown around. I don’t buy it. He is on the wrong side of 30, but I think he’ll be able to play out his contract at a high level. The city loves him. He’s really good looking (wait what?). I think he stays.

Lets “Kesler” Something Up (worst one yet): I want Kesler. He’s cheap, talented, and takes the pressure off of Teuvo to perform right away. Seriously though, a top six of Sharp-Toews-Hossa, Saad-Kesler-Kane is sexy as all getup. I don’t, with Keslers age and injury history want to give up Saad and/or Teuvo. I don’t think its likely, but maybe we could do Shaw, Bickell and a prospect for him. Or maybe throw Oduya in there for one of them. I love Shaw and Bickell, but there is enough talent in the system to make up for their loss. I mean, seriously, how sexy is that top six?

Another wrench in the engine is the idea that we would have to trade Sharp for him. That is being thrown around, and and it could make some sense. I still think we should try and move bottom 6 players, but teams might not buy it. Anyway, it’ll be an interesting few days.

Ben Smith: He can do a little of everything, and he’s still going to only get better. A must to resign.

Bollig and Versteeg: Everyone knows what I’m gonna say. I’d like to get rid of them, but I don’t see how it happens. Maybe to sweeten a deal. Hell, at this point I’d trade them for a 5th rounder, or even considerations, just to get their money.

All stats came from www.extraskater.com (which is godly) and all the cap numbers came from www.capgeek.com (which is just as godly).

Tomorrow, I address the big one, KANE AND TOEWS! Should be fun.  Thanks for reading!

A (Rather Late) Offseason Primer, Part 1

So this blog got started rather late, and as such the offseason primer is rather late.  Anywho… here goes!  It’ll be divided into three parts: Defensemen (what I think needs to be shaken up the most),  Kane and Toews, and everyone else.

Defensemen Carrousel: The ugly truth from this last year is that our defense wasn’t as good as it was in our Stanley Cup run. Last year the team allowed 2.02 goals a game (the best in the NHL), and was second in the NHL in scoring. In the postseason, it was 2.09, which was good for 4th in the NHL. This year the numbers weren’t as good as they were, with a 2.58 in the regular season and a 2.9 in the playoffs. Yes it was good, but we’re from Chicago! The City of Broad Shoulders! The Monsters of the Midway!   We love defense! It wins championships! So lets get some new guys in there.

We have three guys in the AHL (Stephen Johns, Adam Clendening, and Klas Dahlbeck) who could either make the jump right now or do it soon. By the way, just for laughs watch this hit that Johns puts on a BC player.  It’s amazing.  Plus we have to shed salary to make room for our dynamic duo, to extend Saad, etc. I like our forward group, (Versteeg and Bollig aside), but I have more problems with our defensemen.   Leddy had a rough playoffs (this seems to be a thing), but he’s still young, fast, a puck mover, and he made big strides this year, so I say keep him. Rozy I would trade, but I don’t think anyone would want him. Niklas Hjalmarsson is one of the absolute best defensemen in the league and no one knows it. Duncan Keith is the best defenseman in the league and everyone knows it.

Oduya and Seabrook are more interesting though. Oduya needs to go. He’s good, and was bomb-diggity in the playoffs last year, but he’s got to go. I want his money (to give to other people, not keep for myself, but that would be nice). This year he made many more defensive errors, and generally wasn’t as effective. While he did make a number of fantastic defensive plays this year, it was usually because he had just made a bad play and had to throw up a prayer to stop it, and oftentimes they lead to goals. We have enough talent waiting in the wings, it’s time to give them a chance. Young and cheap is always, always a good thing. So let’s trade Oduya! We could probably get some good draft picks for him considering how lean the UFA market is in defensemen this year.

Seabrook is more interesting. He’s declining, there is no doubt of that. I want to trade him before the bloom goes off the rose (funny side note, when proofreading this my girlfriend thought this meant losing his virginity, and she was confused). Plus, he makes SO MUCH MONEY! Money we could give to talented, younger players! But he is still Brent Seabrook, and we could get a great return for him. There is a wrench in the plan though, as brought up in a recent Cheer the Podcast… who replaces him? I don’t know, which is of course the answer you want from a blogger, isn’t it! I think we have to shop him, and see what kind of a return we could get. It’s a sellers market, so lets dip our toe in the water.

Later today I’ll be posting Part 2 of this series, with Part 3 coming tomorrow.  Enjoy!