It's draft week and things could heat up for Hawks
Now, where were we?
The Stanley Cup partying is winding down, players are beginning to scatter for the summer, and it's down to the business of preparing to defend their title for the Blackhawks.
The draft is Friday and Saturday in Los Angeles, and while the Hawks have the last pick in the first round and two choices in the second round, the potential of what could happen away from the draft board should be far more interesting.
Is this the week Hawks general manager Stan Bowman starts dealing with his considerable salary-cap issues for 2010-11, when teams are in full trade mode?
Bowman likely has to find a way to shed between $10 million and $14 million in committed salaries for next season. Getting goalie Cristobal Huet's $5.6 million cap hit off the books some way, some how, would be only a small start to solving the problem.
Depending on which rumors you believe, Huet and defensemen Brian Campbell and Brent Sopel could be the three keys to the Hawks' cap problem. Those three veterans alone have a combined cap hit of approximately $15 million for next season.
Dealing Campbell wouldn't be easy. For starters, he has six years left on his contract for more than $42 million at a time when teams are looking for value and not long-term committed money.
The Hawks wouldn't be the same team without Campbell's speed and puck-moving ability on defense, but with his money and Huet's contract gone there would be a better chance to keep key forwards such as Dustin Byfuglien and Kris Versteeg and more money to re-sign restricted free agents Antti Niemi, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Andrew Ladd.
Bowman has preached patience, but July 1 is around the corner and there could be plenty of Hawks action by then.
News: The NHL awards show is Wednesday in Las Vegas.
View: Duncan Keith is up for the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman along with Washington's Mike Green and the Kings' Drew Doughty.
This is an award based strictly on the regular season, which means Keith still should win in a landslide of votes by hockey writers. Keith was better in the regular season than he was in the playoffs.
News: Hawks sign prospects Marcus Kruger and Mathis Olimb.
View: At the worst this gives the Hawks more depth at forward in the minors, but Kruger could be someone to watch at training camp with his speed and skill.
Kruger is a natural center who had 11 goals and 31 points in 38 games as a 19-year-old for Djurgardens IF in the Swedish Elite League.
Olimb is older (24) and also comes from the Swedish Elite League. He is a former teammate of Dave Bolland's at London in the Ontario League.
News: The Hawks have the 30th pick in the first round of Friday's draft.
View: The Hawks have their first-round pick and two seconds, giving them Nos. 30-43-60. They also have a third-round pick, a fourth, a sixth and two in the seventh round.
In the first round of the last five drafts the Hawks have taken only one defenseman: Dylan Olsen last June. Before that it was Kyle Beach, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Jack Skille.
News: The Hockey Hall of Fame announces its Class of 2010 on Tuesday.
View: The word is Joe Nieuwendyk is a lock and that Eric Lindros might get the call. Neither one does much for me.
What about the older guys? Why are they so quickly forgotten?
What about Doug Gilmour, Adam Oates (sixth all time in assists) and Dino Ciccarelli (608 goals)?
And how is Steve Larmer not in the Hall of Fame?
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