June 25, 2008 |
Watch out for
Chicago Blackhawks will be among the teams to watch come July 1,
says TFP Editor-in-Chief David Pagnotta.
ON] -- With so much attention put on the New York
Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins
these days, people seem to be forgetting about one of
the league's brightest up-and-coming teams.
With Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane leading the way, the
Chicago Blackhawks are going to be a very dangerous team next
Providing Martin Havlat remains healthy, Patrick Sharp
continues to shine and Nikolai Khabibulin stays on his head,
Blackhawks fans have plenty to look forward to.
As good as they are now, the Hawks could look even more
dangerous by mid-July.
Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon and his staff will be quite active
once July 1 rolls around. Atop their priority list is a
puck-moving defenseman. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook were
solid in Chicago's back-end, but the team wants to add a
proven offensive-minded blueliner.
San Jose Sharks defenseman Brian Campbell is expected to hit
the open market on Tuesday and could command in between $6
million and $7 million per season. While the Sharks are still
trying to sign Campbell, and their GM (Doug Wilson) continues
to speak with agent Larry Kelly on a regular-basis, the
Blackhawks will lead a group of teams knocking on Campbell's
Blackhawks are extremely interested in Campbell and will
pitch him a significant offer as soon as they have the
opportunity to do so.
to sources close to Campbell, the veteran defenseman has
a lot of interest in playing for the Blackhawks, despite
reports suggesting he wants to stay in the Eastern
same time, however, Campbell's also keen on re-signing
with the Sharks if the right offers comes along.
If Campbell becomes unavailable, or if another club blows him
away with a huge offer, the Blackhawks will shift their focus
to New York Rangers blueliner Michal Rozsival and Montreal
Canadiens defenseman Mark Streit. It doesn't look like the
Blueshirts will re-sign Rozsival, while the Habs are
interested in keeping Streit even though he's going to test
It's been reported that another target will be Wade Redden of
the Ottawa Senators, but sources suggest the Hawks have set
him as their Plan D.
Even more interesting than the Blackhawks' interest in
Campbell is their recent infatuation with Marian Hossa.
The Pittsburgh Penguins pitched Hossa a five-year offer,
contrary to a seven-year deal, worth just over $7 million per
season, but the sniper has decided to field offers from other
teams next week.
With reports suggesting the Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks,
New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and Canadiens will go after
Hossa, the Blackhawks have been quietly waiting in the
Will they pounce? You betcha!
According to a league source, the Blackhawks are one of the
teams Hossa has expressed an interest in playing for.
Tallon must figure out a way to fit his expected salary ($8
million) under their cap. The Hawks are not going to bring
back the likes of Jason Williams, Kevyn Adams and Yanic
Perreault, which will free up some space, and ownership is
apparently willing to let Tallon acquire the necessary players
in order to get the team into the playoffs in 2008-09.
The Blackhawks are most definitely interested in both Hossa
and Campbell. Whether the team can fit both of them under the
cap is another story. The team might be forced to pick between
the two, and they may choose in favor of the Slovakian sniper.
Acquiring either Hossa or Campbell would drastically improve
Chicago's chances next season. Imagine seeing Kane, Toews and
Sharp on the first line, and Hossa, Havlat and Robert Lang as
the club's next attacking unit? That's a very dangerous
When I visited the Hawks this past season, it became quite
evident that hockey fever is back in the city. Fans in Chicago
are alive again and giving them the opportunity to watch a
contender is long overdue.
While it's always hard to predict which teams will be able to
sign certain players, the Blackhawks will have plenty of
options ahead of them.
Whichever direction the Blackhawks take, they'll be a
competitive squad come October.
David Pagnotta is the Editor-in-Chief of The Fourth Period Magazine and covers the Toronto Maple Leafs and the NHL for TheFourthPeriod.com. He is also a contributing writer for NBCSports.com and MSNBC.