Blackhawks 2013 Offseason Review
Seems like just yesterday that Dave Bolland & Bryan Bickell were scoring the game tying and game winning goals in Game 6.
Didn't Corey Crawford just drop the F-bomb a few hours ago in Grant Park?
It is hard to believe that the offseason is already over and the Blackhawks are taking the ice for the first time Monday, since hoisting the Cup. For those keeping track at home it's been about 2 &1/2 months since the victory in Boston.
A lot had happened over that time. The Hawks have said goodbye to a few, brought back a familiar face and handed out extensions like Oprah used to hand out gifts.
Having hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup twice and scoring the game winner wasn't enough to keep Bolland in Chicago. He was traded to Toronto.
They also said goodbye to Michael Frolik, who assisted on Bolland's game winner. He was sent to Winnipeg to join some fellow former Hawks. His play on the penalty kill will be missed as well as his number 67.
A pair of former Flyers also are no longer in Chicago. Ray Emery decided to return to the city of Brotherly love, while Dan Carcillo was traded to the LA Kings.
The final big piece to leave was Viktor Stalberg. Before the season it seemed like a long shot that he would return to Chicago. However the thought was that the Hawks wouldn't be able to afford him, rather than not really want him. Stalberg was unhappy with his playing time in the playoffs and even resulted in him being inactive. The Hawks will still get to see plenty of Viktor as he signed with division rival Nashville.
Jamal Mayers is not back with the team but hasn't signed elsewhere as of yet, so he might be headed to retirement. He might just be waiting for the right team, possibly the Hawks, to call if their plan A fails or if there is an injury.
Finally the coaching staff lost goaltender coach Stephane Waite. He left the Hawks for the same position with the Canadians.
You Get an Extension
Seriosuly is is hard to keep track of who didn't get an extension this offseason. Coach Joel Quenneville and GM Stan Bowman both received new deals.
Bickell was the first to get a new deal. He took a "home town" discount on his 4-year deal to return to the Hawks. It didn't seem like much of a discount till free agency started and the big money started to get thrown around.
On top of that they gave new money to Crawford and Niklas Hjalmarsson, who were both set to be free agents next summer. Crawford got a new 6-year deal while Hjalmarsson got a 5-year deal.
They also re-signed restricted free agents Nick Leddy and Marcus Kruger as well as bringing back veteran Michal Handzus and Michael Rozsival.
Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin left the Blackhawks in 2009, the year before they won the cup, and now is returning in 2013, the year after they won the cup. Talk about bad timing.
Well Bulin is hoping that he isn't too late to the party and the Hawks can repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Many question is the 40-year old will be able to hold up but he has looked good in camp and as long as nothing happens to Crawford, things should be all right.
There are none. All the players expected to compete for roster spots have seen time in Chicago before. Jimmy Hayes, Brandon Pirri, Jeremy Morin and others have all been with the team before so while they might not have been on the team last year they have been in the organization and have been part of the team in the past.
The only true new faces are goalie Annti Raanta and 2012 first round pick Teuvo Teravainen. Raanta is expected to spend the season in Rockford but could be the first goalie called up incase of injury.
Teravainen is expected to return to Finland this season but could be taking the ice in Chicago this spring, once his season is over. He has looked comfortable and doesn't look out of place in camp. He has even been centering between Patrick Kane & Bickell while Jonathan Toews has been out.
This could truly be a pleasant surprise as it was thought he might be a few years away from contributing.
While most of the names haven't changed on the back of the jerseys, who they will be playing on a nightly basis has. With the new realignment every team will now play every other team in the NHL at home and away. In the past it was either or.
On top of that the Divisions got a shake up. The Hawks say goodbye to Detroit & Columbus and say hello to the Jets, Stars, Wild and Avs. Nashville & St. Louis stayed in the Central with the Hawks as well.
What this means is that while we will still have those late night Pacific start times, fans will see a lot more games with regular Eastern & Central start times. And they will also be trading some of those West coast starts for Mountain time starts.
This will only continue to help the team's rating, which were record setting in the postseason. I know I'll be happy to see more games end before midnight.
Now with the review over, let's start looking ahead to the upcoming season.