It is obvious that the Blackhawks are not going to add much in the free agent market. Signing Shane Doan to a multi year contract just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If general manager Stan Bowman wants to improve this team he will have to do it via a trade or two. The Hawks have some nice trade bait with defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, whose contract looks rather appealing these days. Hjalmarsson can get a decent return but you can make a real blockbuster if you package him with Viktor Stalberg.
Stalberg is coming off the best season of his career and his trade value is at an all time high. His $875K cap hit makes him a bargain as well. His contract will expire after this upcoming season. If he scores at least 20 goals again he will be in line for a huge raise. Look at the contract the Tampa Bay Lightning just gave to Teddy Purcell. Purcell just got a 3 year extension worth $4.5 million per season. Purcell had a career high 65 points and scored 24 goals, the first time he scored over 20 in his career. If Stalberg puts up another 20 plus goals, you have to think it would take a similar contract to keep him here in Chicago. Don’t forget, the contracts for both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are both up in 2015 and Dave Bolland will be a free agent in 2014. The Hawks will still be paying Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook at this time too. Stalberg had a great season and can be a really good player but he is expendable. Trading him now will insure getting something in return for him as opposed to Stalberg leaving via free agency. Signing him to a big money contract will mean having to lose at least one of the players mentioned above. I would not take Stalberg over any of those players, no matter what he does this season.
There are a lot of names flying around the trade rumor mill these days. Guys like Bobby Ryan, Evander Kane, Thomas Plekanec and Brandon Dubinsky might all be available. A package that includes Stalberg and Hjalmarsson is a really good start in landing any one of those players. A good stock broker will tell you that you have to sell high and Stalberg’s value may never be higher than it is right now.
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