With Michal Handzus Out, What Is This Different Direction?

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June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announces a trade between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins for the eighth overall pick at the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Free Agent acquisition/Trading for a new player

As I had said earlier the salary cap and budget restraints of resigning Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will have the biggest implications in what direction the Chicago Blackhawks head with their second line center in the 2014-2015 season. As Stan Bowman made it clear at the end of the year, he has set aside the resigning of the two players as his #1 priority this offseason. Most likely so the Blackhawks know where they will be sitting financially when the Free Agent market opens July 1. The list of free agents to hit the market July 1 has a lot of talented names on it but what will those players be looking for? Will it simply be a pay raise or the opportunity to compete for the Stanley Cup? Is there a team that might be looking to also part ways with one of their teammates in a search for a new direction?

Last season following the Stanley Cup win, the Chicago Blackhawks parted ways with a few teammates but kept everything else relatively the same. Some wondered if that would be enough to make a push for a second consecutive cup. Well things might be a little different this time around following an exit from the playoffs during the Western Conference Championship. Do not rule out some type of trade that could move one of the Blackhawks so called “core” players in an effort to try and move in a different direction this coming season. A trade of this type could potentially free up some of our salary problems that may arise and also bring some new life to this team.

The rumors and talks surrounding the Chicago Blackhawks have three viable options but they will not come cheap. Ryan Kesler (5 million cap hit), Jason Spezza (7 million cap hit), and Joe Thornton (7 million cap hit) are the three players that have been brought up the most so far. Each being talked about for the main reason we need them, they are strong and consistent centers who are great defensively. Each of the 3 players would be selected as any other team’s first line center but the way the Blackhawks would try to stack their lines, their top 6 would look like 2 complete first lines.

We will have to wait until July 1 before we can actually see any moves made. So the Chicago Blackhawks fans will just have to rely on trade rumors and speculations until that Toews & Kane deal is done and we know what kind of cash situation they will be in. For one thing we do know is the direction that they go will be a new one, excluding forward Michal Handzus. Thanks for the run Zus,’ it was fun while it lasted!

In what direction do you think the Chicago Blackhawks will find a suitor for their second line center? Please leave your thoughts on what you think they may do in the comments section below!

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