Blackhawks News

Let the Par-tay Begin!

By Unknown author

Those are the infamous words of the late great comedian, Bill Hicks. They’re quite fitting since it’s UFA Day in the NHL and my first day as lead writer for BlackhawkUp. Our Hawks have some big holes to fill and I have some big shoes to fill now that Jeff Bartl and his crew have moved on to their own site, Cheer the Anthem. I wasn’t as lucky as Jeff to catch a puck from Mario Lemieux to help kick-start my fandom, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so hopefully I’m up to the task.

Many of you know me as “ChicagoNativeSon” which is my username on other great blogs like SecondCityHockeyHockey Independent, BlackhawksDownLowHockeeNight,and RunsOnDuncan, and from my photoshops posted on Puck Daddy, most recently for the Sharks Eulogy and Nucks Eulogy. If you’re not following these sites already, I suggest you do. I’m sure I’ll be linking to them quite often and relying on them for actual intelligent thought. God help us all.

I know fans are fretting due to the fact it’s the first day of free agency and Michael Frolik, Chris Campoli, and Viktor Stalberg aren’t signed. Don’t worry though.

There’s very little chance the Hawks let Campoli get away as he fits to a tee the Blackhawks philosophy of two-way defensemen. How many other teams had their top shutdown and hitting defender also lead their D in scoring? Brent Seabrook did that last year. Keith, Hjalmarsson and John Scott fit that mold too. Even new acquisition Steve Montador who was brought in for his defensive and shot-blocking abilities is no pylon. He’s consistently averaged 23 points over the past four seasons.

Although Campoli is arbitration-eligible, in no alternate universe would he be awarded enough to make Stan Bowman walk away. It’s also unlikely that another team sends him a QO. Yes, it happened with Hjalmarsson last summer, but it’s actually quite rare. Campoli has stated he wants to remain a Blackhawk and I believe they’ll work something out soon enough, and it’ll be a multi-year deal.

The Hawks and Frolik are probably at different ends of the spectrum regarding his salary. He scored 21 goals in each of his first two seasons with Florida, but couldn’t find the back of the net last year. His agent is pointing to those two seasons as a reason he should get a significant raise and is waiting in hopes that he receives a QO that likely will never come. Frolik is also not arbitration-eligible due to his age, so basically it’s the equivalent of a child pouting because he wants a toy in the store window, even though the shop is closed. The situation suggests that the Hawks will sign Frolik for a one-year extension.

Stalberg is a wild card. Hawks may decide to trade him as part of a package for a big name LW or center, or if they see promise, he’ll be back for about the same price as last year. If he can continue to develop into a more physical player as he did towards the end of last season, Vic will make a good addition to the 4th line. He’s talented enough to fill in for short stints on the top lines and if he ever figures out how to utilize his speed, he could one day find a home there.

So stick around as me and the gang here at BlackhawkUp keep you updated on what promises to be an exciting summer. The Hawks have the cap space and core to put together another Stanley Cup contending team. Here’s looking at you Stan. I like his moves so far.

Believe it or not, I want to hear your opinion! So please leave a comment and follow me on Twitter at @ChiNativeSon.