Hawk Thought: Could Bobby Ryan be a Blackhawk?


I was going to use today’s “Hawk Thought” to discuss Jonathan Toews and how his recent play confirms the notion that he is not human and is, in fact, something out of a Greek myth, but I simply have to address this.

I’m sure by now most of you have heard the rumors that Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan is on the market. While the validity of these rumors is widely contested, fans from all over have been pitching their trade proposals to get the young forward on their team. And some Hawks fans have been following suit.

For the most part, I agree that the Hawks should have some interest in Ryan. He’s one of the best natural scorers in the game and could really compliment the group of players the Hawks currently have and would probably give them two of the best lines in the NHL.

However, I would argue that the chances of the Hawks actually trading for Ryan are very, very slim.

Not only that, but trading for him isn’t necessarily in their best interest. We can see this if we look at the circumstances the Ducks and the Hawks are in.

The Blackhawks are not in need of scoring. They are in need of defense. It would be pointless to spend assets and cap space on upgrading areas that do not need to be upgraded

The Blackhawks don’t really need Bobby Ryan. It would definitely be nice to have him. But the Hawks don’t have scoring trouble. Yes, they do need another quality top six winger at some point in time but they don’t necessarily need another $5 million dollar guy. There are cheaper options out there and besides, would it not be more prudent to  upgrade other areas first, mainly defense and possibly secondary scoring, before wasting trade assets on a player they don’t need?

Anaheim is in need of offense and looking to improve their secondary scoring. Therefore, it is unlikely they would accept a trade for anything less than two top nine forwards with scoring ability

The Blackhawks don’t really have any expendable assets on their roster that fit the bill. Frolik and Bickell are snakebitten and have little value to a team looking for offense; Bolland’s value to this team is well-documented and should be considered (at least right now) untradeable and Stalberg’s success has largely been a product of playing with talented players. Anaheim would likely want more than what the Hawks have to offer on their current roster.

Its unlikely the Blackhawks can acquire Ryan without either trading away players from their “core” or trading away valuable assets and compromising their cap situation

Unless the Hawks are willing to part with players they consider to be in their “core” (and they shouldn’t be) then its unlikely they can piece together a package of players on their current roster to acquire Ryan. So in order to get him they would have to reach deep into their pockets and put together a deal that would contain a signifcant number of top NHL-ready prospects and/or high draft picks, assets that would otherwise be used in upgrading other areas. Furthermore, if they aren’t trading away salary to acquire Ryan, they are taking on additional salary for 3 years and compromising their future cap situation.

Defense is an area the Hawks need to upgrade, therefore trading defenseman is out of the question

A name that keeps popping up in trade proposals is Niklas Hjalmarsson. But trading a defenseman essentially leaves an additional void to fill. If we all agree that the Hawks need another defenseman, even with the current roster they have, then trading Hjalmarsson (or any defenseman for that matter) means that the Hawks then have to go out and acquire two defenseman. And because they traded for Ryan, they would have less cap space and fewer trade pieces to maneuvre with and thus would not be able to fully upgrade other areas.

Are you starting to see my point?

Its really simple: the Hawks don’t have the pieces the Ducks need (at least not ones they can afford to lose or are willing to part with) nor do the Hawks truly have a need for Ryan.

Now I’m not saying a trade is impossible. The Hawks certainly have the cap space and the assets to make something happen. My point is that a trade is highly, highly unlikely and probably isn’t in the Hawks’ best interests, both short and long term.

And that’s fine. The Hawks already have 4 elite offensive players. They don’t need a 5th. Instead the Hawks need to upgrade other, more struggling areas (defense and secondary scoring)

Thanks for reading and enjoy the game tonight. Go Hawks!

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