Blackhawks News

Free Agent Targets: Defensemen

By Greg Boysen

The Chicago Blackhawks have a full defensive corp as of now but that doesn’t mean they won’t look to make changes on the blue line.  The top two pairings are locked in with Brent Seabrook, Duncan Kieth, Johnny Oduya and Nick Leddy.  As of now, the 3rd pairing will be Niklas Hjalmarsson and Steve Montador.  The Blackhawks will be paying their 5th and 6th defensemen a total of $6.25 million.  That is a lot of money invested in a 3rd defensive pairing.  That is why the Hawks would love to move both of these guys if possible.  Hjalmarsson will be easier to move since he is younger and under contract for two more years.  His $3.5 million cap hit sounds a lot better after the contract Dennis Wideman just got from the Calgary Flames.  Montador will be a tougher sell considering his age, his recent health issues and the three years left on his contract.  In a perfect world Stan Bowman would be able to unload both of these guys and use Dylan Olsen and a cheap veteran as the 3rd pair.

This year’s unrestricted free agent defensmen are much like the forwards, there isn’t much there.  Ryan Suter is the big prize this summer and I would love to see him in a Hawks uniform.  His uncle Gary Suter played for and a half years in Chicago where he play along side Chris Chelios.  Suter would make the Blackhawks an elite defensive team, but I don’t see any scenario where he comes here.  I would be shocked if he goes anywhere besides Pittsburgh or Detroit.

There are a few solid veteran defesnsemen the Hawks can bring in on a one year deal to be a 6th or 7th defenseman.  Guys like Pavel Kubina, Michael Rozsival and Fillip Kuba are all on the wrong side of 30 put could work for a season here in Chicago.  If the Hawks are looking to lock someone up for a couple of years a guy like Matt Carle or Bryan Allen could fit the bill.  I would much rather have Carle on the 3rd pairing than Hjalmarsson.  There are some interesting restricted free agents if the Blackhawks, or and other team want to extend any offer sheets.  Shea Weber, Mike Green, Kyle Quincy, Erik Johnson, Michael Del Zotto and PK Subban are all RFA’s.  Am I the only one who wants Nashville to lose both Suter and Weber?

I still can’t figure out if the Blackhawks are going to make any serious moves in free agency.  I hope they are not satisfied with the team as it is right now.  They need to make some changes to mix it up a bit.  Sunday will be a crazy day around the league and I hope the Blackhawks make a headline or two.