Question 1: The Blackhawks still need a top-line veteran left wing. Ever since Brandon Saad was traded away the Blackhawks have been trying to fill the gaping hole.
Jonathan Toews‘ play has suffered since Saad departure. The Blackhawks cannot be blamed for not trying to fill the position. They have tried everyone from Ryan Garbutt to Andrew Ladd, yet nobody has worked.
This season they have tried 15 different wingers to play with Toews, who wants some consistency, I think everyone wants some consistency, especially on the left wing.
Question 2: The most appealing matchups are with the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 1st and March 29th. It will be a great measuring stick to see how well the Blackhawks stack up against one of the best teams in the superior Eastern Conference.
It will be a real test for the Blackhawks and their younger players at the beginning and end of the month. The team should be able to judge itself by how much it improved or got worse as the month went on. It is always cool to see Sidney Crosby lose to the Blackhawks.
Question 1: The consensus recently is that Stan Bowman will make a minor move and not disrupt the development of their young players. I look at the salary cap every day and see that the window to win Stanley Cups is getting smaller every year.
I think the combination of Bowman saying he won’t make a move and that players like Ryan Hartman aren’t available is all a ploy to increase their value. Everybody has a price and if packaging Hartman to Colorado means landing a player like Matt Duchene, I think it has to be done now.
If the ’Hawks can make the money work and sell high on young players with upside, my guess is that the trigger will be pulled.
Question 2: The three games I’m really looking forward to are against Eastern Conference teams. March 1st vs. the Penguins, March 14th at the Canadiens and March 31st vs the Blue Jackets.
Games versus the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Canadiens who just made a huge coaching change, and the most improved team in the league in the Jackets are all games the ’Hawks will view as benchmark games for potential Stanley Cup matchups.