We've entered August. This means hockey season is beginning to ramp up. Teams are beginning to finalize their rosters, players are working out daily to show out and try to be better than last year, and the rumor mill has slowly died down. The Blackhawks have had the odd name tossed around in news over the last couple of weeks, and in this article I'll mention those, along with some personal thoughts as the off-season enters the more boring side of it.
Toews Not Happy With Idea of Rebuild
The Blackhawks are very clearly not going to contend this season, and fans are coming to terms with what will be a sad, angering season for the team. This is all part of the plan Kyle Davidson has laid out. Moving out Dach and Debrincat, drafting three players in the first round of the 2022 draft and not being too aggressive in free agency are moves that he believes will help the Blackhawks in the future. Unfortunately, long time Blackhawk captain Jonathan Toews doesn't see it this way.
""At the end of the day, we’re talking about a five-plus-year process...that part of it doesn’t sound appealing to me at all""- Jonathan Toews
I won't be surprised whatsoever if the Blackhawks have to retain up to 50% of Toews' $10.5M cap hit if he's moved this season. There has got to be interest in a guy that knows his role, is a leader on and off the ice, and can still play at a relatively high intensity level at the age of 34. Adrian Dater, a writer for Colorado Hockey now wonders if Toews could be a legitimate replacement for Nazem Kadri.
""..wonder if Toews might waive that clause to come to the defending Stanley Cup champions who might – might – have an opening at second-line center?""- Adrian Dater - Colorado Hockey Now
Brian Boyle Still Wants To Play, Should the Hawks Inquire?
Brian Boyle has stated he wants to play in the 2022-23 season. He may have to settle for a PTO with any team that decides to take a chance on him, and work his way on to a team just like he did with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Boyle, who is 37, played 66 games with the Pens last year, and had 21 points.
Personally, I'm a huge fan of bringing in Boyle. I'm obviously a bit biased, but when you break it down, there's no real reason not too. I've mentioned on multiple occasions that the Hawks need to bring in veterans to help their younger core of guys in a struggling season, and keep them dialed in. Boyle likely would only be making $700k on a 1 year deal, so there's no risk and a high reward if he fits well, and can put up another 20 point season while playing in the bottom 6.
Where will Kane End Up?
There were some serious rumors going around recently that the Blackhawks were actively shopping Patrick Kane. Those rumors have since been shut down, but the likelihood of Kane eventually being dealt still remains high. The Stars and Rangers have been connected to him in the past, as have the Avalanche. All of those teams are appealing to Kane for sure, but it's really a toss up as to where he will go in the end.
I wouldn't count out Kane wanting to go to Buffalo. He was born there, so it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he either got traded there, or signed there after the season was over. The Sabres are becoming a strong team and will likely be contending before the Hawks, so I wouldn't put it past them to try and make something work.
I wonder if the Oilers or Red Wings would try to make a move. The Red Wings went out and stacked up, but you can never have too much fire power. The Oilers inquiring about Kane makes sense, and they have the pieces to do it, but it's a long shot with how tight they are for money. Kane together with McDavid would also give them a really good shot at a Stanley Cup.