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Blackhawks’ Latest Moves Far From A “Fire Sale”

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Flickr Photo via BridgetDS

The last few days have seen three more players from the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion squad find their way out of Chicago, all via trade.

As unfortunate as it is, what many fans fail to realize is that the players that were dealt were not exactly key guys. They might have felt like it, since their names are on the Stanley Cup, but take a look at who is left:

  • Jonathan Toews
  • Patrick Kane
  • Patrick Sharp
  • Dave Bolland
  • Marian Hossa
  • Brent Seabrook
  • Duncan Keith
  • Niklas Hjalmarsson

Those guys essentially make up the core of the Blackhawks, save one or two of them. That core is the biggest reason people have been excited about this team the last few years, and it’s a group that finally includes a solid goaltender, that the Blackhawks already locked up, in Corey Crawford.

Could some of those guys the Blackhawks have lost since last summer be an asset to the current team? Absolutely. Andrew Ladd is one example. But as much as everyone loves trade rumors, it’s a pipedream that former Hawks, unless they are named Brent Sopel or John Madden, are coming back this summer or in the near future.

The most overused term associated with the Blackhawks, especially this weekend, is “fire sale”. Trading three players, two bottom six guys and an overpaid defenseman is no fire sale. Last summer was bad. That was a fire sale, and it is exactly what Stan Bowman is trying to prevent from happening again with these recent moves.

Rather than hamper the team like last summer’s financial meltdown did, the moves Stan Bowman made this weekend should benefit the Blackhawks a great deal.

A combination of the increased salary cap and dumping Campbell’s contract on Dale Tallon runs the cap space up to about $14 million for Chicago. That’s almost twice the amount that was expected. Some of that will be used on restricted free agents Chris Campoli and Michael Frolik, as well as a new deal for Patrick Sharp.

But the rest will go towards making improvements to the team to morph them back into a title contender. They’ll be able to make additions to the team that they haven’t been able to afford since Bowman took over. Brad Richards and Steven Stamkos are probably out of reach, but there are other options.

What the Hawks could take a longer look at are guys like Ville Leino or Erik Cole. Both are guys that are capable of playing in the top six group of forwards, but also bring a physical presence that was clearly lacking on the Blackhawks’ top lines last season.

The bottom line is that Bowman has acted in the best interested of the team with these deals. The success or failure of these three recent deals won’t be able to be measured until Bowman is able to add the players he’d like with this new-found financial freedom, but if Blackhawks fans are patient, you will like what you see on July 1st.