Blackhawks stand pat at the deadline

ct-spt-0113-haugh-blackhawks-chicago--20130113-001Well, the NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and the Blackhawks’ only move of significance (if you want to call it that..) was acquiring Michal Handzus from the San Jose Sharks on Monday. Other than that, they made a couple of small deals involving some minor league prospects. The rest of the contenders in the NHL, however, were rather active.

Let’s start by listing some of the players acquired by contending teams at, or before this year’s trade deadline:

  • Pittsburgh Penguins: Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrow, Jussi Jokinen, and Douglas Murray.
  • Boston Bruins: Jaromir Jagr and Wade Redden.
  • Vancouver Canucks: Derek Roy
  • Columbus Blue Jackets: Marian Gaborik
  • Minnesota Wild: Jason Pominville
  • New York Rangers: Ryan Clowe, Derick Brassard, and Derek Dorsett.
  • Anaheim Ducks: Matthew Lombardi

Those are not all the deals that were made, but the significant ones. As you can see, most contenders made some bold moves to strengthen their teams in the last few days, especially Pittsburgh and Boston.

Meanwhile, Stan Bowman went out and got Michal Handzus, who was a healthy scratch for San Jose the last 6 games before being traded. I hate to rip on Handzus, but the guy is really not going to make a big difference for the Hawks. Other than his ability to win faceoffs, he provides little else to the team. If you compare that acquisition to any of the ones I listed above, it seems very insignificant.

Teams like Anaheim, who have proven that they will give the Hawks all kinds of problems if they meet in the playoffs, legitimately got better. The Ducks traded for center Matthew Lombardi today who was with the Coyotes. Lombardi is not a big name or an elite player in the league, but he is a guy who when placed on a team with a lot of talent (like the Ducks) can be an effective depth player.

It would appear that the biggest reasons the Hawks did not make any significant trades were because Bowman did not want to break up the team chemistry, and he didn’t want to trade away any “decent” prospects.

How long is it going to take Bowman to realize that you need to be willing to trade away some prospects to get a good player in return? He has overvalued his “prospects” since the day he took over as GM of the Blackhawks, and it is going to come back to haunt him come playoff time, again. You, Bowman, cannot sit there and tell me that you could not have gotten Derek Roy or Jaromir Jagr.

The Canucks got Roy in exchange for a prospect and second round pick. The Bruins got Jagr for 2 prospects and a conditional second round pick. If Bowman is not willing to give up a prospect and draft pick in an attempt to really make his team better, than what good is he doing? If his plan is to wait 3-5 years for all of his “prospects” and draft picks to blossom into their full potential, then that plan better work, or else he just possibly blew away another chance at making a Cup run. Instead of going for it this year and adding a quality player/center to a team that could really use one, he is banking on the potential of his prospects 3 years down the road. At some point, Stan, you have to look at here and now and make a move accordingly.

The Blackhawks have some noticeable holes in their lineup, and only one was slightly covered up (faceoffs). I still think that they should make it to at least the second round this year in the playoffs, but the postseason is a whole different animal compared to the regular season. Teams are going to take advantage of the Hawks’ lack of size and potential weaknesses on the back end.

I guess the bottom line here is that Bowman could have improved his team, but instead chose to overvalue and hang on to any decent prospect in the organization, which is what it takes in this league to complete a trade…

The next Hawks’ game is tomorrow night at home against the Blues. Hossa is expected back in the lineup, but Sharp is still doubtful.

Hours from the NHL trade deadline

We are 5 hours from the NHL trade deadline, but most of the big trades have already happened (Morrow, Iginla, Roy, Jagr). All eyes will be on Mikka Kiprusoff and Roberto Luongo today, as it is believed the Maple Leafs are pushing hard to acquire one of them.

The Blackhawks may not make anymore moves after trading for Handzus. They did make a minor deal involving Philippe Paradis going to the Lightining’s minor league team, which opens up a roster spot in the organization. This could mean that the Hawks might make a move today, but no one really seems to know for sure.

I will try to write an updated post after the deadline. Check back.

Blackhawks acquire Michal Handzus from Sharks

handzus-10-8-225x300TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported this afternoon that the Blackhawks had traded a fourth round draft pick to San Jose in exchange for center Michal Handzus. As I said here before and as was made obvious by the Blackhawks themselves, they really wanted to address their faceoff issues by acquiring a center who can win at the dot on a consistent basis.

Handzus, who is listed as 6’5″, 215 lbs., has won 55.6% of his faceoffs this year, which immediately makes him the second best guy at doing so on the Hawks’ roster. As for Handzus’ stats, they are not great to say the least. He has 1 goal and 1 assist this year, both of which came in the same game earlier this season (it was actually a game against the Hawks).

I’m not sure that Handzus is the number 2 center that the Blackhawks and us fans were looking for, but he adds depth and another option at the center position. It is unclear as to what line he will play on, but I can almost assure you that he will center their second powerplay group. With his ability to win faceoffs and his large body, he is a perfect guy to insert into that number 2 powerplay unit. I’d have to imagine that he will be used in front of the net to screen the goalie and clean up the rebounds.

Aside from his faceoff percentage and inevitable role on the second powerplay grouping, Handzus provides some much needed size to the Hawks’ lineup. His 6’5″ frame makes him the tallest guy on the Hawks and a tough guy to play against. I think that his physical stature will really become noticeable come playoff time.

TRADE RUMOR

I read earlier today that the Blackhawks were talking to Dallas about possibly making an offer for Jaromir Jagr. Like with Derek Roy, it sounds like the Stars want a prospect, draft pick, and roster player in return for Jagr. That’s a lot to give up, but if the Blackhawks think that it will be worth it for Jagr, he would be a huge addition to the lineup. This is only a rumor, so who knows what will happen in the next 48 hours.

Keep checking back here for any updates.