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Let me preface this by saying I honestly don't expect to see much out of the Blackhawks in free agency this year. Their biggest concerns are internal, what with guys like Dave Bolland and Kris Versteeg being RFA's. The biggest issue for the Hawks will be whether or not Martin Havlat will agree to come back on a one year deal. If he does, they'll pretty much return the same team as last year. If he doesn't, they'll have a bit of money to play with, in which case I'd like to see them make a run at Mike Cammalleri or maybe John Madden. The Hawks biggest challenge will be trying to improve on a team that reached the Western Conference Finals while keeping enough cap space to sign Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith to extensions.
This is exactly our luck in Chicago. We finally have ownership in place that would be willing to spend money like the Red Wings used to, and we're stuck laboring under this goddamned salary cap.
1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team's sweater in the 09-10 season?
Looking at the list, I'm not really afraid of any particular player as much as their potential contract. The Hawks pressing issue will be signing role players to contracts that don't impact their cap situation in such a way that it costs them guys like Toews, Kane, Keith or Brent Seabrook down the line. While that seems like a no-brainer, keep in mind that GM Dale Tallon has a history of giving role players like Brent Sopel (3 years, $2.3M per) and Dustin Byfuglien (3 years, $3.5M per) oversized extensions. This tendancy, along with Joel Quenneville's affection for defenseman like Matt Walker who are known for "toughness" and nothing else puts a bit of a scare into me. Walker wasn't good, but at least he only made $500K last year. My nightmare is that the Hawks for some reason decide to go after a "marquee" physical (read: big stiff) defenseman who just won the Stanley Cup: Hal Gill.
Let me tell you something about Hal Gill: he sucks. He's terrible. He's so bad that I incorporated his ineptitude into a drinking game. He's big and probably strong, but so are the concrete pillars in a parking garage, and they've got similar range. Also, even though they aren't related(that I can tell), Hal's last name immediately brings to my mind Todd "No Skill" Gill who played the bulk of his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs (back in their Norris days) and also made stops in St. Louis and Detroit (honestly, the only thing that could make me hate Todd Gill more was if he'd done some freelancing for the Nazis) before showing up in Chicago in 2002 where the Hawks mercifully euthanized his career. He was so bad, he could only get into 5 games with the 02-03 Hawks. I mean, look at this roster for cripes sake. LOOK AT IT!
Anyway, I don't want any part of Hal Gill, and the thought of the Hawks possibly signing him makes me wake up with night sweats.
2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team's chances.
I gotta be honest, this already happened. I was sure the Detroit Red Wings wouldn't be able to Zetterberg, Datsyuk AND Johan Franzen, but they already did. So I guess my biggest fear is that Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson and Jiri Hudler all sign on with Detroit for a combined salary of $650,000 for 10 years.
I'd also hate to see the Sedin twins stay in the Western Conference. I would highly recommend that those two freaks go play in the Eastern Conference with its easy travel schedule and tolerance of people who are genetic copies of each other. Here in the Western Conference, we still believe that identical twins are the product of the union between a she-wolf and the Olmec god Xt'Tapalatakettle, and we god-fearing Western Conferencites want nothing to do with that.
Unless they want to sign in Chicago at a rock-bottom price. That I'm okay with.