Blackhawks’ Offseason Could Involve Second Line Center, Moving Hjalmarsson
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CHICAGO (WSCR) Since their season ended, the Chicago Blackhawks have made a few newsworthy organizational moves, most of which involved the front office. Other than signing Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks haven’t really started securing their roster for next season.
“They do need a second line center,” Adam L. Jahns, of the Chicago Sun-Times, said on the Mully and Hanley Show. “I mean they’re just so much better when Dave Bolland can stay in that third line, checking role, there’s just so much more to that dynamic.”
A second line center is sure to be high on general manager Stan Bowman’s priority list, but keeping Patrick Sharp, Chris Campoli and Michael Frolik, as well as adding a physical defenseman are also probably on that list.
Bowman will have a little more flexibility than he did last offseason, but if he wants to bring in a high-end free agent, he may have to make a trade or two, to free up some salary cap room.
LISTEN: Adam L. Jahns On The Mully And Hanley Show
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“In terms of trades, you know, Brian Campbell has been on the block for three years now, again, gonna be tough to move,” Jahns said. “I think Niklas Hjalmarsson’s name is being floated around out there. You know, he’s very good defensively, but for the money he’s making, I think he has to produce a little more, you know, offensively. Especially with guys like Nick Leddy coming on and some other young prospects moving in and up.”
During the season, the Blackhawks sent a conditional second-round pick and Ryan Potulny to Ottawa in exchange for Campoli, who quickly adapted to the Blackhawks style of play. He’s a slightly better fit for the puck-moving style the Blackhawks have than Hjalmarsson, but trading the Swedish defenseman isn’t something Bowman would do unless he was confident they could fill that hole on defense.
“[Campoli] can fill in the penalty killing role like he did when he was acquired,” Johns said. “Hjalmarsson is a young defenseman, you know, it’s hard to give up on a guy like that, but again, teams love guys like that. The ‘Hawks have, you know, a pretty good arsenal of defensemen, and I think, you know, they could get some teams to get some interest in Hjalmarsson, I think he’s the one to watch.”