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Forums :: Blog World :: Justin Lowe: Off-Season Checklist
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Justin Lowe
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Toronto, ON
Joined: 10.31.2017

Apr 15 @ 10:00 AM ET
Justin Lowe: Off-Season Checklist

This week, I will feature a series of off-season blogs. These will be initial thoughts and analysis of what I think the Blackhawks should do. Please keep in mind that this might be very different from what Stan Bowman does.

The breakdown will go like this:

* Overview – Today
* Goaltending & Defence – Wednesday
* Forwards – Friday
BlackhawkMike
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 06.30.2011

Apr 15 @ 10:00 AM ET
First
BlackhawkMike
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 06.30.2011

Apr 15 @ 10:07 AM ET
I think the penalty kill team(s) is where improvement needs to take place looking at your numbers versus the league average too. This will cut down on shots on goal also if they improve this.

Beaver-Warrior
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: A new era of Blackhawks hockey
Joined: 07.28.2011

Apr 15 @ 10:10 AM ET
Don't the Hawks play a couple of games in Prague next preseason? Hawks are not going to pass on such an obvious PR coup...Dominik Kubalík is going to be on the the 1st line those nights...
Ogilthorpe2
Season Ticket Holder
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: 37,000 FT
Joined: 07.09.2009

Apr 15 @ 10:12 AM ET
Good write up.

Not so sure Anisimov being dealt is a forgone conclusion, but I could certainly see it happening. You seem awfully eager to get rid of both he and Saad.
wiz1901
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: DraftSite com, IL
Joined: 05.14.2008

Apr 15 @ 10:12 AM ET
double
wiz1901
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: DraftSite com, IL
Joined: 05.14.2008

Apr 15 @ 10:19 AM ET
Well they have added more offense with the addition of Dominik Kubalík, so a trade is the way you solve a short term add to LD.

I think they will paint with broad strokes in their calls to the other teams.

Seabrook to Florida with Anisimov and they take Mike Matheson 4,875,000 mil deal that last until he is 31 ((2024-25), I dunno.

AA still fills A need until you have a big centre to replace him nd another in Kampf to fill Kruger's skates...
HawkintheD
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Sick Bay, MI
Joined: 02.22.2012

Apr 15 @ 10:21 AM ET
Good write up.

Not so sure Anisimov being dealt is a forgone conclusion, but I could certainly see it happening. You seem awfully eager to get rid of both he and Saad.

- Ogilthorpe2


A number of People have wanted him gone for a while for various reasons. Kubalik I believe is a wing so you still need a 3C if AA is dealt.

Maybe the Jets would deal Copp as their impending Cap hell is about to begin since he’s an RFA and I think Roslovic could slot in at 3C for him.

Someone like that would be a good add and satisfies for me as well another player in the Caggiula mold for your 3rd line.

Also, addressing Taylor’s point from the last blog. I think it’s more than just a little bit wrong to label Kampf soft or lacking grit or whatever he leveled at him.

Watch his play along the boards and tell me he isn’t a perfect bottom 6 player. Here we go again with the silly narrative that because a guy isn’t knocking players into next Tuesday they are somehow soft.
EbonyRaptor
Joined: 03.28.2013

Apr 15 @ 10:32 AM ET
"... they sign Ryan Dzingel or Matt Duchene"

Are you serious? Can they afford Duchene?

I'm probably getting caught up in semantics a little too much but wouldn't Tanev play on the 4th line instead of the 3rd line?

I don't see anyone ready to step in and replace Anisimov. I'd rather keep Anisimov for 2019/20 and trade him next summer when Cozens can replace him at 3C in 2020/21.
EbonyRaptor
Joined: 03.28.2013

Apr 15 @ 10:37 AM ET
A number of People have wanted him gone for a while for various reasons. Kubalik I believe is a wing so you still need a 3C if AA is dealt.

Maybe the Jets would deal Copp as their impending Cap hell is about to begin since he’s an RFA and I think Roslovic could slot in at 3C for him.

Someone like that would be a good add and satisfies for me as well another player in the Caggiula mold for your 3rd line.

Also, addressing Taylor’s point from the last blog. I think it’s more than just a little bit wrong to label Kampf soft or lacking grit or whatever he leveled at him.

Watch his play along the boards and tell me he isn’t a perfect bottom 6 player. Here we go again with the silly narrative that because a guy isn’t knocking players into next Tuesday they are somehow soft.

- HawkintheD


I'm pleased with Kampf's play as the 4th line center but I don't think he has enough offense to play 3C. Or, maybe I have a different expectation for the 3rd line. I think the 3rd line is a 3rd scoring line, whereas the 4th line is bang and crash and hard to play against line. For me, Caggiula-Kampf-Tanev would be a good 4th line but not a good 3rd line because they wouldn't score enough.
breadbag
Location: Edmonton, AB
Joined: 11.30.2015

Apr 15 @ 10:40 AM ET
TC, you highlighted the major things for sure and #1 is the PK for sure. It needs to be better.

Regarding the High Danger shots against, I do think it is a problem area, but also inflated a bit because of snowball effect when the goalies are making that initial save but giving 1 or more rebounds on the door step. To me, it made a weak area worse. I didn't go digging for stats, but seemed like Ward/Delia (more so than Crawford who soaks up a lot of pucks with no rebound) were more prone to giving up those 2nd, 3rd and 4th chances. Of course, we want to see the D box out the attackers, but I think Crawford is just better at limiting those.

HawkintheD
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: Sick Bay, MI
Joined: 02.22.2012

Apr 15 @ 10:46 AM ET
I'm pleased with Kampf's play as the 4th line center but I don't think he has enough offense to play 3C. Or, maybe I have a different expectation for the 3rd line. I think the 3rd line is a 3rd scoring line, whereas the 4th line is bang and crash and hard to play against line. For me, Caggiula-Kampf-Tanev would be a good 4th line but not a good 3rd line because they wouldn't score enough.
- EbonyRaptor


I think that's where Kampf will likely be and should as well (4C) for the reasons you state.

The nice thing about Caggiula is he has the ability to slide up and down the lineup. He may not be a prolific scorer but even when he was on 88 and 19's line he was able to do a lot of the dirty work, get them the puck and contribute a little O...think he's got a little more than Kampf anyway.
EbonyRaptor
Joined: 03.28.2013

Apr 15 @ 10:57 AM ET
I think that's where Kampf will likely be and should as well (4C) for the reasons you state.

The nice thing about Caggiula is he has the ability to slide up and down the lineup. He may not be a prolific scorer but even when he was on 88 and 19's line he was able to do a lot of the dirty work, get them the puck and contribute a little O...think he's got a little more than Kampf anyway.

- HawkintheD


I agree Caggiula can play pretty effectively anywhere in the lineup but I think he would fit best on the 4th line where his style of play fits the description of what a 4th liner should be - scrappy, gritty, relentless, irritating to play against and he has enough offensive ability to provide some depth scoring.
CanOCorn
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: The OP, IL
Joined: 04.03.2013

Apr 15 @ 11:04 AM ET
Give me Dzingel or Brock Nelson and I'll be happy. Or both?

breadbag
Location: Edmonton, AB
Joined: 11.30.2015

Apr 15 @ 11:12 AM ET
The Hawks missed the boat on trading AA when his value was really elevated by Kane/Panarin. It is really too bad they held onto him. There are still plenty of good reasons to move him. It's not to say he doesn't have good qualities, but they should try to get younger/faster.

1) Lacks grit and physicality. Soft guy for his size. He will go to the net, but he isn't willing to battle that hard when it comes to the other side of the rink.

2) Limited offensive game when he isn't surrounded by talent driving the play around him. He can tip some pucks in at times and there are times where he plays like a solid guy, but too many games where he is a passenger.

3) He is 30 (about to be 31) now and as a guy with a mediocre ceiling (not elite), he is likely to start slowing down more. The skilled guys can often play a high level until they are old, but middle of the road guys, it is less likely.

4) Mid 40's at the dot. Not all the C need to be 50% plus, but with Strome and Kampf likely not going anywhere, the place to upgrade is 3rd line. I don't think it is good having 3 of our 4C all around 44-46%.

We know what we have in AA and there is some comfort in knowing what you'll get, but this to me is where the Hawks might need to make a change. I don't see the point in coming back with the same players when the bottom 6 was as weak as it was.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to just give him away for nothing, but he should be a trade piece to improve the team. He does have some value. If they keep him, that isn't the end of the world, but seems like he will continue to lose value the longer he remains a Hawk.
DarthKane
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: I love sarcasm.
Joined: 02.23.2012

Apr 15 @ 11:14 AM ET
Give me Dzingel or Brock Nelson and I'll be happy. Or both?
- CanOCorn



Those are the type of UFAs Stan should pursue, I'd take one of them in addition to Tanev. The Hawks need options on the PK, so I would take Nelson over Dzingel.

Nelson - Toews - Kane
Debrincat - Strome - Kahun
Kubalik - Cozens - Saad
Cagguila - Kampf - Perlini
Hayden/Veteran UFA

I don't have an issue with Anisimov, but if the Hawks draft Cozens (and he makes the team) there isn't much room for #15 on the team. Other teams like Ottawa and Florida will pick up AA for a couple mid-round picks.
DarthKane
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: I love sarcasm.
Joined: 02.23.2012

Apr 15 @ 11:17 AM ET
The Hawks missed the boat on trading AA when his value was really elevated by Kane/Panarin. It is really too bad they held onto him. There are still plenty of good reasons to move him. It's not to say he doesn't have good qualities, but they should try to get younger/faster.

1) Lacks grit and physicality. Soft guy for his size. He will go to the net, but he isn't willing to battle that hard when it comes to the other side of the rink.

2) Limited offensive game when he isn't surrounded by talent driving the play around him. He can tip some pucks in at times and there are times where he plays like a solid guy, but too many games where he is a passenger.

3) He is 30 (about to be 31) now and as a guy with a mediocre ceiling (not elite), he is likely to start slowing down more. The skilled guys can often play a high level until they are old, but middle of the road guys, it is less likely.

4) Mid 40's at the dot. Not all the C need to be 50% plus, but with Strome and Kampf likely not going anywhere, the place to upgrade is 3rd line. I don't think it is good having 3 of our 4C all around 44-46%.

We know what we have in AA and there is some comfort in knowing what you'll get, but this to me is where the Hawks might need to make a change. I don't see the point in coming back with the same players when the bottom 6 was as weak as it was.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to just give him away for nothing, but he should be a trade piece to improve the team. He does have some value. If they keep him, that isn't the end of the world, but seems like he will continue to lose value the longer he remains a Hawk.

- breadbag


The return for AA will be about the same as the Hawks got for Frolik (i.e. a 3rd and 5th) and that's fine. Anisimov's real value is his salary compared to his cap hit. His cap hit is $4.55 million for each of the next 2 seasons while his actual salary is $2 million (after $2 million signing bonus) and $3 million.
AEL_Fox
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: CA
Joined: 06.18.2016

Apr 15 @ 11:21 AM ET
"... they sign Ryan Dzingel or Matt Duchene"

Are you serious? Can they afford Duchene?

I'm probably getting caught up in semantics a little too much but wouldn't Tanev play on the 4th line instead of the 3rd line?

I don't see anyone ready to step in and replace Anisimov. I'd rather keep Anisimov for 2019/20 and trade him next summer when Cozens can replace him at 3C in 2020/21.

- EbonyRaptor

Agree, I like a guy like Tanev as a target but he specifically is best suited as a 4th liner. He, Caggiula, and Kampf would be ideal.

If the Hawks have a chance to upgrade over Anisimov then by all means try as long as no major assets are traded with him. A UFA upgrade is good if doable then trade Anisimov for picks.

Otherwise, I don’t mind Anisimov in the lineup as long as he has skilled linemates say like Saad and Kahun or Sikura.
breadbag
Location: Edmonton, AB
Joined: 11.30.2015

Apr 15 @ 11:23 AM ET
Those are the type of UFAs Stan should pursue, I'd take one of them in addition to Tanev. The Hawks need options on the PK, so I would take Nelson over Dzingel.

Nelson - Toews - Kane
Debrincat - Strome - Kahun
Kubalik - Cozens - Saad
Cagguila - Kampf - Perlini
Hayden/Veteran UFA

I don't have an issue with Anisimov, but if the Hawks draft Cozens (and he makes the team) there isn't much room for #15 on the team. Other teams like Ottawa and Florida will pick up AA for a couple mid-round picks.

- DarthKane


But is Cozens an real NHL center next year, or the next year, or the year after that? Hard to say exactly when a guy will be ready and effective at an NHL level. I wouldn't pencil a 2019 draft pick into the lineup until they prove it.
AEL_Fox
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: CA
Joined: 06.18.2016

Apr 15 @ 11:23 AM ET
I'm pleased with Kampf's play as the 4th line center but I don't think he has enough offense to play 3C. Or, maybe I have a different expectation for the 3rd line. I think the 3rd line is a 3rd scoring line, whereas the 4th line is bang and crash and hard to play against line. For me, Caggiula-Kampf-Tanev would be a good 4th line but not a good 3rd line because they wouldn't score enough.
- EbonyRaptor

Yes, to me the 3rd line should boast 20/20 players or guys who can deposit 35-45 points apiece. Caggiula, Kampf, and Tanev isn’t going to net that. Saad and at least one of Anisimov, Kahun, and Sikura plus possibly a 3rd line upgrade could.
boilermaker100
Chicago Blackhawks
Joined: 06.23.2015

Apr 15 @ 11:30 AM ET
Assume the cap goes up 3.5M to 83M. The following teams will have some cap trouble this year per capfriendly. These teams will have to move someone like the Hawks did in past years to alleviate their cap problems. Like the Hawks they may not be moving out their core pieces, but there should be depth players on the market. I would think the Hawks would be able to get a useful part or two from any of these teams.

Tampa Bay has 16 players signed and 10M in cap space. Have to sign RFA's Point and Paquette. 3 veteran D Stralman Coburn, Giradi will be UFA so they may resign one of them or have to bring in replacements. Any takers for Callahan's 5.8M for or year if TB throws in a sweetener?

Winnipeg has 12 players signed and 27M in cap space. RFA's are Laine, Trouba, Copp and Connor.

Las Vegas has 17 players signed and is already at about next year's cap. Top RFA is William Karlsson. I may have mentioned before some VGK players I like... Eakin, McNabb, Miller.

Toronto has 19 players signed and 7M+ in cap space. Guess who has to be signed yet? Yes Marner, Kapanen and Johnsson. They probably need a veteran D also to replace Gardiner or Hainsey. I can see Kadri being one of the odd men out, but after his actions on Saturday, he would be a risk to take on.

Washington has 16 players signed and 11M in cap space. Burakovsky and Jaskin are RFA's.

Pittsburgh has 18 players signed and 3M in cap space. Seen a rumour about Kessel and his 6M being put on the market.

BetweenTheDots
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 06.13.2015

Apr 15 @ 11:31 AM ET
Justin Lowe: Off-Season Checklist


This week, I will feature a series of off-season blogs. These will be initial thoughts and analysis of what I think the Blackhawks should do. Please keep in mind that this might be very different from what Stan Bowman does.

The breakdown will go like this:

* Overview – Today
* Goaltending & Defence – Wednesday
* Forwards – Friday

- Justin Lowe



It's nice that the Islanders can start their 4th line vs any of the Penguins lines. Barry has them out there to start the period vs Crosby or Malkin line it doesn't matter, Unfortunately the Hawks don't have a line like this or hard to move players like Lee and Nelson.

Just watching the mix of players on this team it would not surprise me to see them in the SC finals especially how i always see 4 defenders in the screen when the Penguins have the puck
BetweenTheDots
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 06.13.2015

Apr 15 @ 11:34 AM ET
Im also curious to see if coach Q goes back to what he knows and coaches pre 2017. Defense first.

It'll be interesting
BetweenTheDots
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: IL
Joined: 06.13.2015

Apr 15 @ 11:35 AM ET
I also am curious if our defense is going to be different since JC has a summer to work with the team.
wiz1901
Chicago Blackhawks
Location: DraftSite com, IL
Joined: 05.14.2008

Apr 15 @ 11:52 AM ET
The Hawks missed the boat on trading AA when his value was really elevated by Kane/Panarin. It is really too bad they held onto him. There are still plenty of good reasons to move him. It's not to say he doesn't have good qualities, but they should try to get younger/faster.

1) Lacks grit and physicality. Soft guy for his size. He will go to the net, but he isn't willing to battle that hard when it comes to the other side of the rink.

2) Limited offensive game when he isn't surrounded by talent driving the play around him. He can tip some pucks in at times and there are times where he plays like a solid guy, but too many games where he is a passenger.

3) He is 30 (about to be 31) now and as a guy with a mediocre ceiling (not elite), he is likely to start slowing down more. The skilled guys can often play a high level until they are old, but middle of the road guys, it is less likely.

4) Mid 40's at the dot. Not all the C need to be 50% plus, but with Strome and Kampf likely not going anywhere, the place to upgrade is 3rd line. I don't think it is good having 3 of our 4C all around 44-46%.

We know what we have in AA and there is some comfort in knowing what you'll get, but this to me is where the Hawks might need to make a change. I don't see the point in coming back with the same players when the bottom 6 was as weak as it was.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to just give him away for nothing, but he should be a trade piece to improve the team. He does have some value. If they keep him, that isn't the end of the world, but seems like he will continue to lose value the longer he remains a Hawk.

- breadbag



I read and RESPECT YOUR BULLET POINT OPINIONS, BUT, I think Anisimov is a a role of a centre who by definition has to play a "engagement" style, so, I don't view him as a non-contact centre, because it ii /was always part of his job with Kane and Panarin.
When we talk about limited offensive game, well, I have seen some nice NHL goals by him. I am not so sure you can just find another replacement ready in the system or a team has a real ent they are giving away.(I love Jack rosovic, but I think there is little chance the Jest are not seeing the upside I see for him, so probably not trading him...)
Well conditioned athletes can be very effective after 30 now.
The face off h% as always been about where it is, not sure you want to look for the face off attribute over the entire package with another guy, but there is no way this team can afford a "specialist' in the area, and guys good in the dot are less likely to get moved also.

I am certain once the replacement is there, whether by the #3 overall or a trade, or the really feel they have a guy that they are gonna sign as an UFA and they need hisCap space this summer, he plays out the contract.
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