Chicago Blackhawks Free-Agent Rumors: 8 Blackhawks Who Won't Be Back Next Season

James Maahs@Jmaz90Contributor IIIMarch 26, 2012

Chicago Blackhawks Free-Agent Rumors: 8 Blackhawks Who Won't Be Back Next Season

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    Just who will go and who will stay? That's the question that will be on the minds of many Blackhawks' players when the final game of the postseason is played.

    Depth players are switched out every year with new ones coming in expecting to become permanent members of the new roster.

    The Blackhawks have witnessed this more so than any other NHL team after winning a Stanley Cup. This year will be no exception as the Blackhawks will look to upgrade an already championship caliber roster.

    These are the top eight Blackhawks that won't be back next season.

Brendan Morrison

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    Brendan Morrison simply isn't getting the job done. 

    Signed before the trade deadline as a possible solution to the Blackhawks' second line center problems, Morrison has done little to prove that he belongs in a Indian head sweater. 

    In nine games on the ice this season, Morrison has registered zero points and is a minus-4 overall—hardly what is expected of a second line depth center.

    The Blackhawks will have better options come free agency and possibly even from another trade. Regardless, Morrison will be looking for another team come the summer.

Sami Lepisto

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    Picked up as a depth defenseman, Sami Lepisto has been very inconsistent in his stint with the Blackhawks.

    Seeing no playing time right now, as he is injured, now means that there is a great chance Lepisto won't be on the Blackhawks' roster next year.

    In 25 games this season, Lepisto has three points and is a plus-3 to top it off. But overall his lack of puck-handling and his inability to play consistently has doomed his chances of making the team next year.

Sean O'Donnell

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    Sean O'Donnell was brought in for his veteran leadership and for more depth on the blue line.

    A good stay-at-home defenseman, O'Donnell is 40 years old, which means his chances of getting re-signed by the Blackhawks are unlikely.

    In 46 games this season, O'Donnell registered seven points and is a minus-5 overall.

    Come free agency, the Blackhawks will be looking for another stay-at-home defenseman to fill the role that O'Donnell occupied this season. 

Jamal Mayers

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    Jamal Mayers has shown a lot of heart this season by sticking up for his teammates when the time called for it. But when you're pushing 40 it is highly unlikely that a professional ice hockey team will re-sign.

    Mayers will be the odd man out when Daniel Carcillo comes back next season. The Blackhawks have already found a new fighter in Brandon Bollig, and the departure of Mayers will open up the possibility of players from Rockford getting their shot in the NHL.

    Regardless, Mayers has been an important addition to the current Blackhawks' roster by starting fights in order to spark his team and even chipping in on offense once in a while.

Andrew Brunette

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    Andrew Brunette was brought in for net presence and so far he has been inconsistent.

    In 75 games this season, Brunette has 26 points but is a minus-11 overall. 

    Brunette has seen time on the Blackhawks first and second lines doing what he can, but his performance has been underwhelming.

    The 38-year-old winger just simply isn't meeting expectations. Thus, he won't make it back to the Blackhawks' roster come next season.

Michael Frolik

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    It's safe to say that Michael Frolik has been very underwhelming this season for the Blackhawks.

    In 59 games this season, Frolik has registered five goals and nine assists with a majority of his goals being empty nets. He is also a minus-10 which doesn't bode well for a hockey team that stresses defensive play.

    With a cap hit of $2.3 million there's a good chance that Frolik will be trade bait for GM Stan Bowman come summer. 

    There are way too many forwards down in Rockford that deserve a chance over the slumping Frolik.

Ben Smith

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    Ben Smith played in 12 games for the Blackhawks this season and recorded only two goals. 

    In those games, Smith was very inconsistent defensively and offensively, which led to his drop back to the Rockford Ice Hogs.

    While Smith showed promise when he played in the playoff series against Vancouver, it simply isn't meant to be for the Blackhawks.

    Smith will most likely be trade bait come summer as Stan Bowman looks for a reliable second-line center.

Ray Emery

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    Yes it has been a goaltending battle this season with Ray Emery and Corey Crawford both sharing the net.

    But from a strictly front office standpoint, the Blackhawks will probably let Emery walk come free agency.

    With Rockford's Alexander Salak expected to move up as Crawford's backup, that leaves little room for Emery.

    Come free agency, Stan Bowman may also want to find a reliable back-up for Crawford or possibly even a replacement.

    Either way, Emery looks to be out of a Blackhawks' sweater in a few months time.