The Chicago Blackhawks have some potential targets as free agency begins at 11:00 CST on July 1. It could be a quiet Sunday for GM Stan Bowman. It could also yield a player or two who could be difference makers on a club who has experienced two straight first-round playoff exits.
The 'Hawks could stand pat or nab a big name. Bowman hasn't tipped his hand to speak of leading up to free agency. However, the 'Hawks could use a top-six center and possibly a physical force on defense.
It's difficult to rule out a trade that could free up additional cap space or bring in some desired talent. With whom would Bowman be willing to part?
Are the 'Hawks ready to make a strong play for Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter or a lower-profile signing like Carolina's Bryan Allen? Is New Jersey forward Zach Parise in Bowman's sights? How about Calgary's Olli Jokinen or Phoenix captain Shane Doan?
Check back here throughout the first day of NHL Free Agency for any signings or trades on the part of the Blackhawks, along with my thoughts on any Chicago transactions.
MONDAY, 11:55 p.m. CST: There is a signing to announce, but it's not who you want it to be.
Martin St. Pierre was signed by the 'Hawks today. This move will have likely have no impact in Chicago. All signs are that St. Pierre, who is a potent AHL scorer, was re-acquired (he was in the organization from 2005 to 2008) to add offense in the 'Hawks AHL affiliate in Rockford.
St. Pierre, 28, tallied 88 points for the IceHogs in 2007-08. In his eight-year pro career, he has 469 points in 440 AHL games and eight points in 38 NHL contests.
MONDAY, 7:15 p.m. CST: Activity has slowed around the league as both Parise and Suter chew on the offers in front of them. It seems like teams are waiting to see where the two land before moving on to roster moves. Parise and Suter signing could usher in a wave of trade activity.
Jesse Rogers, via Twitter, is citing a source that maintains that the 'Hawks are a team "being considered". I'm just spitballing here, but my guess is the longer a decision takes, the more likely New Jersey sweetens an offer to keep Parise in a Devils sweater. Who knows at this point?
MONDAY, 12:45 p.m. CST: Over the course of the morning, the notion of Zach Parise to Chicago is picking up steam. Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com tweeted that it could be between the 'Hawks and Devils. While on ESPN-AM1000 this morning, he mentioned that Parise had been asking around the league about Chicago.
This could all be talk to squeeze a little more out of his current team, much like Brodeur getting an extra year from the Devils. Some resolution could come by this afternoon.
MONDAY, 9:00 a.m. CST: Brodeur is off the board after re-signing with New Jersey for the next two seasons. There aren't a lot of good fits left for the 'Hawks as far as UFA's go. Once Ryan Suter makes his choice, teams should pick up the pace in wooing the talent still unsigned.
Olli Jokinen is still availible along with some lesser names like Kyle Wellwood and Dominic Moore at the center position. Could one of them land in Chicago for the right price?
SUNDAY, 5:00 p.m. CST: As the action slows this evening, many of the big names have yet to make decisions. Ray Whitney may have been the highest-profile signing today. The 40-year-old forward signed with Dallas for two years and $9 million.
Still unsigned are players like Parise, Suter and Brodeur. Bowman's only move was Brookbank, a solid depth move but far from the impact player that would excite the casual fan. Bowman also hasn't made any trades, leaving the 'Hawks eight defensemen for the time being. I'll address this and any further developments this week.
This looks to be a minor depth type of move. Back in May I profiled Brookbank as a low-cost guy Bowman might be considering. I'm guessing a two-way deal worth about $1.75 million, but that should come out later. If this is the extent of Bowman's pickups today, the defensive landscape didn't change much.
Brookbank is a rugged defender with not much in the skill department. He could be a cheap sixth or seventh defenseman in Chicago or could be a veteran add to Rockford, for whom his older brother Wade has played the last two seasons.
SUNDAY, 2:00 p.m. CST: Florida GM Dale Tallon just signed Ottawa D Filip Kuba to a two-year, $8 million deal. This may have two repercussions for Bowman. On one hand, it's going to cost to bring in a defenseman and Tallon may have inflated the price in this area. On the other, the Senators may now be a potential destination for Niklas Hjalmarsson.
SUNDAY, 1:10 p.m. CST: Former Blackhawks agitator Adam Burish signed a four-year contract with the Sharks. The cap hit is $1.8 million per year. Remember to live in the now, 'Hawks fans!
SUNDAY, 12:25 p.m. CST: Pierre LeBrun tweets that the 'Hawks have made overtures to Brodeur. He figures to get a lot of calls today, so let's see where this goes.
SUNDAY, 11:25 a.m., CST: A story to watch today could involve future HOF goalie Martin Brodeur, who is reportedly being pursued heavily by Bowman. Obtaining Brodeur would have residual effects on the organization, as Corey Crawford and Ray Emery are signed as the team's goalies. You'd have to expect a trade if Brodeur became a member of the 'Hawks.
SUNDAY, 10:15 a.m. CST: Parise is on the market, per a tweet from TSN's Bob McKenzie. Re-signing with New Jersey is still an option but he's going to field offers.
Free Agency begins in 45 minutes. On your mark...get set...
SUNDAY, 9:45 a.m. CST: Zach Parise will be announcing in the next 15 minutes of so if he is entering the market, as per a tweet from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun. Parise re-signing with the Devils would alter the landscape for a lot of teams.
Don't expect word from Doan today. TSN's Darren Drager tweets that Doan will only field offers for the next two days before making a decision to leave Phoenix.
SUNDAY, 2:00 a.m. CST: Things are quiet, though it's worth noting that Paul Gaustad re-signed with the Predators Saturday for four years at a $3.25 million cap hit.
Bowman has secured all of his own UFAs and RFAs that he wanted to retain. Sami Lepisto signed with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL next season. Brendan Morrison, Sean O'Donnell and Andrew Brunette don't look to get many offers.
Cristobal Huet may be an interesting name just to see if any NHL clubs are interested in his services as a back up. If any of those players agree to terms with another team, I'll post them here.
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