Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Late-Model Defensemen Who Might Come Cheap
The Chicago Blackhawks seem to be in a holding pattern in terms of their roster. As training camp slowly approaches, there has been little movement since defenseman Sheldon Brookbank was signed as a free agent on July 1.
GM Stan Bowman may just be done retooling this team heading into the 2012-13. Brookbank gives the 'Hawks eight defensemen from which to choose from when the season gets underway.
Even if Dylan Olsen is sent to Rockford to continue his development, it would seem that Bowman feels comfortable with what he has on the blue line. That could change if negotiations between owners and the NHLPA go better than expected and a new CBA ushers in some late summer activity.
Between now and whenever camp starts, Bowman may find the opportunity to move a contract and go with a cheaper option at defense. That could come by trade, though Bowman could also elect to pick through the remains of this summer's UFA crop to find a cheaper bottom-pairing option.
Here are five defenseman still available that could merit an inexpensive one-year contract.
1. Brett Clark
2011-12 Stats: Two goals, 13 assists, minus-26 in 82 games with Tampa Bay
Outlook: Really dropped off in terms of effectiveness last season. He did block a lot of shots and could serve the 'Hawks well in this area. Unfortunately, he isn't the physical player they really seem to need.
There may not be much left in Clark's tank and Bowman could do a lot better. However, he could likely be had for under $1 million and serve as some cheap depth.
2. Carlo Colaiacovo
2011-12 Stats: Two goals, 17 assists, plus-seven in 64 games with St. Louis.
Outlook: Has a spotty injury history and has not played more than 67 games in his last three seasons. However, for the right price, Colaiacovo is a solid defender with decent size.
His health makes signing him a gamble, but Colaiacovo is a good skater and could easily handle 15-20 minutes a night if he is sound physically. Of course, that's a big "if".
3. Jaroslav Spacek
2011-12 Stats: Five goals, 10 assists, plus-six in 46 games with Carolina.
Outlook: Chicago fans probably got enough of Spacek in two previous stints with the Blackhawks. The veteran skater from the Czech Republic is still capable of finding the net with his slap shot, but was plagued by injury last season.
Still, if he would be receptive to a two-way deal, Spacek could help on the third line or provide some mentoring in Rockford.
4. Pavel Kubina
2011-12 Stats: Three goals, 12 assists, minus-two in 69 games with Tampa Bay and Philadelphia
Outlook: A heavy shot and the ability to play the necessary minutes could make Kubina worth a look at filling a third-pairing role.
Kubina talked like he wanted to stay in the Flyers organization but is still available if a team wants to sign the 14-year vet. Speed may be an issue but he's a big guy who could help out on either end of the ice.
5. Scott Hannan
2011-12 Stats: Two goals, 10 assists, minus-10 in 78 games with Calgary.
Outlook: Is physical and defensively-oriented. Hannan could easily handle 15 minutes a night and shouldn't cost over $1 million.
Hannan has proved to be a durable player, having missed 14 regular season games in his last eight NHL seasons. He isn't going to light it up offensively, but could be counted on night in and night out as the sixth defenseman.
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