Chicago Blackhawks: Stan Bowman Was Right Not to Extend Leddy and Stalberg

Andy Campbell Correspondent ISeptember 27, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 06: Viktor Stalberg #25 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck against the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center on November 6, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Canucks defeated the Blackhawks 6-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When an NHL lockout appeared to be imminent, many GMs got paperwork ready. The idea, to sign players whose contracts would expire a year or two from now before the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expired on September 15.

When it came to two certain Chicago Blackhawks, Nick Leddy and Viktor Stalberg, Stan Bowman held firm and elected not to extend their contracts before the 2012-13 season. 

That is the move for now and if the season ever gets up and running again, things may change.

While many 'Hawks loyalists, including myself, continue to question any offseason moves by Bowman, holding ground on Stalberg and Leddy was the right move for now.

Consider the case of Viktor Stalberg. Next June, Stalberg will become an unrestricted free agent. For his capabilities Stalberg looks like a steal at his current $875K per year, and in many ways he is. Few 22-goal scorers at that price tag come along very often. 

Personally, there are a lot of things that I don't like about Stalberg's game and I would prefer to have a forward on the second or third line with a little more grit.  While I would love to think that this is where Bowman's head is and Stalberg will be moved at some point, Bowman didn't act on extending Stalberg simply because he had no reason to.

If Stalberg's contract expired last June after a 22-goal season, he could have commanded upwards of $3 million per year on the open market. There would be a team out there looking for scoring, needing to hit the cap floor and would have pulled an ill-advised move on the Swede.

With the lockout, the 'Hawks can stay put. And the longer the lockout, the longer Stalberg's price tag will drop.

Unfortunately for him, he is at a critical point of his career. Coming off his best season, who knows how the 26-year-old Stalberg will come back after a layoff? While it's tough to think about, have we seen the best of Stalberg in his career? It's possible. And right now the 'Hawks are in a good position with Viktor.

If the season begins and he plays well, then a decision can be made when it needs to be. And if that means a future without Stalberg, realistically the 'Hawks will be fine.

With Leddy, the 'Hawks are also in a good position. Again, with a lockout-shortened season, Leddy may be in the AHL for a while.

It will be great for his game for one. Secondly, when his $1.1 million per year contract expires next June, he will be a restricted free agent.

So, unless there is a dramatic change to restricted free agency rules in the next CBA, if someone goes after Leddy, the 'Hawks will have an opportunity to match any offer.

Unless he displays a giant leap in his game, the 'Hawks won't lose Leddy. With added cap space from the expiration of Michael Rozsival's $2 million per year tag, the 'Hawks should have the cap space to retain Leddy's services.

That's if they want to. And that goes for both players.

I am still not convinced that shortcomings in both of their games will make Leddy and Stalberg long term members of the club. There is a chance this season, if there is one, that one or both could be on their way out of town via trade. And when the season does begin, Bowman should listen to any and all offers.

Time will tell if either will be a part of the 2013-14 'Hawks, but when it comes to No. 25 and No. 8, Bowman did the right thing by sticking to his guns. 

Thanks for reading.

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