A Brian Campbell Scenario: Making Room for the Future Chicago Blackhawks
Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who shall be the next Hawk to fall?
Now having a Shark-bitten predicament on our hands, the logic needs to really kick in.
At some point, the bleeding must stop and the only plug big enough may be found in sending Brian Campbell to waivers.
The news that the San Jose Sharks signed Niklas Hjalmarsson to a four-year, $14 million deal really turned a much strategized procedure into a whirlwind of confusion.
So, now we wonder what may be in store.
Obviously there is the option of signing Hjalmarsson or Antti Niemi. While ideal, the scenario doesn't seem to be what Stan Bowman would settle for.
Reason One: Both of the Bowman men have discussed how Hjalmarsson will be the next Nicklas Lidstrom. While this statement is an overstatement, Hjalmarsson's growth supports it.
Reason Two: Many may forget through the opening of the free agency period and NHL Draft activity, but at one point Stan made a statement that Hjalmarsson and Niemi weren’t going anywhere this offseason. When a statement like that is made, the fan-base believes it. Stan is a man of demeanor and ego. While not a great quality on ice at times, it is a must-have quality in the front office.
So that leaves the Chicago Blackhawks with two remaining options.
The first is to ship Patrick Sharp to make room for the signing. While salary cap wise it would make sense, the fact that the Hawks would be losing another scorer makes the experiment flame-out.
You simply can't ship Sharp after trading away Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, and Andrew Ladd (amongst many others).
The offensive part of the game would officially be thrown into mass rebuilding mode.
Let us also not forget that Sharp will be playing center this season. He developed into perhaps the second-best face-off center for the Hawks last season.
So if not Sharp, who?
While fans adore the up-tempo, blue-liner, the only scenario that seems to make sense right now would be in placing Campbell on waivers.
Campbell will be making $7.142 million next season.
Should the Hawks place him on waivers the possibility of another team snagging him would be slim.
What seems very lucrative is Campbell coming through re-entry waivers. If this happens, it allows for a team to assume half of the current salary.
For $3.6 million, many could assume that a team would pick him up. Especially teams like San Jose, who are willing to pay a top-four defenseman like Niklas Hjalmarsson the same.
With the exception of Shawn LaLonde and possibly Brian Connelly, the majority of the Hawks defensive prospects are nearly a year or two away.
Plugging the gaps will have to be done regardless of who goes and stays.
You tell me—who would you rather find a replacement for?
A solid net-minder who performed well under pressure. A goalie that could be a huge presence in the future, being only 26-years-old. With the free agency market, finding better won't happen.
The Bowmans adore this young man. He has a great future ahead of him and amazing tools to work with. He learned from the same man that may get axed to keep him.
Looking down the list we come to probably the best option the Blackhawks have and perhaps the most familiar.
Last year, it was Campbell who was out of the lineup due to an injury. While the Hawks did solve the problem temporarily by sending Byfuglien back to defense, they would have more time to address his permanent absence.
Let’s not forget it would be the easiest move to make from a salary cap standpoint.
As of approximately July 12, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. CST, Stan Bowman announced that they will match the offer San Jose made to keep Hjalmarsson a Blackhawk.
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