I've seen and heard a lot of talk about whether the Chicago Blackhawks will repeat, or if they have a chance to repeat next season.
Let me just say one thing: winning two championships in back-to-back years is a challenge in any major league sport. It almost never happens.
So my answer to the likelihood of the Blackhawks repeating is not very likely.
Logically, the chances are against the Blackhawks, but that doesn't mean it's not possible.
Many people who doubt the Hawks' chances say it's because of the players they had to give away. These players include Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfulgien, Kriss Versteeg, Adam Burish, and now possibly Niklas Hjalmarsson.
The Hjalmarsson situation scares me. The Hawks have six days to match a four year $14 million offer given by the San Jose Sharks. That offer could push the Hawks to choosing between Antti Niemi or Hjalmarsson, but if the Hawks want to keep them both, another player, say, Patrick Sharp might have to go.
Losing Hjalmarsson weakens the defensive back greatly. It would defiantly hurt the Hawks' chances of a repeat.
Regardless of what happens, the Hawks still have their core players.
I am talking about Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook.
Young players and new faces are going to fill the empty spots free agency left, and it could be a beginning of something great in Chicago.
A whole new batch of fresh young players with something to prove might be the key element for the Hawks to make another deep run into the playoffs.
So things are looking a little more scary with the offer sheet to Hjalmarsson, but after looking at the remaining and incoming players, I feel confident that the Hawks will be one of the top teams in the NHL next season and for seasons to come.