Tim Kennedy an Option For The Chicago Blackhawks Third Line?

Michael WagnerSenior Analyst IAugust 5, 2010

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 10:  Tim Kennedy #13 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against  the Dallas Stars at the HSBC Arena on March 10, 2010 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Now that the Antti Niemi is over and Marty Turco is officially the Chicago Blackhawks starting goaltender, the 'Hawks can now shift their focus to filling out the rest of the roster.

Although there is no word on whether the 'Hawks will resign defenseman Jordan Hendry, according to interviews with Bowman it seems enevitable that they will sign Hendry to a new deal.

The next item the 'Hawks look to focus on is adding a veteran defenseman to the mix to play with Hendry.

Some names that have been thrown around have been Jay McKee, Aaron Ward, Shane Hnidy, and other low priced, veteran, gritty defenseman.

Although I do agree that getting the final defense pairing shored up is a must, I also believe the Blackhawks need a defensive minded forward to create a true shut down third line, much like last year's line of Kris Versteeg-Dave Bolland-Andrew Ladd.

The Blackhawks will still likely have Bolland on the third line, but the possible replacements for Ladd and Versteeg are less than ideal.

Names like Bryan Bickell, Jack Skille, Troy Brouwer, and Tomas Kopecky have been thrown around as replacements for the two 'Hawks third liners, but none of them are ideal as they are not as defensively sound at the departed 'Hawks.

Enter recently waived forward Tim Kennedy.

Kennedy, 24, was waived by the Buffalo Sabres earlier this week because they did not want to pay Kennedy his arbitration award of $1 million, which they could not walk away from.

Last season with the Sabres, Kennedy served as a third/fourth line forward and did well in his first full NHL season. 

Although Kennedy is small in stature at 5' 11", he makes up for it with strong defensive play and even chips in offensively when needed, with 26 points in 78 games.

Even though Kennedy was awarded a $1 million arbitration award, it is likely that he will not receive that on the open market.

Besides his strong defensive play, another reason I think he would be a fit on the 'Hawks is because he is a childhood friend of Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, the two of them grew up just around the corner from each other.

I'm sure that Kane has put a good word in for Kennedy with Blackhawks management, it will come down to whether the 'Hawks want to spend over $800,000 on a third line forward with their current cap situation.

It isn't clear whether the Blackhawks are willing to spend that kind of money on another forward. I could see this as a great addition to the 'Hawks' lineup and it could help ease the loss of players like Ladd or Versteeg.

Although Kennedy doesn't have the offensive tools of a Versteeg or the size and grit of Ladd, his overall game would make him a great fit for the Chicago Blackhawks and their third line needs.