The Chicago Blackhawks were surprisingly busy early on in the offseason.
They traded Troy Brouwer to the Washington Capitals, and they traded Brian Campbell to the Florida Panthers. Both trades came as a surprise to the fan base, but has Stan Bowman picked up players that can fit the roles that the Blackhawks need?
With Chris Campoli and Michael Frolik still unsigned, it's still a little early to predict how the 'Hawks are going to look next season, but we can grade all the free agent signings.
The Blackhawks added some size and brawn with Meyers. The 26-year-old forward is not going to score a lot, but he will be a presence on the ice size-wise.
Bowman knows exactly what he's getting with this signing. It's only for a year, and so if it doesn't pan out next season then it's not really that big of a loss.
I respect Bowman's want to toughen up the 'Hawks because it's something that the 'Hawks really needed. The 'Hawks filled in an area that needed to be filled and did it with a very little risk factor in it.
Nothing to be too excited over, but it's hard to be upset.
The initial reaction when news broke that the 'Hawks had signed Andrew Brunette to a one-year deal was overwhelmingly positive.
Brunette is a very good signing even though he is 37 years old. Brunette has been one of the most durable players in the league, modeling consistency and having the ability to find the net.
Bowman was very clear that he wanted to pick up role players. Brunette plays the role that Andrew Ladd did two years ago. They are both good up and down the ice and even have similar builds.
Overall, if you're a 'Hawks fan, you have to love this signing.
Bowman added even more body to the defensive unit with the one year signing of Sean O'Donnell.
O'Donnell is the oldest of the new guys at 39. It seems Bowman isn't scared of the age of his new players.
It's hard to see O'Donnell just being another big body in the defense, filling in the back-end body presence that the 'Hawks were missing other than John Scott. He rarely goes into the minus in the plus/minus category and his lack of speed is countered by his hockey intelligence.
It's hard seeing O'Donnell being an impact player, but he does fit the role that the 'Hawks want him to fill.
Brett McLean is a returning Blackhawk player (2002-04) and adds depth to the center position, but "hawk fans should not hold him as a front-line man.
McLean is good for 30-40 points, but his on downfall is his record of a poor plus/minus rating. This could be a problem, but I do like the added depth in the center position even though it's not a goal scorer.
McLean does bring a decent face-off winning percentage to Chicago, winning 43.1 percent of the total faceoffs. The faceoff is the most underrated aspect of hockey, so if McLean can add more to that percentage with the 'Hawks, it could help in big ways.
The Blackhawks added some toughness and grit to their lineup with this signing. Some fans love it, and some consider Carcillo too crazy and just would be a distraction.
Carcillo has stated that he's learned from his previous mistakes, and that he's moving towards helping his team by still being physical, but in regards to forechecking and using his energy to help the team, not work against it.
If Carcillo can fill the Ben Eager role then he's perfect to me.