The Chicago Blackhawks have gone out into the open market this year and picked themselves up three good reasons they will not be as easy to bully this season.
Last year, they were the victims of some teams who were targeting them because they had won the Stanley Cup in 2010. Some enforcers just seem to have it out for former Cup winners, channeling their bitterness into aggression used to try and drive other teams off the ice.
Chicago lost some of its size and grit last offseason and is looking forward to pleasing its fan base with some old-time hockey.
In addition to depth signings Andrew Brunette and Sean O'Donnell (a pretty tough guy in his own right with a lot of early seasons over 100 PIM and about five to seven fights a year, although he has played less like that over the last few years), the Hawks set their sight on three players that will make their team much harder to push around next year.
1. Jamal Mayers
At 6'2" and a muscular 205 pounds, Mayers is an accomplished heavyweight who has thrown down with many different players in the league and can step into the role of an enforcer—he has had over 100 fights in his NHL career and had 124 PIM last year.
There is little doubt as to what his role is on the ice: He seems fond of jawing at opponents, skating in circles, and making sure that fans get to see plenty of face-washing along the boards.
Mayers figures to be a fan favorite who will make Chicago a team that fights more often (they were 24th in the league in fighting majors last season).
2. Daniel Carcillo
With Carcillo's PIM totals of 207 and 127 the last two years, Blackhawk fans are sure to see a lot of his heading to the "sin bin."
Carcillo is a decent all-around player and will probably see some time on Chicago's third line.
He can really get under the skin of his opponents and has drawn a lot of penalties out of frustration. Carcillo has had over 70 career fights, averaging somewhere around 20 per season since he came to the NHL.
He does need to discipline himself and avoid being suspended during his time in Chicago as the league is hopefully starting to crack down on head shots, the likes of which he has perpetrated in the past.
3. Steve Montador
Montador is pretty tough himself, with over 60 career fights and 100 PIM in the three seasons since he made it to the NHL.
He does have some offensive skills as well, with double-digit assists in each of the last four seasons.
Montador was also +16 last season and is among the more responsible defensemen in the league in terms of knowing when to join the rush.
He is very physical and is someone who will play big minutes and make players think twice before giving Corey Crawford a face full of shaved ice after the whistle.
Montador will probably prove to be the best pickup of the three for the Blackhawks, who could use his steady presence on the blue line.