Chicago Blackhawks: Defensemen They Could Trade For, Part II
For the time being, the Hawks are in a decent position in the West. At the same time, however, they are still giving up more goals than they should.
Corey Crawford has not been sharp and was yanked in Monday night's contest after surrendering three goals.
Largely due to defensive breakdowns and one awful turnover by Duncan Keith, the Hawks found themselves trailing 3-0 on Monday night.
Defensive issues still remain. Keith is not the same player, and the bottom pair of the top six is suspect at best. The Hawks clearly need to add another defenseman before the trade deadline.
After looking at some defenseman two weeks ago, here is a second installment of players the Hawks should pursue.
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The Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves in a rather precarious situation heading into the holidays. Following a great playoff run in 2011, they were hopeful to make a serious challenge for the Cup this year.
It hasen't happened. As of this Tuesday morning, the Lightning find themselves two games under .500 and 13th in the Eastern Conference.
General Manager Steve Yzerman recently prioritized the extension of young stalwart Victor Hedman that will see him as member of the club through the 2016-2017 season. With money wrapped up in Hedman, as well as fellow defenseman Mattias Ohlund and Eric Brewer, free agent-to-be Pavel Kubina may be on the block.
Kubina comes at a prorated $3.8 million cap hit, which is more than affordable for the Hawks. He is big—6'4" and 258 pounds—and still moves the puck well.
Yes, this is the same player that gave Dave Bolland a head shot last season. At the same time, if he is on your club, you will learn to forgive and forget.
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The Carolina Hurricanes are in the middle of another dismal campaign. With the odds of them selling likely, Stan Bowman should take a flier on Tim Gleason.
He has all the ingredients the Hawks need: A big, rugged, defensive defenseman is just what what the doctor ordered. He will make $2.75 million this year before becoming an unrestricted free agent in June.
Unlike Kubina, Gleason could be a longer investment for the Hawks, as the Michigan native could fit in the roster plans for a few years.
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If the Phoenix Coyotes keep it up, they will make the playoffs, but there are still a solid two-and-a-half months for them to fall off the wagon.
If this does happen, Rostislav Klesla could be moved. I know—I would not exactly be thrilled at the idea of having another player with this name, considering the nightmare that is Rostislav Olesz.
At the same time, Klesla does have some key ingredients that the Hawks need in a defenseman. Although currently out with a lower-body injury, he leads all Coyote defensemen with a plus-7 rating.
With a deal that will see Klesla earning $2.95 million through 2013-2014, this will be more of a long-term push. Of course, this is also conditional on Phoenix's play down the stretch.
If they do falter, this is a player that could be a solid addition.
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More high hopes for the Colorado Avalanche are slipping away with their current .500 record. Although young, they should consider selling at the deadline.
The Avs will most likely make Kyle Quincey and Erik Johnson free-agent priorities. With this in mind, Ryan O'Byrne may be movable and a cheap option for the Hawks.
O'Byrne will be paid $1.8 million through the 2013-2014 season, and at 6'5", he is a strong option for the Hawks' bottom six. He will not put up great numbers, but is a plus defenseman and would not come at a high price.
In an ideal world, it would be fantastic if the Hawks could create a package to obtain O'Byrne and Colorado winger David Jones. That would add two significant pieces, therefore making the Hawks a tough team to deal with.
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Chicago Blackhawks correspondent Cory Pugh mentioned that that Hawks should consider taking a look at Mark Stuart.
Stuart would be a decent option. He still plays the defensive game well and is a good presence in the locker room. He has $1.7 million left on his contract through the 2013-2014 season.
The Winnipeg Jets have a decent amount of coin locked up in defensemen and may be willing to move this piece.
The only red flag is that Stuart was dealt by the Bruins last season to the then-Atlanta Thrashers, and we all know how the Bruins fared after that. Ouch.
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You cannot have a list without a pie-in-the-sky, big-splash, long-shot deal—that is where Mark Steit fits in.
The New York Islanders are still the Islanders, and even though they have a promising young group, their ears with be open to any and all offers. Mark Strait will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2012-2013 season and carries a cap hit of $4.1 million.
If the Islanders are not convinced they have the crew to make a run at the Cup as early as next season, they should consider getting value out of Streit now, as opposed to waiting until next season.
He would be an absolute asset to any club. You may say, "No way the Ilse would do that," but, hey, we are talking about the Islanders here.
It is certainly worth a phone call. Streit would make the Hawks an absolute force in the West.