The Chicago Blackhawks were active this past summer in bringing in free agents to improve defensively as well as add grit to the roster.
Six months after purchase, does GM Stan Bowman have buyer's remorse on any of his pick-ups?
What follows is a look at the new acquisitions to the 'Hawks roster. Have they been keepers so far, or candidates for the return desk along with that ugly sweater that's two sizes too small?
I think Montador, who signed a four-year, $11-million contract on the eve of free agency, has proven to be of use to the 'Hawks thus far.
The 'Hawks signed Montador to solidify depth on the blueline. When he's been used as a third-pairing player, he's been solid. When he's had to play a top-four role, he has had some struggles, but he is carrying a plus-two rating into Monday's action.
Montador is scoring at a rate consistent with his career numbers. He did provide a much-needed boost on what was an anemic power play earlier in the season.
Overall, he's a solid fifth defenseman who has been an upgrade on the players who played on the bottom pairing at this time last season.
Brunette inked a one-year deal for $2 million on July 1st. The hope was that Brunette would be able to hold down a top-six role and provide veteran leadership and scoring presence.
It's been an up-and-down run in Chicago. At this point Brunette has proven valuable around the net, but that's about it.
He's had difficulty keeping up with the top line and is scoring at a pace well below even last season's total with Minnesota.
He has eight goals—half of which have come on the power play—and six assists. At this rate, Brunettte is looking at his worst offensive season since is first full year in the NHL.
With appearances on the lower two lines so far this season, Brunette has not lived up to expectations. Viktor Stalberg has been the forward providing the secondary offense through the first 35 games at less than half the price.
Mayers, a player coach Joel Quenneville knew from his days in St. Louis, was signed for the grit he could provide to the lineup.
Mayers has been an excellent pick-up through Christmas, providing physical energy to the fourth line. He's also won faceoffs at a 59-percent rate.
For a one-year, $550,00 contract, he is arguably the best pick-up that Bowman made this summer.
Carcillo, who was a late signing on July 1st with a one-year, $775,000 deal, has fulfilled a lot of expectations.
He's already matched last year's scoring totals.
He's also already been suspended.
Carcillo, who won't play Monday against the Blue Jackets after being placed on the IR last week, has taken shifts in the top-six and on the fourth line. He has been on good behavior considering past seasons. Anyone who thought Carcillo would be squeaky clean didn't read the label on the guy.
The 'Hawks took a flier on the former Flyer. He has been productive, added some chippiness, and loosened up the locker room.
So far, I'd consider him a good signing.
The 'Hawks signed the well-worn O'Donnell to help solidify the bottom of the blueline.
For $850,000, O'Donnell has been slow on the ice and the possessor of a minus-four rating in 22 games. If he was the seventh of seven defensemen, I'd say he was doing the job Bowman envisioned.
However, Chicago is carrying eight defenseman and looks to be in the market for another. Suffice to say that the 40-year old hasn't been the answer at this point of the season.
Lepisto was signed in mid-July to a one-year, $750,000 contract.
Someone had better inform Quenneville that he's availible.
Lepisto has been used in just ten games this season. He has been a healthy scratch for most of that time and has not played since December 11th.
It's apparent that Lepisto is just not Quenneville's guy. When you are looking up at John Scott on the depth chart, it's hard to call your signing a success.
Emery was the latest of Chicago's free-agent signings. Right now, it has had the most impact.
After coming to the 'Hawks on a tryout invite, Emery won a closely-contested battle for the backup goalie position and signed a one-year, $600,000 deal on October 3rd.
He has more than made that look like a wise decision.
Emery has provided an alternate for Quenneville when Corey Crawford struggled in November. He is 9-2-2 in 14 appearances for the Blackhawks.
He recently completed a run where he made eight appearances, including a relief effort December 5th. In those games he posted a 1.92 goals against average and a .934 save percentage.
For the season, Emery has a 2.54 GAA and a .908 save percentage. The 'Hawks can point to Emery as a big reason they've attained the position they occupy in the standings.