Okay, I can understand not wanting to pay the big bucks for players who have been injury-prone in past years. We dealt James Wisniewski--a great young defenseman--at the trade deedline in order to obtain a good face-off man in Sami Pahlsson. I can deal with that, I guess.
Then, this offseason, we waved goodbye to Nikolai Khabibulin--easily our best goaltender--because his high price tage and annual injuries just didn't jive well. I can understand that from a financial standpoint, even though I realize how badly that hurts us at the goalie position.
Also, this offseason, we gave up contract talks with our points leader from last season, Martin Havlat. This last season was the first time in a long time that the veteran forward didn't suffer an injury that kept him out for any extended time.
What did we do instead? We signed an injured player. WHAT?!
Granted, Marian Hossa is a great talent. I mean, he led a team of all-stars in goals scored last year for the Detroit Red Wings. Some reports say that the Blackhawks never made Hossa pass a physical. Others say that we knew about his torn rotator cuff when we signed him. Both these stories could be true, but why would we do this?
Hossa underwent surgery last Friday and will be recovering for four months. This means he will miss the first two months of the season. I know you're all thinking, "Yeah, but when he's healthy, he's gonna be killer!" But the fact still remains, he will miss two months of the year that the Blackhawks need to make it to the Stanley Cup before they lose their young players. Why would they be losing their young players?
Because Tallon's an idiot. If the huge 12-year deal didn't tie up enough money in a player, then Tallon's next blunder definitely did. Tallon failed to send 6 restricted free agents qualifying offers before the deadline. Why? Because he decided to mail them during the July 4th weekend, instead of faxing them like he was supposed to. The result? The Blackhawks had to scramble to re-sign several of their integral parts (i.e. Cam Barker and Calder Trophy finalist Kris Versteeg) costing them more money.
Now, the Blackhawks face an off-season next summer where three great, young talents' contracts come due: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith. The Blackhawks have already promised big money to two disappointments--Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet--and made the biggest off-season move this summer by signing Hossa. With this added blunder, how will we ever fit under the cap?
Either all three are going to have to take huge hometown discounts, or we're going to have to let go of one of our better players in order to pay for one of our gambles.
Duncan Keith makes up one of the best young defensive pairings in the league. How can we afford to give up yet another defenseman? Keep in mind, we failed to re-sign Matt Walker this off-season, and we let go of James Wisniewski last season.
Patrick Kane was the first overall pick of the 2007 draft and won the Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) that season. Kane is small, maybe a little quiet, but he's an assist machine, and a scoring Houdini, not to mention my favorite Blackhawk.
I consider Jonathan Toews to be least likely to lose his job. This is because the Blackhawks named him captain of the team last summer. I doubt that they will part with him after two seasons as captain. Although Toews may not score quite as much as Kane, but he does carry some innate leadership qualities.
So, as I was saying before, the Blackhawks need to make their move this season, before they lose one of these young phenoms. Tallon has just made it more difficult for this year, and even more difficult in the years following. Great work.
One final note. Blackhaws, what are you thinking? Sure, you demoted him, but why not just get rid of him? I can see why you kept Savard around after you fired him as coach--he was a Blackhawk legend. But Tallon? Really? Maybe there's something I'm missing here.