Chicago Blackhawks: Top 3 free agents to target

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 14:  Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith and Andrew Shaw celebrate after Sharp scored against the Phoenix Coyotes in the first period during the NHL game on November 14, 2013 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Free agency is just around the corner. With it comes a chance to add that final piece to another championship puzzle for the Chicago Blackhawks. There are a few players that the Hawks could target to address their needs.

The Hawks will be more looking for a couple players that they need this offseason rather than picking up a player they would like to have. Their biggest needs are a second line center and a third line defenseman. A fourth line center would also be beneficial for the Hawks, but it isn’t one of their top priorities.

Mikhail Grabovski, Center, Washington Capitals

One player I would like to see the Hawks target is Washington Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski. The thirty-year-old Grabovski is an above average shooter and stick handler. Grabovski had 13 goals last season and a plus/minus rating of 6.

Mikhail Grabovski would be a great second line center for the Chicago Blackhawks

Mikhail Grabovski would be a great second line center for the Chicago Blackhawks

Grabovski was one of the players that the Maple Leafs and Capitals relied pretty heavily on, making his lack of production more prominent. If Grabovski joined the Hawks, he would be less relied on, meaning he can fly under the radar on a line with Patrick Kane and possibly get back to his 20 to 30 goals per season form.

Although he has had a couple less than spectacular seasons with the Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs, Grabovski has the skill set to succeed on the Hawks’ roster.

Grabovksi had a $3 million cap hit to the Capitals last season, with his last two years being disappointing he may take a bit of a pay cut in order to get on a championship caliber team.

For a third line defenseman, the Hawks could go one of two routes. They could either go after a seasoned veteran to pair up with Nick Leddy, or get a younger player to grow around him. General Manager Stan Bowman is waiting for 23-year-old defender David Rundblad to be ready for the NHL, so we need to keep that in mind as well.

Stephane Robidas, Defender, Anaheim Ducks

If the Hawks decide to go the route of picking up a veteran defender for a year, there is a chance it could be Stephane Robidas from the Anaheim Ducks. Robidas is a 37-year-old defender that played last season for both the Ducks and the Dallas Stars. He had 5 goals and a plus/minus rating of 20.

Stephane Robidas would add leadership and skill to the Hawks' defense

Stephane Robidas would add leadership and skill to the Hawks’ defense

Robidas also displays great leadership and could be a beneficial player for the Hawks, but what’s the catch? Robidas fractured his leg twice last year in almost the exact same spot, meaning his leg may not be fully healed for quite a while. His latest injury was in Game 3 of the first round against his former Dallas Stars and although he will not need surgery, the recovery time is still quite some time.

Robidas had a cap hit of a little over $3 million, but as he gets older he has yet to win the Stanley Cup. If he can prove that he will be healthy and take a pay cut, there is a chance Stephane Robidas makes a 10 year anniversary comeback to Chicago.

Mike Kostka, Defender, Tampa Bay Lightning

Mike Kostka knows the Hawks' style of play and would add youth to the third line defense

Mike Kostka knows the Hawks’ style of play and would add youth to the third line defense

If the Hawks decide to go with a younger player, the best choice for them would be Mike Kostka. Kostka played for the Hawks last year before being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Although he only played 9 games last year for the Hawks, “Thor’s doppelgänger” has chemistry with the players and he also knows their style of play. Kostka, with a 10 plus/minus rating, is a player that can be built up over the course of a couple years and used as trade bait when Rundblad is ready. The 28-year-old only had a cap hit of $625,000 last season, so he is a solid cheap player that also buys the Hawks time for Rundblad to grow.

I have heard two players from a few different people that they would like to see go to the Hawks, but there is a miniscule chance of these players actually coming to Chicago.

A high price tag and lack of production will most likely keep Dany Heatley out of Chicago

A high price tag and lack of production will most likely keep Dany Heatley out of Chicago

The first one is Minnesota Wild wing, Dany Heatley. Heatley has played in a few different places, never really finding a solid place to call home. Heatley had a disastrous 2013-2014 season with only 12 goals and a plus/minus of -18. With a cap hit of over $7 million, that just won’t cut it. The Hawks don’t necessarily need another wing right now. If it is handed to them on a silver platter with a low price tag they’ll take it, but that just realistically will not happen with Dany Heatley.  Sorry Hawks fans, we won’t screaming, “50 in ’07!” any time soon.

Paul Stastny would be the ideal pickup for the Blackhawks, but a high price would require a big roster change for him to come to Chicago

Paul Stastny would be the ideal pickup for the Blackhawks, but a high price would require a big roster change for him to come to Chicago

 

 

The other player is the center from the Colorado Avalanche, Paul Stastny. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have Stastny in Chicago, the only problem is the cost. Stastny had 60 points, 25 of which being goals, last year, meaning that he is a great player worth every penny. With a $6.6 million cap hit last year and teams drooling over the thought of having him, there is little to no chance of the Hawks being able to snatch him up without clearing up some cap space.

Comments

  1. Dcsportsfan85 says

    Grabovski’s production with the Capitals was very good until he got injured. (Blackhawks fans should know this considering he had 3G and 1A against the Hawks in the season opener).

    Also, how would be “relied on less” on the Blackhawks. He centered the 2nd and 3rd lines for the Caps this year, which would be the same thing as he would on the Blackhawks. Toronto bought out Grabovski because they were using him only on checking lines, so I’d say he wasn’t relied on too heavily his last year in Toronto.

    By the way he took a pay cut at $3MM with the Caps on a 1year prove himself type contract and is looking for a 4-5 year deal in the $5MM per year range. He might be willing to take a pay cut (especially since he’s still receiving his buy out money), but the Hawks would still be looking in the $4MM-$5MM range. He wouldn’t be taking a pay cut from his $3MM deal.

    I really hope the Caps re-sign Grabovski, he’s a real solid two-way center and drives possession at a very reasonable cap hit. Whatever line he played on was successful last year. I’d hate to see him go to the Hawks because I think he’d be a great fit in Chicago to play with Patrick Kane on the 2nd line and you guys don’t need to get better, but the Caps do on the other hand.

        • mark says

          spezza is worth that entirely Johnny Oduya is a good defensmen that ottawa needs and jeremy morin will provide offense and and then we have the 27th pick so yes its perfect for a high caliber offensive player

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