The Blackhawks are poised to make some changes after a disappointing 2010-11 season, and with cap space to spare this offseason there’s potential for some quality moves. Blackhawk Up will take a look at who’s available for Stan Bowman to pursue over the next week. However, Bowman cannot negotiate before July 1 – or should he? Today we say, “Dream with me, people!” and look at Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber.

Photo: Bridget Samuels/WikiMedia

CONTRACT STATUS: Restricted Free Agent; $4.5 million cap hit in 2010-11

2010-11 STATS: 82 GP; 16 G; 32 A; 56 PIM; plus-7; 3 GWG, 211 hits

Why Stan Bowman Should Be Texting Him Right Now: 6′ 4″, 234 lbs, punishing hits, 100 mph slap shot, power play virtuoso. When Shea Weber gets in a full season he’s good for 15 goals, 40 points, and 150+ hits every single year. Chicago fans know how hard it is to play against this guy, and he’s one of the top — if not the top — defensemen available in this free agent signing period. He’s a likely target for an offer sheet: should Chicago be one of the teams faxing his agent on July 1?

The slap shot that almost beat Zdeno Chara at the 2011 All-Star Skills Competition is only one of several weapons in the big guy’s arsenal. I’ve seen numerous instances of what I’m going to call a “flick shot.” It differs from a wrist shot in that there’s very little shift in body weight and a very short follow-through with the stick. He just flicks his wrist, and from 70 feet out, it’s in the back of the net. Example below:

Don’t Risk the Fine: Weber earned $4.5 million last year, and with the number of calls expected at Weber’s agent’s office next Friday, he’ll get a considerable raise next year. We’re talking Duncan Keith/Brent Seabrook money, and Weber would necessarily fill the role one of those two holds now. So which one of those guys would we be willing to give up to get him? Because that’s very literally what it would take. Additionally, this is Nashville’s captain. They have $23 million in cap space with 17 guys already locked up: if they don’t match the offers he gets, somebody in the front office is smoking crack.

Verdict: Don’t tamper. We’re not in the running here, and rightly so. We’ve got our top-four defensemen locked up for 3 years, and nothing that happened last year would justify moving any of them. Weber would be a luxury item, and a bloody expensive one at that. He’ll make some other team — like Toronto — very happy.

Tampering Week Rundown:

June 22:  Marcel Goc
June 21:  Brandon Sutter
June 20:  Andrew Ladd
June 19:   Semyon Varlamov
June 18:   Ville Leino
June 17:   Eric Belanger
June 16:   Brooks Laich
June 15:   Brandon Dubinsky