Not Landing Suter, Parise Disappointing, not Discouraging
Stan Bowman took his shot(s) and missed, accomplishing a lot more than it seems most of the fan base thought he would.
The Blackhawks’ GM apparently made strong offers to Ryan Suter and Zach Parise to obtain the services of one or both of the most sought-after free agents of this year’s class, but they eventually chose to start anew with theMinnesota Wild and sign identical 13-year, $98 million contracts.
Suter seemed the logical choice given the ‘Hawks struggles on defense last season, and a pursuit of Parise was something that would’ve intrigued us at best. As it turns out, landing Parise was more likely than getting Suter to don the Indian head.
Such is life in the world of high-priced free agency.
Even one of the two would have instantly made the Blackhawks better, no question. But 13 years and $98 million? If Suter, Parise, or both accepted Bowman’s offer, the ‘Hawks would’ve been in the exact same spot they were at the beginning of the FA period – looking to make changes. Contracts would have to be moved, prospects pushed back, etc. Not saying it wouldn’t have been worth the trouble, but it would’ve made for an awful lot of it.
Looking on the brighter side of this considering Suter is that Nashville immediately is left with a hole on the blue line, and Detroit didn’t get any better. The Red Wings made strong pitches to both players and didn’t land either of them. Adding marginal signings while losing Niklas Lidstrom to retirement, and suddenly Detroit isn’t looking like a big, bad wolf anymore. Though the ‘Hawks didn’t necessarily get better, two Central Division teams took hits.
As for Martin Brodeur? Bowman probably ended up being used for leverage for the future Hall of Famer to get the extra year out of New Jersey, but you can’t blame him for doing his diligence and placing a call to get help at a position which the ‘Hawks struggled to be consistent last season.
Jason Garrison wasn’t ever coming to the Blackhawks, and a defenseman of his skill set isn’t exactly what they are in the market to obtain. Vancouver seemingly got a deal at a $4.6 million cap hit for who was thought to be the second-best D-man behind Suter, but the years for a guy with one solid season under his belt didn’t have me clamoring for Bowman to make a move.
Matt Carle? He waited for Suter to sign before taking a 6-year, $33 million deal from Tampa Bay. I would be surprised if Bowman even made an offer close to that for Carle, who was basically the third-best defenseman and a last-ditch option for teams after Suter and Garrison were off the market. Carle may have been a decent fit, but for the length and money, Bowman did best to stay away.
Former 40-goal scorer Alexander Semin is still available, and there’s a chance Bowman makes an offer as a Plan B to add a scorer. However, the years and dollars would have to be right considering the amount of cash he’ll likely be looking to get. Semin made $6.7 million on a one-year deal with Washington last season, and though his 21 goals were his fewest since returning to the NHL in 2006, it’s unlikely he’ll take a pay cut.
I’m sure most of us didn’t think the Blackhawks would be heading into the fifth day of free agency with only Sheldon Brookbank being added, but that’s the case – and Bowman doesn’t seem too worried. It might be plain optimism, but neither am I.
“Our objective isn’t to make a splash, it’s to win hockey games. It’s not like we have seven holes to fill. Last year’s team had 101 points, and I think there was a lot more to give even if we brought back the exact same roster. There were ways to be better with that group.”
There are others on the market through free agency and trade, so it’s wait-and-see time with the ‘Hawks for now – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
About the author
Editor/founder of Cheer the Anthem, season ticket holder in Section 326 and full-time sports writer who lists June 9, 2010, as one of the greatest days of his life. Contact him at email@example.com.