leddy

 

Well then, that was quite the 48 hour period, wasn’t it? With a devastating left/right combo the Hawks’ management landed a knockout blow square on the chin of any fans who had lingering hopes that this was the most progressive organisation in hockey. Dan Carcillo is back, Nick Leddy is gone, Peter Regin is on his way out via waivers and two of the brightest prospects are back in the AHL. And now? Now the Hawks are finally cap-compliant, but at what cost?

 

There’s not much to be said about Daniel “Gorilla Salad” Carcillo that hasn’t been addressed, far more eloquently, by Sam at the Committed Indian or Slak at Hockeenight. I will add this, though: at the beginning of his last stint in Chicago it seemed that there might be hope for Gorilla Salad. He was partnered with Kane and Hossa and was actually useful, prinicipally because he cut most of the bullshit out of his game. Then the Gilbert incident happened and he didn’t start many more games and then he was gone. Now he appears to have been brought back precisely because of the borderline bullshit that he’s not, in fact, very good at. He and Q were gleefully rolling in outdated, testosterone-laced “Enforcer” talk like  shaggy dogs in a fresh cowflop.

He brings nothing, he’ll play five minutes a night while Jeremy Morin contemplates self-immolation in the press box and the only silver lining is that he’ll likely hurt himself or someone else fairly soon and injury or suspension will get him out of the picture for a while.

In between the return of Gorilla Salad and the trade of Leddy, we had the curious news that Peter Regin, Michael Leighton, Teuvo Teravainen and Klas Dahlbeck had been assigned to Rockford.  This seems bizarre: Regin, who recently signed a new 1 year deal at excellent value, has shown himself to be a very useful player in his limited opportunities. Now he’s almost certainly going to be claimed from waivers. Regin could play wing or center on either of the bottom two lines and his $$$ fit the bill.  But Q has taken a dislike to him, for whatever reason, and that’s that.

Dahlbeck was one of the stars of the preseason by all accounts and, according to sources (as reported by Jay Zawaski) was considered the 6th Defenseman for the Hawks (and this while Leddy was, officially anyway, still in Chicago). Now he’s headed back down to Hogtown.  Teuvo was always likely to start in Rockford, and they can’t afford him now, anyway.

This, of course, was merely the curtain raiser for the trade that we knew was coming since Leddy’s healthy scratch in New York. After a false start the news that Leddy had been traded to the Isles broke and was met with a collective sorrowful sigh. I’m not really inclined to get into a debate about Leddy’s qualities: I’m fully aware that not everyone liked him. Personally, I thought he was an excellent young player who has been handled badly by his coach. Deployed correctly, Leddy was one hell of a weapon to have in the arsenal, something that many other GMs and fans in the league could recognise. All of which makes this a sad end and one that should have been unneccesary.

The return was nothing to get too excited about, either: Ville Pokka is a very promising young defensive prospect, but that’s hardly the most pressing organisational need right now. TJ Brennan will either be claimed off waivers or land in Rockford and goalie Anders Nilsson is in the K and has never played in the NHL.

Of course, the return was never going to be value because a) everyone knows that Bowman is over a barrel and b) the cap situation means no salary can come back. But you have to feel, in a defensive FA market as utterly putrid as this summers’, that more could have been had. Some folk are suggesting that buyers couldn’t be found for Roszival or Oduya which, for the above reason, I find hard to believe. Whatever the reasons, the Hawks have gone from having a highly adaptable and dangerous defensive corps to a “Top four and some guys” set up. This is a step back by anyone’s reckoning.

So, where does that leave us?

As of this writing, the final roster cuts have yet to be made but it seems the shine is off MANSHITTER in Q’s eyes so he’ll likely be waived when healthy. Joakim Nordstrom would be my bet to be brought up to replace him. Apparently TVR is the apple of Q’s beady little eyes. Got some bad news for you Joel: you can’t afford him right now. TVR, like Teravainen (and Pokka, for that matter) make $925k and the Hawks don’t have that much space, provided they go with a 23 man roster. So Kyle Cumiskey will be your 7th Defenseman.

Rhetorical question, but doesn’t this all seem a bit bloody stupid? The Hawks are in the middle of an arms race with the other Western powerhouses and they had the opportunity to ice a roster built for speed, efficiency and scoring threat. However, Quenneville, for whatever petulant reason he has in his head, has demanded his “Grit” and “Sandpaper”  despite the mountains of evidence that the time for that is passing, if not gone. He’s got it, at the cost of weakening his depth and creating yet more of a bottleneck among the prospects who are going to be needed really, really soon because the Cap constraints aren’t going anywhere.

I know this is “First World Problems” but the rest of the Hawks’ rivals in the West have all improved this offseason. The Hawks have taken a step backward to negate the step forward that was Brad Richards’ signing. On such tiny margins, as we should remember from last season, are Championships decided.