Hawk Talk: Blackhawks trade Ladd to Thrashers

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Hawk Talk: Blackhawks trade Ladd to Thrashers

Thursday, July 1, 2010
4:16 PM

By Chris Boden
CSNChicago.com

Turns out Stan Bowman may not have been done Wednesday night. Maybe now he is, with restricted free agent Andrew Ladd headed to Atlanta for defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and a 2nd round pick.

Fans are hoping Bowman is ready to start adding bodies again after stating last weekend he believed he didnt necessarily need to make more trades, while giving them fair warning all along of the difficult decisions that lay ahead amidst all the Cup celebrations.

Difficult, indeed. The General Manager was confident about keeping his two other restricted players Antti Niemi and Niklas Hjalmarsson during Wednesday nights conference call announcing the trade of Kris Versteeg to Toronto.

Those were the only two names specifically mentioned, however, and not Ladds. Whether it was a case of contract numbers with the Ladd camp being exchanged or not, the departures of Byfuglien, Eager, now Ladd, and perhaps Adam Burish, as well, creates a definite need for size and physical presence moving forward. Top 2008 draft pick Kyle Beach may be ticketed to provide some of that after an outstanding season in the WHL. Heading towards late Thursday afternoon, the Hawks two main unrestricted free agents Burish & John Madden -- were still on the market, with signs seemingly pointed east. New Jersey was believed to be one of the teams in contact with Burish, but the Devils and other teams were sorting out their own financial situations. New Jersey had just signed defensemen Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder to mega-deals, after losing Paul Martin to Pittsburgh, which also signed Zbynek Michalek away from Phoenix.

One of the additional challenges facing Bowman and the Hawks: the bonuses from winning the Stanley Cup have to be counted against this years Salary Cap meaning the Hawks cap is actually about 55 million. Theyve now shed about 10 million, not counting whatever is done with Cristobal Huets 5.6 million salary next season.

Blackhawks: Tommy Wingels fractures foot, will be ready for training camp

Blackhawks: Tommy Wingels fractures foot, will be ready for training camp

Tommy Wingels, who the Blackhawks acquired earlier this month, will miss 6-8 weeks after suffering a left-foot fracture during his offseason training. Team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement that the Blackhawks, “anticipate a full recovery in 6-8 weeks and in time for training camp. We do not anticipate any long-term issues.”

The Blackhawks signed Wingels, a Wilmette native, to a one-year deal on July 1. Wingels will still be at this weekend’s convention.

Why Blackhawks fans might want to tap the brakes on Alex DeBrincat

Why Blackhawks fans might want to tap the brakes on Alex DeBrincat

This is public service announcement regarding Alex DeBrincat and his potential this season with the Blackhawks:

Tap the brakes.

We’ve relayed this address a few times the past few seasons, most notably with Teuvo Teravainen as people eagerly anticipated his professional debut. We’re pretty sure when he was recalled for the first time, exultant trumpets played faintly in the background. But it bears repeating now with DeBrincat, who might or might not do fantastic things right out of training camp.

This warning, however, comes not only because DeBrincat might not be ready for the grand stage play-wise. It’s also because the Blackhawks might not have room for him.

Take a look at CapFriendly.com for the Blackhawks’ current situation: As they enter the fall they’re roughly $35,000 over the $75 million salary cap, but it’s not so much about money as it is the roster setup. There are 22 players currently listed on the Blackhawk’s CapFriendly roster, but only five defensemen. Also, of the 14 forwards listed, only one could be sent to Rockford without going through waivers (Nick Schmaltz).

So if there’s no room for DeBrincat, don’t be surprised.

Still, it’s going to be interesting to see what DeBrincat does at training camp this fall. You understand why the hype is there. DeBrincat is coming off three stellar seasons with the Erie Otters, with whom he had 127 points (65 goals, 62 assists) last season. DeBrincat is hopeful that a strong training camp could lead to opportunity, but he understands it might not be right away.

“I’m confident in my abilities,” DeBrincat said. “But they have a plan for me and I’ll do whatever they want me to do. I’ll stick with their plan.”

But the Blackhawks will take the slow-and steady approach with him as they did with past younger players. He’s only 19 years old, so there’s no need to rush his development. Playing time in the American Hockey League could be very beneficial for him as he makes the jump from the OHL to the pros. As former Otters coach Kris Knoblauch said earlier this summer, dealing with bigger and stronger players at this level is going to be the toughest hurdle for DeBrincat.

“It’s not that he’s afraid; he’s very good at battles. But just playing against the opposition, against five strong, fast players and just finding out how much time he has, where the room is,” Knoblauch said in early June. “One-on-one battles in our league, there are strong guys and he does fairly well. But when you have a unit of guys, it makes the game a little more difficult.”

DeBrincat will have his time with the Blackhawks. It just might not be right away, and for several reasons, including the current roster setup. So let’s tap the brakes. For now, anyway.