I’d like to take a look at what the Chicago Blackhawks have done in this years free agent frenzy. Personally, I think that the moves they have made are positives across the board.
Having addressed the biggest weakness from the previous season, that being the defensive side of things, through trades prior to the deadline, the Blackhawks went out and got themselves a 1B goaltender in Vezina finalist Robin Lehner. If (when) Corey Crawford gets injured, they now have someone capable between the pipes, someone with NHL experience. The trickle down effect will potentially be substantial, allowing younger goalies Kevin Lankinen and Collin Delia to dominate at the AHL level. The fact this is only a one year deal for Lehner makes it even better for the organization. Both Crawford and Lehner are set to be UFA’s at the end of the season. They are both playing for contracts. Hopefully they both play well and leave the Blackhawks with a tough decision to make.
The Hawks also signed two forwards in Ryan Carpenter and David Kampf. Both contracts carry a million dollar cap hit, Carpenter for three years, Kampf for two. Again, these moves are not the flashiest but they are solid, depth moves. Carpenter does a lot of things right on the ice, especially in the faceoff circle, an area the Blackhawks always need help in. Kampf knows the system and has fit in nicely in a bottom six role.
This season, the free agency period has been one of restraint for Hawks management but don’t forget they had already signed Domink Kubalik and Anton Wedin so the new faces are piling up. Along with trades for Olli Maata and Calvin De Haan, the new look Blackhawks are shaping up to once again be a contender in the west.
Thanks for following along and taking the time to read my thoughts. You can find me on Twitter @fiveminutemajor.