Category Archives: Trade

Thoughts on Brandon Pirri, the Tallon link and what’s become of the Hawks’ center depth

Pirri_Brandon_IceHogs_Flickr_ToddReicher_2014Feb21_WolvesBrandon Pirri handles the puck in his second-to-last home game as a member of the Rockford IceHogs vs Chicago, February 21, 2014
photo: Todd Reicher, courtesy of Rockford IceHogs

By Chris Block

I recall day two of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal.  Then Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon strained to holdback his excitement when talking to media types after drafting Toronto native, Brandon Pirri with the third-to-last pick in the second round of that draft.

“Terrific skills,” were the first Tallon gave when asked about Pirri.  “He’s really a good hockey player.  We’re very happy that we got him there.  It’s the old adage, ‘(we) can’t believe he was still there.’”

Pirri had just turned 18 two months prior and was a relatively untested commodity upon entering the draft, having stuck to the Canadian junior B level after committing to join Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in the fall of 2009.

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Blackhawks re-acquire Michal Handzus, send Brandon Bollig back to Rockford; More roster notes

MichaelHandzus_Flow

By Chris Block

Chicago Blackhawks on Monday acquired center Michal Handzus from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a fourth round selection in the upcoming 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

In 28 games this season with the Sharks, Handzus posted 1 goal and 1 assist.  He was a minus-9 while playing mostly third and fourth line minutes for the Sharks.

The pick the Blackhawks sent San Jose had originally belonged to the Sharks.  At the 2012 Draft, the Hawks and Sharks swapped 4th round picks, so the Sharks could move up and the Hawks could pick up an additional 7th round selection.  That later pick, obtained from San Jose, originally belonged to Tampa Bay which the Sharks obtained in a trade involving center Dominic Moore.  Chicago used the additional 2012 7th round pick (191st overall) to select goaltender Brandon Whitney of the Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL), the same team Phillip Danault played for at the time.

Handzus turned 36 last month.  This will be his second stint with the Blackhawks organization.  He is now the second-oldest Blackhawk behind Jamal Mayers, who is 38.

Michal Handzus previously spent the 2006-07 season with the Blackhawks, appearing in only 8 games in October of 2006 before knee surgery ended his season.  Read more »

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Blackhawks trade for goalie Karlsson, send him to Rockford; Carter Hutton uncertainty; Flick could get minimum of 6 games

By Chris Block

On Monday, the Chicago Blackhawks traded a 7th round draft pick in 2013 to the Calgary Flames in exchange for 29-year old goaltender Henrik Karlsson.

The Stockholm, Sweden native served as Miikka Kiprusoff’s backup in Calgary during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.  Over that span, Karlsson appeared in 26 games posting a record of 5-9-8 with a 90.5% save percentage and a 2.79 goals against average.  Karlson was 1-4-2 last season in Calgary.  His only victory came on the final day of the regular season and he posted a 3.17 GAA and 90.0% save percentage in his nine appearances overall.

The Blackhawks then immediately assigned Karlsson to their AHL affiliate, Rockford IceHogs.  The pick used by Chicago general manager Stan Bowman in this deal is one he had previously acquired from Ottawa on December 2, 2011 when the Blackhawks traded forward Rob Klinkhammer (who was struggling mightily in Rockford at the time) to the Senators for a 7th round pick.

The 6 foot 6 inch Henrik Karlsson is expected to be in Rockford this week and suited up for the IceHogs next game on Friday when Rockford plays host to the Chicago Wolves.

We’ll know more soon, but it seems as though there is concern Rockford has an immediate need for a dependable AHL goaltender.

Karlsson joins Carter Hutton, 27, and Alec Richards, 25, on the IceHogs roster. Read more »

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Hawks pickup Oduya, Move Scott; Recall Shaw, Bollig

By Chris Block

The lone addition Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks made before Monday’s 2pm central trade deadline was mobile defenseman Johnny Oduya.

Oduya, 30, comes to the Hawks from the Winnipeg Jets at the price of a 2nd and 3rd round draft choice in the 2013 NHL Draft.  He is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The six-foot 190 pound Stockholm native was playing third pair minutes in Winnipeg averaging 19 minutes per game.  In 63 games played, Oduya had 2 goals, 11 assists and was a minus-9.

Oduya’s biggest asset is his skating.  His addition and impact on the Blackhawks will be strikingly similar to how Chris Campoli fit in after he was acquired at last season’s trade deadline.  Campoli’s addition was regarded as underwhelming at the time, but he did skate some big minutes for the Hawks. Read more »

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Blackhawks trade Connelly to Calgary for Morrison

By Chris Block

As expected, Stan Bowman pulled the trigger on his first deal well-ahead of the February 27th trade deadline, sending defense prospect Brian Connelly to the Calgary Flames in exchange for veteran center Brendan Morrison.

“He’s a centerman and he’s got a long pedigree of being a good offensive performer,” Stan Bowman said speaking about Morrison on the team’s web site.  “I think having that experience and that ability gives us a lot of options depending on where Joel wants to use him.”

Morrison, 36, has spent the past season and a half with the Flames.  Chicago will be Morrison’s sixth NHL stop in five seasons.  The 5-11 center was drafted out of the University of Michigan by the New Jersey Devils but would move on to spend parts of 8 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks (2000-08).  Morrison was traded in March of 2000 to the Canucks for Alexander Mogilny.

The Blackhawks get a center who can set the table for skilled wingers while being defensively responsible.  While falling down the Flames’ depth chart, Morrison was averaging 13 minutes per night and winning 50.3% of his face offs this season. Read more »

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Hawks shed more salary, Trade Reasoner to Tallon

Today, general manager Stan Bowman afforded himself a little extra breathing room under the salary cap by trading centreman Marty Reasoner to the Florida Panthers in exchange for minor-league forward Jeff Taffe.

The transaction marks the first between Bowman and his prior mentor, Dale Tallon, new GM in Florida.

Our Blackhawks depth chart and salary cap tracker have been updated.

As it turns out, Reasoner, who was acquired in the June 23rd trade with Atlanta which sent Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and 2007-2nd round draft choice Akim Aliu to the Thrashers, will leave the Hawks having never played a game with the organization.

Reasoner is scheduled to earn $1.15M this season and his cap hit of $1.2M is now off Chicago’s books.

The interesting part of the deal comes in the terms of Jeff Taffe’s contract.  Taffe played 61 of his 82 regular season games, while with the Panthers’ organization, with the Rochester Americans in the AHL.  In the first year of his two-season deal with the Panthers, Taffe was paid at a rate of $105,000 in the AHL (figures provided by CapGeek.com), and $500,000 in his 21 games with the NHL club.

For the 2010-11 season, however, Taffe’s contract calls for him to be paid $600,000 whether he plays in the NHL or the minors.

Taffe posted 1 goal and 1 assist in those 21 games with the Panthers as a fourth line forward mostly.

In Reasoner, the Panthers get another dependable, versatile forward.  Tallon has focused on improving his depth up front since the draft and does further with this trade.  Reasoner, 33, is also a veteran with an expiring contract.  Reasoner will cost the Panthers $600,000 more than Taffe, however, Reasoner is a NHL-er, while Taffe isn’t likely to scratch an NHL ice surface aside from possible stints as an injury replacement.

Today’s trade served purposes on both sides.  The Blackhawks cut a few dollars under their salary cap in hopes of fitting new contracts for Antti Niemi, Bryan Bickell and Jordan Hendry under the cap maximum, while the Panthers cut salary expenses aimed for their AHL team.

As noted here before, the Blackhawks right now are concerned with two CBA related salary cap encumbrances – the $59.4M salary cap they have to be under prior to opening night of the 2010-11 season, and the $65.34M summer ceiling (the cap max + 10% summer cushion).

Per our calculations, the Blackhawks now have approximately $60.5M allocated to 17 players for the upcoming season.  This includes Cristobal Huet and Kyle Beach.  Without Huet, the Hawks are at $54.875M and have roughly $4.525M to spend on the last six open roster spots.  Or, $754,000 per available roster spot.

In some shape or form, Huet will come off the cap before opening night.  However, he cannot be assigned to Rockford until October.  Thus, his $5.625M cap hit does figure into the salary cap equation until his situation is resolved.  Hence, the Blackhawks currently have $4.84M of that “summer cushion” to play with and stay within the constraints of the CBA.

For the sake of argument, let’s stick to the non-Huet scenario.  The Hawks have $4.525M available to spend on six roster slots.  One being the second goalie position.  If Niemi signs with a cap hit of, let’s pick a number, $2.25M, this would leave $2.275M with five spots open.  That’s an average of $455,000 per player and since the league minimum is $500,000, the numbers still don’t add up.  Corey Crawford‘s cap hit alone is $800,000, and he will replace Huet’s vacated roster spot.  If it comes down to it, the cap could be Crawford’s nemesis yet again.  Hannu Toivonen is a quarter of a million more affordable at $550,000.

Stay tuned.  Today won’t be Bowman’s last rotation of the cap-shredder.  Whether Niemi stays or not is ultimately irrelevant to the bigger cap solution.  Unless Bowman resolves to defend the Stanley Cup with a Crawford and Toivonen as his goaltending tandem, another significant contract has to depart.

ChrisBlock@TheThirdManIn.com

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