It's clear the Hawks have needs. Serious needs. One had been addressed in a minor fashion by the acquisition of Johnny Oduya at the deadline but we lost two quality picks in a Draft deeper than this year's. (And this year we have one hell of a draft class.) These are the things that must be fixed by the start of next season if we have a chance in 2012-13.
Crawford will not cut it this year. He just won't. I'm like an endangered species on these boards: I think Crow will turn into a third-year Howard, possibly. But until that happens we are left to assume that he will suck for the good majority of the remainder of his career. I do believe Emery will be our goaltender town the stretch. Whether he gets re-signed or not remains a mystery. Regardless, I think we have SERIOUS issues in goal. What is a possible solution to this problem???
#2 C -
Ah, remember the good ol' days when we had a 2C? Cause I don't. Morrison as a 2C scares me. Kruger as a 2C scares me. More than half the time he's taken up a spot on the roster Morrison has been a healthy scratch. Bowman has failed to attend to this issue and it's going to catch up with the hawks and bite them in the derriere if they don't hurry up and get somebody. Solutions and when will it be fixed?
Defense and Special Teams -
Sa-curity! Sa-curity! *points at Mike Kitchen* Need to go. He needs to go. Need to go. Boy, I will CUT you! That's how it would go if Bon Qui Qui ran the Blackhawks. If that were what she would do, I would want Bon Qui Qui to run the Blackhawks. The so-called "genius" behind the defensive scheme and the PK has shown nothing at all in his time in Chicago. I think the first step is to fire him and get back whoever the heck they had in 2010. The defense has tightened up, but remember that 6-1 game vs. St. Louis? Yeah, I do too. It was like, less than a week ago. So unless you have the memory of a goldfish with Alzheimer's then you realize what I'm talking about here. What are some other solutions to the problem and when will it be attended to?
So, go ahead and tell me what you think. Come up with some other problems and possible solutions.
Kane is definitely playing better as a center than he has all year at right wing. With Toews coming back, they need to keep Kane as the 2nd line center between Sharp and Hayes. The 1st line should be Hossa, Toews and Stalberg as they have had great chemistry together. Or switch Hossa and Sharp. The 3rd line would be Shaw/Bolland/Kruger with the 4th line of Bickell/Mayers/Bollig. The defense are playing much better but need to tighten up a bit more. The only real weakness that needs to be addressed is goaltending unless Crawford can get his confidence and game back in time for the playoffs and if he doesn't and Emery goes down with an injury the Hawks will be in big trouble.
THIS is a mediocre team who have scored only 3 goals more than they have given up ....true goaltending is not elite but "good enough" with EMERY (not Crawford) IF we scored EVEN MORE and IF we GAVE UP A LOT LESS via better team defense and PK...
WE could score EVEN MORE if: i) PP was better and ii) the CORE scored to the $$$ paid them -but alas we foumd a year where KANE was of his "expected" normal pace and the #1 and #2 highly paid D-men also did not contribute enough on offense...
OVERALL the CORE still did not do enough for what we paid them ...
Addressing needs will also be affected by cap issues..this year we both did not spend to the cap and so missed out on either another better player /scorer or a better defenseman to have all year instead of waiting dor oduya at trade deadline
--this cost us GAMES LOST ...
LONGER -TERM we need to draft :
. an ELITE projected goalie ...or get lucky with other goalies we draft after round one or already in the system...Right now nobody would project Kent Simpson,Mac Carruth or Johan Mattsson as "elite" goalie prospects BUT Carter Hutton is making a name for himsself in Rockford with his late season comptency...HIs save % is upto 917 now on an otherwise unlikely to make the playoffs squad..
SO we might get a chance in round one to grab VASILVSKI or DANSK (Malcolm Subban's play in the 2nd half after returning in February from a groin injury has regressed to the point he probably won't go in the first round now).... IF the Hawks do not take a goalie in round 1 ,maybe they grab big JON GILLIES in round 2 --but there is no assurance he will last to their 2nd rounder even though most ranking lists have him only near the end of round 2...So a bit of a gambit if the hawks go for another posituin in round one hoping gillies there in round two...
. Missing 2C ---Hawks have MCNEILL,DANAULT, and K. HAYES in the system but
no one would bet the house any of them is the "solution" better than Kane for a 2C at this point or perhaps at any time if they don't develop more...
NOR will the Hawks drafting likely 19-21 range likely get such a projectable 2C
there that late in round one.
. HOWEVER -they MIGHT grab a 3c who is : BIGGER, TOUGHER, BETTER DEFENSIVELY and BETTER at FACE-OFFS,MORE INTENSE,BETTER HITTER,BONUS CAN FIGHT ,and probably scores just as much as DAVE BOLLAND .....that kid is not ranked for round one or even round 2 on most lists--but given the whole package he does bring plus his bloodlines --the Hawks nEED to look seriously at Centre LUKAS SUTTER ----for all the reasons i've listed above ...
If they do not combine for great first rounder "VALUE" and certainty with all those check boxes ticked off then I don't know what a first rounder value would be except a shot in the dark ....MANY 19-21 draft picks NEVER will impact much --so when you can see SAFE PICK/CERTAINTY and check all the boxes off that are clear NEEDS
--then you re crazy to bypass the opportunity to grab it before some other team takes him well before he is "supposed " to go off the board... Maybe he doesn't project for the top 2 lines BUT he could change the entire identity of a team from soft and easily pushed and complacent to intense,tough to play against and COMPETENT defensively and in the face-off dot... PLUS he is a SUTTER---the character speaks for itself.
SO what would YOU DO?
. take the best goalie you might never get another chance at for years OR dismiss any Jr. goalie in the first round as a ppie in the sky "hope" for eliteness and instead WAIT anmd hope you get the 3rd or 4th ranked goalie "target" later in round 2 and thus GRAB off the centre with size,toughness, character,intensity,a good shot, can kill on Pk ,CAN WIN FACE-OFFS,CAN FIGHT and PROTECT--all this in a cENTRE -who may even be NHL ready given his defense-first entality ---OR follow some idiotic rankimg list to take a pig in a poke on some alleged BPA your guys have next on thier list who "COULD" develop into the next great (fil in the blank---top six scorer,top six power forward.pmd, or SAH D-man)...
I think I'll wait to see if VASILEVSKI or DANSK sparkles at the World U-18--if not then surely grab SUTTER even if his role will only be as 3rd line centre-but it would allow a trade of Bolland and cap savings to plough back into another position..