This is usually where I would bring you today’s headlines — but really, today’s headlines aren’t much different than last night’s, so I’m bringing you something a little different today: A Runs On Duncan Special Presentation.
(All special presentations should start off with that video. Always.)
The trade deadline is coming upon us fast, Blackhawks fans, and if you haven’t noticed — the team’s struggling a bit. This may lead you or people you love to fly into a panic and ask — no, DEMAND — change from Stan Bowman, the Blackhawks’ GM. And while that’s all well and good, there are certain ways to discuss trades without making you look like a foaming-at-the-mouth crazy person. Here are some things to remember when you do start playing armchair GM. These aren’t hard and fast rules, mind you, but people will take you more seriously if you keep these things in mind.
1. Never Listen To Eklund. Ever.
Who’s Eklund? @Eklund is the founder and CEO of HockeyBuzz.com. On Twitter, however, he’s “that guy who always puts out trade rumors as if they’re fact.” See, Eklund has “sources.” These “sources” tell him things, and he runs onto Twitter to report them as if these things are going to really happen, you guys. What actually happens is that 97% of these things are wrong. In fact, I’ve only seen one instance where he broke the news of a trade correctly in the almost three years I’ve been following him. (Why do I keep following him? I think he’s unintentionally hilarious.) He gets trade rumors right like Jack Skille scores goals. If you retweet him for anything besides pointing out how ridiculous he is, you’re either new here (which is okay — it’s a rookie mistake to think that Eklund is credible) or incredibly gullible (which is not okay, and why I’m here to help you).
To see what the hockey world thinks of Eklund, look no further than this Bloge Salming video:
2. Versteeg, Ladd, and Byfuglien (and your favorite ex-Blackhawk) are not coming back.
No, we can’t trade Brouwer and Kopecky for Big Buff.
No, we’re not trading Skille for Versteeg.
It’s not happening.
I get it. Everyone wants to bring the old band back together. They all helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 49 years. I understand that we still have some lingering affection for these guys, and that’s fine. But to suggest that we should trade our future for a nostalgia trip is, frankly, even more depressing than seeing these guys go off and be awesome (or, in Versteeg’s case, tolerable) on other teams. Besides, there’s a reason we got rid of these guys, and it’s called the salary cap. So we’d have to trade even MORE of our future to try to reclaim the past, and that’s not going to happen.
None of these guys want to take a step backwards in their career. Andrew Ladd is now the captain of the Atlanta Thrashers and is second overall on the team in scoring. The first? Dustin Byfuglien, who is having a career year in Atlanta (and obviously enjoys being a defenseman better than being a forward). And do you think Kris (oh, excuse me — Kristopher) Versteeg wants to give up living in Toronto, the hockey mecca of the world, where all the attention is focused on him?
So, please, for your own sake, stop it. It’ll save you more heartache in the end.
3. Bowman has a core group of players — Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, and Brent Seabrook. They’re (probably) not going anywhere.
Think that Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook suck and will continue to suck forever? Think that Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa are never going to score again? Isn’t it time to get rid of these losers and get someone who will play for us for a couple of months before signing with San Jose or something?
Now do you see how ridiculous people sound when they suggest trading these guys? They’re not going anywhere, because Stan Bowman has identified them as the “untouchables” — the seven players he was not willing to part with during trade talks at the end of last season. He considered these guys the core of the team, and while you can debate Dave Bolland’s inclusion in this group today, you can rest assured that Bowman isn’t going to part with him lightly.
Yes, most of these guys are slumping this year. Getting rid of them isn’t going to solve that problem. In fact, it multiplies problems for the Blackhawks in the long run, because, inevitably, we’d have to face these guys on the ice.
And when these guys are on their game? Well, let’s just be happy they’re on our side.
Now I’m not saying that you can’t go into flights of fancy about how we could trade Bolland or Seabrook for half of the Bruins, for example — just realize that it’s probably not going to happen.
4. Niklas Hjalmarsson isn’t going anywhere, because he can’t.
No, really. Why? It all goes back to the Blackhawks matching the offer sheet last summer to keep Hjalmarsson here instead of going to San Jose. One of the rules is that, when a team matches an offer sheet, the player is now untradeable for one year. So Hjalmarsson is staying here.
5. Brian Campbell isn’t going anywhere, either, because his contract makes him unmovable.
Poor Soupy. No matter how great he plays (and he has been pretty great this year — definitely our most consistent, hard-working defenseman), everyone wants to get rid of him because his cap hit is ginormous — a whopping $7.14 million a year. But ask yourself this — if you don’t want to deal with his cap hit, why do you think any other GM would?
Like it or lump it, Soupy is here to stay for a while. You might as well learn to tolerate him, at least. Because he’s good.
6. The goalies aren’t the problem.
I thought we had moved past blaming Turco for everything, but obviously some people still refuse to believe that Turco isn’t the root of all evil and think that trading him (for whom, exactly?) will solve all of our problems forever.
I refuse to even acknowledge people like this in a rational way.
Besides, Turco has a no-movement clause in his contract, so he’s here until the end of the year.
7. So who do I think is on the trading block?
Quite simply, any of the guys pictured above.
Does that mean that I think that all of these guys are being equally considered for trades? Absoultely not. Out of all of them, I believe that Troy Brouwer and Nick Leddy will be least considered as trade bait. Brouwer is our most physical presence (176 hits as of right now), and Leddy is considered as the d-man of the Blackhawks’ future. So they’ll most likely be here past March 1st. Most likely to be traded? Jack Skille or Viktor Stalberg. Skille is high-energy, but lacks a scoring touch. Stalberg is at the end of his entry-level contract, and I’m not sure if we’ve seen anything from him that would make Stan Bowman consider keeping him signed past this season.
Hopefully, when you settle down and start discussing trades with other Blackhawks fans, you will keep these suggestions in mind and try to behave a little less like the sky is falling. Because it really isn’t.