Once Ryan Kesler was traded to Anaheim it seemed obvious that the Blackhawks were going to look for a bargain center on the free agent market. Sure, Jason Spezza was there to be had if they truly wanted him, but he also brought with him a $7 million cap hit that would require a lot of roster shuffling.
On Tuesday, the first day of NHL free agency, the Blackhawks found a solution that just made too much sense not to do.
Tonight the Stanley Cup Final begins and the Blackhawks aren’t in it. That means the offseason has officially begun for Stan Bowman, and there will be changes made to the roster before next season kicks off. What those changes will be, we don’t really know just yet.
Maybe you didn’t notice it on Wednesday night against the Rangers, but Marcus Kruger got some time as the second-line center with Patrick Kane. Well, on Thursday it was announced that Kruger would be on the second line with Kane again against Montreal on Saturday, as Quenneville said he’s going to get a shot at the job.
While Patrick Kane will be the only Blackhawk to play for the United States in the Olympics next month, he’s far from the only Olympian on the team. That’s a photo of all of our Olympians above, and I suppose it’s a good thing to have so many great players on your team.
Of course, there’s a flip side to that. While many NHL players will spend the Olympic break actually taking a break, just about every important player on the Blackhawks roster will be playing hockey. And when you’re playing hockey there is the inherent risk of injury of both the lower and upper body varieties. I won’t pretend that this doesn’t worry me because the Blackhawks are one injury away from this season going in a very different direction.
Just ask the Bulls how that works.
So while I can’t wait for the Olympics to get started — the Winter Olympics are far and away my favorite variety of Olympics — I can’t wait for them to be over, with everybody all in one piece.