Monday, August 2, 2010
So will the Chicago Black Hawks be any good?
Eight of the twenty players that dressed for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final are gone: Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg, John Madden, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, Nick Boynton and goaltender Antti Niemi. Cristobal Huet might be on his way out too if it's true that the team will bury his contract in the AHL or KHL. Also gone are healthy scratches Adam Burish and Colin Fraser.
That's a lot of turnover for a championship team. But while yes, there are some impressive players included in that mix, but only Byfuglien was a top 6 forward while Versteeg has top 6 talent. Ladd was an excellent role player and Niemi is now a Cup winning goalie. But they are all replaceable.
The Hawks won't have as much depth but their core of players is still outstanding. Stan Bowman has hung onto Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brian Campbell. That is an awful lot of talent for the top 10. Niemi has already been replaced by Marty Turco who may not be the same Turco he was years ago, but he should be able to give Chicago steady goaltending - which is all Niemi did.