Unless you’re one of the seventeen true NHL diehards who is still tuned into league news a full ten days after Lord Stanley has been hoisted, you may not know that this weekend is the NHL Draft.  Much like the recent baseball draft, the NHL amatuer selection process is harder to get into because we don’t have a lot of exposure to most of the names that will be called Friday night and Saturday morning, and we most likely won’t see them again for another few years until they get called up to the league from their respective college, Junior, or minor league affiliate.  That’s ok though because the NHL, more so than any other league, uses the Draft as an opportunity to revamp ones entire team, not just restock the farm system.  It was at this time last year that the Kings acquired Mike Richards, the Hawks moved Troy Brouwer & Brian Campbell, and the whole league essentially reshuffled their deck. 

With all that said I arrived at work this morning with the following email in my Inbox from my buddy B-Rad.  B-Rad is easily the biggest Hawks fan I know in the sense that he’ll have an opinion the following morning about how to improve the power play after they play a late game in Edmonton on a Tuesday in December.  He’s dedicated to the cause.  The following email spawned the text-fest below it and by the time we were done I was ready for lunch.  By all accounts it was a great way to spend a Thursday morning.  The NHL, it’s faaaaannnnnnntastic!

B-Rad:  Hi Chi-Guy.  Hockey , me likey.

Chi-Guy:  Love the idea, very skeptical that it would happen though

B-Rad: http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/John-Jaeckel/Hellz-A-Poppin/128/45085

Chi-Guy: That dude takes a lot of words to say nothing.  It’s pretty impressive how much he can type while simultaneously massaging Stan Bowman’s scrotum.  I’m a fan of the Suter plan but they’ll need to move Hammer to do it and everyone in the league knows it.  So much for any leverage in his trade value.  They should have waiting on the Oduya signing to save money until they knew if they could get Suter or not.  They’re probably regretting that three year Frolik deal from last summer ($2.3M/year for 2 more years) as well.

B-Rad: I’m just excited to hear news.  I’m glued to the internet the next couple of days to hear the moves around the league.  LA made some big moves last year at this time and I think other organizations will follow suit this year.  I would love love love to see Kane leave.  Love it!  And if we could get Bobby Ryan I would have the biggest boner.  Just letting you know.  I know it’s a lot of smoke screens and fals information at this point but this shit gets me wet.  Again, just letting you know that.

Chi-Guy: It’s fun sure.  Unfortunately aside from Hossa, Bowman has been pretty conservative and all about growing from within while signing fringe free agents to fill roles.  The kind of changes proposed here would be a pretty dramatic shift from the norm.  FYI… Watch out for Detroit this weekend.  They have boku bucks and are looking at Zack Parise (New Jersey’s #1 center and captain) and Shea Weber (top five defenseman in the league).  If that happens we’re f’ed for the next ten years again.

B-Rad: I know, that’s why we need big boner Bobby Ryan.  And a defenseman.  I do believe Weber will stay though.  Nashville is really far below the salary cap and they need to spend ~$20M to get up there (*note – the NHL has both a salary cap and floor meaning every team must spend a minimum ($48.3M in 2011-12) to ensure some degree of competitive balance).  “The Norm”… If things are not working, drastic change needs to happen.  If not it is insanity – insert definition of insanity here.  We are riding on the assumption the Crawford was in a slump and that our defense shit the bed last year.  That’s a scary assumption if those things happen again.  Where are we left if in the middle of the season there’s no one to pickup without moving someone you really need?  The time to act is now, not when you are desperate.  That’s when teams take advantage of you.  You will lose more than you gain.

Chi-Guy: Right, but everyone just saw a #8 seed win the Cup and thought to themselves, “all we need to do is make the playoffs & who knows what will happen…”  Thus they’re less willing to part with anything of value while everyone’s record is 0-0. 

3 minutes later…

For the record I would do the Kane for Ryan deal you mentioned as well as Jesse Rogers’ Bolland+Saad to Pittsburgh for Jordan Staal proposed trade.  We immediately get bigger and don’t drop any talent level.

B-RadLA was an 8 seed.  I know that.  But are you going to tell me that stacked team who went back and forth with Phoenix - the 3rd seed in the West – was not one of the best teams on paper?  The Kings had issues scoring at times but they also had one of the best defenses in the league.  I believe that team (this year’s Kings) would have beaten our Cup team (2010 Blackhawks).

Chi-Guy: They hit their stride at the perfect time and definitely played the ”Hot Goalie” card for all it’s worth.  I have friends who are Kings fans who hated their team all year though because unless Quick held the opponents to one goal or fewer, they were going to lose.  All I’m saying is that every team in the NHL thinks they can capture lightning in a bottle next spring right now.  This time last year Columbus was trading for Jeff Carter, not dumping him like they did in February.  The value of a team’s talented assets is never higher than it is in the summer.  Thus you get less bang for your buck now.  The flip side of that of course is that some teams may see Kane or Hammer as their missing piece right now and be willing to over pay for them. 

Two minutes later…

I didn’t know about Nashville’s financial situation.  Do you think they want an overpriced Czech who looks good in short bursts in the playoffs?  We’re selling ‘em cheap.

B-Rad: Well, we’ll agree to disagree…  As for Frolik I agree.  I wanted him to do so well too.  Missing tooth asshole.

So that’s how I spent my morning, how about you?  I the time since then the following stories have broken/been published that may be of interest to the Hawks future.            

Happy Friday everybody and have a great weekend (assuming you’re not spending it on your couch watching a bunch of awkward teenagers shake hands with men in suits inside an empty arena in Pittsburgh on a channel that you may or may not receive from your cable provider).  Once again, the NHL is fannnnttttassstic!