Blackhawks Should Make Moves Before Trade Deadline
By Tim Bearden in News on Feb 26, 2012 7:00PM
After falling to the Los Angeles Kings in an embarrassing shutout and going 0-for-6 on the power play, the Blackhawks should be thinking of fresh skates going into Monday's trade deadline.
The Blackhawks came into the season firing on all cylinders and competing for a top spot in the league. Since then, they snapped a nine game-skid that put them in sixth place and won four in a row, beating both St. Louis and Detroit, who are both in the top half of the conference. GM Stan Bowman thought they had righted the ship and goalie Corey Crawford had turned a corner, causing him not to make the Hawks a "desperate" team at the trade deadline. The trade deadline ratings on NHL.com are based on how much time a GM will spend on the phone making deals. The most desperate teams get five cell phones, but Bowman only received two.
The Blackhawks' defense and toughness has come into question lately, along with their goaltending—too bad they're not mutually exclusive. If the Hawks could improve their defense, the goalies wouldn't have to scramble as hard to keep shots out of the net. But Crawford, prior to the shutout, had .955 save percentage against the Blues and Red Wings and Bowman insists he has no intention of picking up a new presence in the net.
Maybe the Hawks should look at a more physical presence on offense to turn that power play around. Since January 24, Chicago has gone 0-for-39 on the power play and an extra forward or center could go a long way to correct that.
First, the Hawks should look at Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown, who tallied two power play goals and a shorthanded goal against Chicago on Saturday. Brown became the Kings' youngest captain in 2008, much like Jonathan Toews with the Blackhawks, and has had at least seven power play goals each season since. He's also averaged 23 goals per season since the 2008-09 season. He's also had 215 hits in 61 contests, bringing a real physical presence to the Kings' lines. The Blackhawks could use a guy like that to not only resurrect the power play, but also to bring a much needed physical game back to Chicago.
Former Blackhawk Adam Burish, currently on the Dallas Stars, is also rumored to be available for trade. Burish was a right winger for Chicago on the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship team. He brought physicality to the Blackhawks, something they're lacking this season overall. If he's available for trade, the Blackhawks could bring another big man back to the blue line.
If the Hawks suddenly come to their senses and decide a new goalie could be a nice addition to their squad, then they should be looking at Sergei Bobrovsky from the Flyers. Bobrovsky is a young goalie who's played in 24 games for Philadelphia, and has a 12-8-1 record and a .900 save percentage. Both Crawford and Ray Emery have similar save percentages, but are older than Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky is only 23 and could be a long-term solution to the Hawks' ailing net presence.
Chicago definitely needs to make a few adjustments going into the playoff race. They're in a comfortable sixth place at the moment, but a new player could help widen the gap and possibly close in on the higher seeds.
Bowman has until 2 p.m. Monday to decide what to do in order to shake-up a team gone stale.