Hockey season begins in just 35 days, meaning the Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks are nearing the end of their short summer.â†µ
As all Hawks fans know, due to salary cap issues, the team that takes the ice on Oct. 7, against the Colorado Avalanche will be a far different team from the one that won the Stanley Cup against the Philadelphia Flyers. An article on the Blackhawks official website by Dan Rosen discusses the changes — who was traded or let go as free agents, who the Hawks got in return for the trades, and he also gives some predictions for this year’s Hawks.â†µ
The salary cap reared its ugly head in Chicago, forcing GM Stan Bowman to strip away pieces of his championship roster that otherwise would have still had a place in the happy homes of the Indian head followers.â†µ
However, Bowman knew D-day was coming and promised he would keep the Hawks’ core intact. He held true to his word, choosing to leave well enough alone with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Marian Hossa and Brian Campbell.â†µ
But can the Hawks put together a run to defend the Cup without Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Brent Sopel, Colin Fraser, Kris Versteeg, Andrew Ladd, Antti Niemi, Adam Burish, John Madden, Nick Boynton and Kim Johnsson? With all the changes, only 11 of the 20 players who dressed for the Stanley Cup finals against the Flyers will return to the Blackhawks.â†µ
The bottom line is Chicago still has the potential to win again, but its challenge is greater without the depth it had last season. The Hawks will need some of their prospects to blossom and for Turco to return to the form that has been missing from his game the last two seasons.â†µ
Don’t discount this team before the season starts.