Chat with Scott Powers
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! On Thursday, Chicago Blackhawks reporter Scott Powers stops by to chat.
Powers covers the Blackhawks for both ESPN Radio 1000 and ESPNChicago.com.
Send your questions now and join the chat Thursday at 1:30 p.m. CT/2:30 p.m. ET!
Scott Powers (2:30 PM)
Hello, all. Strange that this is the final chat of the season. I do hope to host a couple in the offseason. I'll be sure to get the details out there. Let's get started.
Tyson (Hawkeytown) [via mobile]
What do you think the holdup is with the Kevin Hayes signing? Does he want to go to a team where he'll get ice time right away?
Scott Powers (2:32 PM)
Tyson, I do think that's part of the equation. He's seen how it's taken others, including his brother, a while to get up to the NHL with the Blackhawks. He also realizes there aren't many spots in the lineup right now. Also, they may not say it now, but I think he's attracted to the idea of playing with his former BC buddies with the Flames.
Do you think Blackhawks will resign Peter Regin?
Scott Powers (2:34 PM)
Matthew, I don't see it happening. They have talked the last few seasons about wanting to turn to their prospects more. If Smith and Morin are re-signed and Teravainen plays, that already gives the Blackhawks 13 forwards for next season. I also think Nordstrom will be in the mix again.
Any FA's or trade targets that could be good fits as a 2nd line C?
Scott Powers (2:36 PM)
The Blackhawks aren't looking to pursue a second-line center on the market. From the sounds of it, they're going to give that Saad-Shaw-Kane line a chance in training camp. If that doesn't work, I still think Teravainen is the guy.
mike (indoors (wishing I was outside))
Can we dump Versteeg in a European league as an open-ended loan, a la Cristobal Huet? I would hate to see Morin lose a good chance at NHL minutes to him. Your honest thoughts on where both fit in next year?
Scott Powers (2:38 PM)
Mike, you look at the lines, and there aren't many spots for where both of those guys fit in. There could be a competition between Morin and Versteeg for a third-line wing spot if Morin re-signs.
Any chance the Hawks shop Versteeg this offseason? I know his cap hit is relatively low with Florida picking up some of it but the Hawks seem to have a logjam at the wing and Morin deserves a shot next season
Scott Powers (2:39 PM)
Jon, even at his cap hit, I don't see why anyone would want to acquire Versteeg now. He's likely with the Blackhawks for the next two seasons. They have hope he returns a different player after the offseason.
Hi Scott, what a truly dissappointing and heartbreaking end to a season. I listened to Stans comments on how he has no big plans in the offseason to reload this team and get them over the hump next year. Did i misread his comments or do you think he will make some big splash this offseason ? and if so who could you see him going after ?
Scott Powers (2:42 PM)
Rich, I don't foresee any big splash. His goal this offseason is re-signing Kane and Toews and then re-signing Saad. I could see a minor move -- maybe trading someone like Oduya who has one year left on his contract -- but I fully expect it to be a quiet on the trading block. He's not going to divert from his long-term plan -- which was signing Crawford, Hjalmarsson, Bickell, Shaw, etc. to contracts. He even knocked out Bollig's contract during last season.
Aaron (Richfield, MN)
While I'm a critic of Versteeg's play, I do not have inside information on the status of his knee. His play in the SC Playoffs leaves a LOT to be desired. Can you provide any more insight? Was he scratched/limited shifts due to effort? Or was it his knee that was keeping his productivity so minimal? My opinion is his salary cap hit ($2.2 million) could be moved and better used to make room for Morin and Teravainen. Bowman deflected any questions by saying (I'm paraphrasing) that he's a part of the Hawks plans. Legit? Or GM speak to make sure he doesn't kill trade value?
Scott Powers (2:46 PM)
Aaron, the knee was certainly a factor. The question has to be whether his knee will allow him in the future even with a full offseason to rehab to be the player he once was. I don't think the Blackhawks realized when they traded him he was going to be so inconsistent. I don't see any teams would take a chance on him. It's still a $2.2 million cap hit for him. I also think Bowman has to be positive about it because it was his move that's gone wrong so far.
Scott, great coverage this year! I'm curious about Versteeg's contract. I remember that Florida was paying half of his salary but was that just for the remainder of this year or going forward as well? If it's for next year also, there has to be a team that would trade a draft pick or two for him; or would a trade void that piece of the deal? Thanks!
Scott Powers (2:47 PM)
Kevin, Floria will continue to pick up half of Versteeg's deal going forward. I need to look into the specifics about the second part of your question.
Michael G. (Villa Park) [via mobile]
So there will be an expected turnover with Brookbank, Rozival, and Handzus all but guaranteed to be gone. We know Teuvo is coming but what defense prospects do you see coming up?
Scott Powers (2:50 PM)
Michael, Rozsival is actuall signed for next season. It was a two-year contract he got last offseason. It'll be Regin, Handzus, Brookbank and Khabibulin who will be gone as the unrestriced free agents. I see Teravainen coming in for Handzus. As for Brookbank and the defense, I'm not sure if anyone will come up. The trade for Rundblad could make him the seventh defenseman next along with Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, Oduya, Leddy and Rozsival. Outside of Rundblad, I could see Clendening, Dahlbeck and Johns getting chances next season.
Tony (Chicago) [via mobile]
Hey, Scott. Do you think the Blackhawks could use one of their earlier picks (either 1st or 3rd) to grab a goaltender? I know it's risky picking a goalie in the first few rounds, but the Blackhawks' goaltending system is pretty average. There really isn't a highly touted goaltending prospect available for CHI, so maybe selecting one sooner in the draft rather than later could be a good move?
Scott Powers (2:53 PM)
Tony, I don't see them drafting a goaltender real early. They took Simpson early in the draft. I think there's some hope Tomkins could pan out in the future. I do expect them to draft a goalie somewhere, but not early. Carruth and Simpson have struggled so far.
Michael G. (Villa Park) [via mobile]
Is Raanta expected back just because he's a restricted free agent or is he already given the primary backup spot behind Crow? Do we sign a veteran not named Khabibulin or Turco? Or Huet??
Scott Powers (2:56 PM)
Michael, Raanta being a RFA makes it easy for the Blackhawks to re-sign him. I think if they had the cap room they would consider another veteran. They didn't get Raanta the ice time they hoped for this season because of Khabibulin's injury.
Scott,Did Joel have any comments about Jeff Carter being offsides on the first Kings goal in Game 7 and/or Justin Williams slashing the stick out of Nick Leddy's hands right before the overtime winner was scored? Those were two huge non-calls that affected the game and our season.
Scott Powers (2:57 PM)
Alex, the Blackhawks didn't express any frustration about those plays. There are plays like that both ways.
Is there too much of an emphasis on blocking shots and not covering guys in front of the net? IIRC, 2 goals in game 7 were scored with the D-man looking at the puck and not for an open man (Williams and Gaborik goals)?
Scott Powers (2:58 PM)
Geoff, I don't think there's an emphasis on blocking shots over covering guys. They simply struggled to defend around the net against the Kings.
Ryne (Buffalo Grove) [via mobile]
What acquisitions, if any do you expect the Blackhawks to make in free agency? Are they just going to resign players? With Handzus most likely gone, will they let someone step in his spot on the PK who is already on the roster or will they sign a guy to do that?
Scott Powers (3:00 PM)
Ryne, I could see Saad or Smith filling Handzus' spot. I thought both were decent there throughout the season. Their quickness could benefit the PK and create more short-handed chances. Frolik and Kruger were good at that.
Scott Powers (3:03 PM)
Robert, I would estimate Toews and Kane will get something closer to $10 each. I think in the short team the Blackhawks will be okay. Eventually, though, some players will have to go. They just won't have enough moneny to around even when the cap goes up. Prospects like McNeill, Danault, etc. will have to replace players in the future. They can't have more situations where Pirri, Hayes, etc. don't work out, and they have to go outside the organization to fill holes.
Scott Powers (3:06 PM)
Al, I could see Sharp more than Bickell right now. But at $5.9 with three seasons left, I'm not sure what the market would be. Sharp is also coming off a career season. I don't think you see a decline for a few more seasons still. Bickell is making $4 a season for more three more seasons. No one is taking that now. Plus, Bowman isn't going to admit it's a bad contract this early. As for center, if Teravainen is legit, I think they're fine. It would Toews-Teravainen-Shaw-Kruger.
Scott Powers (3:07 PM)
Lee, that is not happening.
Scott Powers (3:10 PM)
Jay, it's a natural reaction. The Blackhawks did have some holes this season, and I think they're easy to fix. Teravainen replacing Handzus will be key. If Versteeg doesn't rebound, they have to go to Morin. He's proven he can play at this level. I also think they need to find another reliable defenseman in their final pairing. They can't rely on Rozsival for a whole season, and I'm not sure if Rundblad is the right guy. It could mean a chance for someone like Clendening, Dahlbeck or Johns.
Tommy Boy (Chicago)
There have been some rumblings that Oduya might be moved to allow Leddy to move into the top 4. I am skeptical because it seems like Q still doesn't trust Leddy enough which would put even more pressure and minutes on Keith, Seabs, and Hammer. Thoughts?
Scott Powers (3:13 PM)
Tommy, I'm not sure if Leddy would move up. Quenneville prefers to give the Hjalmarsson-Oduya pairing the toughest defensive assignments and allow Keith-Seabrook more offensive starts. I don't know what the answer is. I'll give it some thought, but moving Oduya would certainly affect the pairings and how Quenneville uses them.
moose (out west)
Hi Scott: What do you think will happen with Leddy long-term. His supporters will point to a steady progression. His detractors will note his defense still isn't strong enough to play #4 minutes. There were also rumors of conflict between Stan and his agent. How do you see this playing out?
Scott Powers (3:16 PM)
Moose, I think some of it could depend on the progression of players in the system. Clendening has offensive talent, but his defensive game hasn't always been reliable. Bowman loves Rundblad's potential, but he's still a work in progress. Leddy is a RFA again after next season. It should be interesting where that goes. I thought he took a minor step this season, but Quenneville still isn't confident in him in the playoffs.
Scott Powers (3:18 PM)
Tyson, I would assume that leaves Teravainen on the third line. I don't think Shaw is going to work out on the second line over time. One, his faceoff ability hasn't improved enough in the last seasons. Also, I think he's more valuable to the third line. I could be wrong, but I still think Teravainen will fit there bet.
Todd (Mystery, Alaska)
What are your thoughts on Ben Smith's next contract? I thought he played really well this year and seemed to step it up in the playoffs once again. I think something with an AAV of 2 million would be fair for both sides.
Scott Powers (3:21 PM)
Todd, I would think the Blackhawks would be okay with signing him for a little less than $2 million. He was solid all seasons and can play a couple different roles.
Tom (Pingree Grove, Illinois)
Hi, Scott: Thank you for your chats throughout the season. You always answered questions with insight and honesty, and you were consistently polite and professional towards the questioners. Your work and approach are greatly appreciated.
Scott Powers (3:21 PM)
moose (out west)
Hi Scott: Any chance Rozy gets moved. He only plays half the games, and was even a healthy scratch in the playoffs. On the other hand, Brookbank was pretty solid at the back and is a lot cheaper. Thoughts?
Scott Powers (3:23 PM)
Moose, I just don't know who would take Rozsival's $2.2 million contract. I think the Blackhawks will be looking for Rundblad or someone else -- maybe one of the prospects -- to do what Brookbank did this season and rotate with Rozsival. He isn't going to hold up over a full season. It was surprising the Blackhawks signed him to two years.
While I understand the need for a Cap, it's always bothered me that teams like the Hawks actually get hurt more b/c they draft well and develop players (kane, keith,toews, seab's) and eventually all want/deserve top money. Teams that don't do it can sign these players to crazy offer sheets, etc...signing kane/toews should not count against the Cap the same way Wild did w/Suter & Zach.
Scott Powers (3:26 PM)
Mike, the Blackhawks have drafted poorly at times as well. It's not as if they're hitting the jackpot with all their picks. It's just tough on the Blackhawks because they need to give Kane, Toews, Saad all deals at the same time. I also think they're fortunate they already signed some players before the cap went up, and it won't hurt them so much down the line.
Matt (Chicago, IL)
Hey Scott -- What do you think the Toews/Kane contracts will look like? Do these guys get identical again or do you see 1 getting a longer contract than the other?
Scott Powers (3:27 PM)
Matt, my guess is around $10 million each. I do think they'll take identical contracts again. The fact they share the same agent is a luxury for the Blackhawks. It could be a lot harder to negotiate both deals.
Jeff daprizio [via mobile]
Any stats on who was on defense during all the goals scored on Blackhawks during playoffs? I saw one star after wild series. Seabrook was on the ice when most goals scored. Sounds like he is the weak link. What's your opinion?? Thanks
Scott Powers (3:29 PM)
Jeff, I don't have the stats in front of me. Seabrook was on the ice for a number of goals, but each pairing had its struggles at some point. It's also why Quennevile opted to combine Keith and Hjalmarsson late in the playoffs. He was leaning on that pairing more than the others.
The Hawks front office seems confident that Versteeg can get back to his old form once his knee is fully recovered. The problem is that his bad play in the playoffs seemed to be coming from his decision-making, not his physical ability. How do the Hawks get him to revert back to his 2010 form next season?
Scott Powers (3:30 PM)
Paul, I don't think he's able to revert to that level of play. The Blackhawks just have to hope an offseason of rehabbing the knee gets him closer.
Will Saad's contract extension be done this summer as well after Kane & Toews?
Scott Powers (3:31 PM)
Jason, the Blackhawks would like it to be. I'm not sure if Saad will be in a rush. If he continues to progress again next season, his value will only rise.
Scott,It sure seemed like the Hawks had trouble in the playoffs holding the lead. I thought they really missed Dave Bolland who was great defensively against the opposing teams best players. Any thoughts?
Scott Powers (3:33 PM)
Toby, I thought the lack of a fourth line hurt the Blackhawks. Quenneville turned to Frolik, Kruger and Bolland throughout the playoffs last season. Quenneville didn't have the same confidence in his fourth line in the playoffs this season.
Scott Powers (3:35 PM)
Thanks for all the questions today and throughout the season. I apologize if I missed anyone. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com througout the offseason. I hope to have a few offseason chats as well. Again, thank you. I look forward to another season on the beat. Take care - Scott