July is just about finished, and what a memorable July it was for the Chicago Blackhawks.
OK, not really. It was quiet. Very quiet. And as we head into August, the quiet continues.
This has some fans freaking out, to put it mildly. Why arent the Blackhawks doing anything? Why havent they acquired anyone, outside of Sheldon Brookbank? Is this the team with which theyll start the 2012-13 season?
Well, after a month of perceiving the Blackhawks glass as half empty, lets consider the half-full look: the Blackhawks dont have big holes to fill like some of their fellow Central Division foes.
General manager Stan Bowman has said throughout the summer that the Blackhawks arent desperate to make changes. They have a full roster, and they have bodies to fill every position. Others in the Central cant say the same.
The Detroit Red Wings have needed a top defenseman since Niklas Lidstrom announced his retirement at the end of May. So far this offseason, they havent found him. Oh, sure, the Red Wings tried. They went after Ryan Suter and Zach Parise as so many other teams did. Their brass flew to Suters farm the day before the defenseman and Parise chose the Minnesota Wild.
Meanwhile, the Predators have had a soap-opera kind of summer. They simmered in frustration as Suter headed to Minnesota. Then they held onto Shea Weber by matching that gargantuan 14-year, 110-million offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers. Yes, the Predators are still a strong team with Weber staying put. But theres no doubt they lose plenty with Suters departure, and it remains to be seen how their depth at defenseman helps them.
Columbus is, well, still Columbus. The Blackhawks have handled them just fine these past few seasons, and Viktor Stalberg padded his offensive numbers plenty against them in 2011-12. For too long, the Blue Jackets have been known for Rick Nash and not much else. Now they dont even have him anymore, after he was traded to the New York Rangers. So its status quo there.
Yes, the Blackhawks still need to shore a few things up. Defense was an issue last season and it still needs to be addressed. Bowman may like Patrick Kane as a second-line center, but thats not the best long-term solution for the Blackhawks or for Kane.
But the Blackhawks dont have big holes and dont need massive changes. Some of their fellow Central Division foes certainly do. Sometimes, compared to others, the glass is more full.