Blackhawks

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman was confident deal with Artemi Panarin would get done

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman was confident deal with Artemi Panarin would get done

NASHVILLE – For Stan Bowman, there wasn’t much doubt on this one. When it came to Artemi Panarin, the Blackhawks general manager knew the deal would come.

The latest player who said he loved and wanted to stay with Chicago did just that, as Panarin agreed to a two-year, $12-million deal. Bowman said patience paid off in these negotiations.

“They don’t always come together when you first start the negotiations but I was confident from the beginning that we were going to be able to get something done," Bowman said. "But you have to do your work and put the time in and obviously I have to commend Artemi and his representatives for … clearly they want to be here and they wanted to be part of what we have here in Chicago and when that happens that’s when deals get made.”

Bowman signing Panarin for two more seasons was an impressive addition. The inevitable subtraction, however, looms. When Panarin’s contract kicks in next season, so will his $6-million cap hit. Actually it’ll be more than that, since he’ll likely hit $2.57 million in performance bonuses again this season and those bonuses come out of the 2017-18 cap. So with that, somebody (or some bodies) will have to go.

Bowman didn’t want to talk much about how this all works cap- and roster-wise next season, other than to say, “we’ve been doing that for months now… it’s a process we’re always going to be facing.”

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According to CapFriendly.com, the Blackhawks have more than $66 million committed to 15 players. The cap, which is at $73 million for this season, probably won’t go up much for the next one. So yes, it’ll be another offseason of salary shedding.

Part of that could be done with the expansion draft.

Eight Blackhawks are protected (Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Artem Anisimov, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Corey Crawford). Among those not protected, Marcus Kruger has the biggest cap hit ($3.08 million). There’s also Trevor van Riemsdyk ($825,000) and Ryan Hartman ($863,333). According to CapFriendly.com, Hartman needs to play in only eight more games to meet the expansion-draft exposure requirement.

The Blackhawks will likely need to make moves beyond the expansion draft. Trading Corey Crawford would be foolish. You can argue Scott Darling is about ready for a starting job but who backs him up? The team’s goaltending is already shallow as it is.

As great as Marian Hossa looked prior to getting hurt, it’s doubtful another team will want the soon-to-be 38-year-old forward’s remaining contract (four years, cap hit of $5.275 million each). And keep in mind several Blackhawks have no movement clauses in which they decide if they go, and where.

With the Panarin deal, the Blackhawks took care of their immediate priority. Another series of cap-shedding moves is on the horizon. But on Thursday, Bowman was focused on who the Blackhawks gained, not who they could lose.

“My suggestion would be to try to enjoy the fact that we’ve got a great player who is a big part of our team,” Bowman said. “He wants to be here in Chicago, he loves playing with his teammates and he’s having a lot of fun and scoring a lot of goals. That’s really the thing that we’re excited about. The other stuff, we’ll make it work. The time to dissect that is not right now but we’ll get there eventually.”

Calvin de Haan reinjures right shoulder and is out for Blackhawks

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AP

Calvin de Haan reinjures right shoulder and is out for Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have been plagued by injuries as of late and they lost another key defenseman in Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

In the waning minutes of the first period, Calvin de Haan took a hit in the neutral zone from Mark Stone, who was penalized for interference on the play, then fell awkwardly and immediately went to the locker room. The Blackhawks later ruled de Haan out for the remainder of the game with a right shoulder injury, which is the same shoulder he had surgery on in the offseason that sidelined him for four-to-six months.

Head coach Jeremy Colliton told reporters after the game de Haan will travel back to Chicago for further evaluation and early indications are "it's not good."

It's unfortunate news for both de Haan and the Blackhawks, who are already without Duncan Keith (groin) and Olli Maatta (flu-like symptoms) on the back end. If de Haan is out for an extended period of time, which appears likely, the Blackhawks' defensive depth will be tested in a significant way considering de Haan took on bigger minutes in Keith's absence.

The Blackhawks brought eight defensemen on the three-game road trip, including top defenseman prospect Adam Boqvist, so a call-up isn't needed unless the team feels it needs an extra one with the uncertainty surrounding Maatta.

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3 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-1 against Golden Knights

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USA Today

3 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-1 against Golden Knights

The Blackhawks lost 5-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. Here are three takeaways:

Point streak ends

The Blackhawks' point streak stayed in Vegas. Chicago had grabbed points in three straight and five out of a possible six heading into Sin City.

Dominik Kubalik scored the lone goal for the Hawks on a power play with 27 seconds remaining in the game and Corey Crawford saved 32 of 37 shots, but Chicago couldn't get much going down a man to start the second period. 

The Hawks beat the Knights 5-3 in their last matchup on Nov. 13, also in Vegas, for the first Blackhawks franchise win over the Golden Knights.

Tough times for Hawks' D

Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan left Tuesday's game late in the first period with a right shoulder injury following a hit from Mark Stone. It's the same shoulder de Haan had surgery on in the offseason, sidelining him for several months.

"He'll go back to Chicago to be evaluated," Hawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said following the game. "It's not good." The Hawks face the Coyotes in Arizona on Thursday and the Blues in St. Louis on Saturday to close out the three-game road trip.

Chicago was already without Duncan Keith (groin injury) on the road trip and Olli Maatta has missed the past four games with flu-like symptoms. 

How bad they were missing three of their everyday defensemen, most recently de Haan, showed in the second period. Entering the frame 0-0, without de Haan in the rotation, the Hawks allowed three unanswered goals in the second: a power-play goal, an even strength goal and a shorthanded goal. The shorty came with 44 seconds remaining in the period.

"The next man in has to step up," defenseman Connor Murphy said after the game. "As a team, you're going to have a lot of ups and downs throughout the year and stuff like that is going to happen. The next guy's got to be ready to play and we believe we have players that are good enough to make that impact and step up when there's injuries."

Defenseman Adam Boqvist was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL on Monday, where he's been since recording one goal in six games with the Hawks (Nov. 3-13). Boqvist has to accelerate his growth in adjusting to the big league and contribute on both sides of the puck if he wants to stick in Chicago and help the Blackhawks out of a tough situation.

The 19-year-old blueliner is a great skater with an excellent shot he needs to use. He has to make quicker decisions with the puck in his own end. A turnover from Boqvist led to Vegas' second goal. Deryk Engelland snagged the puck after Boqvist failed to set up a zone exit off the boards and skated to right faceoff circle to make it 2-0 at 11:24 of the second. Boqvist was also caught facing Corey Crawford, all alone in front of the crease for Vegas' fifth goal, this time from Ryan Reaves.

Saad-Toews-Kubalik

Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews and Dominik Kubalik made up the most dangerous Hawks line by far in Vegas. The trio spent some time in the offensive zone and generated a lot of quality looks. 

They're an interesting combination as all of them are defensively responsible forwards that have been a little snake-bitten overall this season. Seeing the chances they're able to create in a tough game, expect them to stick together. 

Toews leads the line in points with 18 (six goals, 12 assists) and Saad in goals with eight. Kubalik has goals in back-to-back games.

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