Thursday, July 1, 2010
By Chris Boden
Turns out Stan Bowman may not have been done Wednesday night. Maybe now he is, with restricted free agent Andrew Ladd headed to Atlanta for defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and a 2nd round pick.
Fans are hoping Bowman is ready to start adding bodies again after stating last weekend he believed he didnt necessarily need to make more trades, while giving them fair warning all along of the difficult decisions that lay ahead amidst all the Cup celebrations.
Difficult, indeed. The General Manager was confident about keeping his two other restricted players Antti Niemi and Niklas Hjalmarsson during Wednesday nights conference call announcing the trade of Kris Versteeg to Toronto.
Those were the only two names specifically mentioned, however, and not Ladds. Whether it was a case of contract numbers with the Ladd camp being exchanged or not, the departures of Byfuglien, Eager, now Ladd, and perhaps Adam Burish, as well, creates a definite need for size and physical presence moving forward. Top 2008 draft pick Kyle Beach may be ticketed to provide some of that after an outstanding season in the WHL. Heading towards late Thursday afternoon, the Hawks two main unrestricted free agents Burish & John Madden -- were still on the market, with signs seemingly pointed east. New Jersey was believed to be one of the teams in contact with Burish, but the Devils and other teams were sorting out their own financial situations. New Jersey had just signed defensemen Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder to mega-deals, after losing Paul Martin to Pittsburgh, which also signed Zbynek Michalek away from Phoenix.
One of the additional challenges facing Bowman and the Hawks: the bonuses from winning the Stanley Cup have to be counted against this years Salary Cap meaning the Hawks cap is actually about 55 million. Theyve now shed about 10 million, not counting whatever is done with Cristobal Huets 5.6 million salary next season.