The Chicago Blackhawks epitomized life in a free-agent market on Wednesday. The Hawks signed all-star Marian Hossa to a twelve-year deal and also lost two popular veterans in Nikolai Khabibulin and Martin Havlat.
Hossa will add leadership to a talented, young core. He also has the ability at right wing to put the puck in the net, having scored 40 goals for the Red Wings last season.
It has been an interesting ride for Hossa the last few seasons. He left Pittsburgh to join Detroit, the team that beat the Penguins in the 2008 Stanley Cup. Then, those same Penguins beat Hossa and Detroit for this year's title. The all-star will now come to a Hawks team that lost to Detroit this season in the conference finals, hoping that Chicago can win him a title.
Chicago will have to work for the championship without last year's number-one goaltender. Khabibulin was signed by the Edmonton Oilers, leaving the Blackhawks with Cristobal Huet as the likely starter in net next season.
Also, Havlat signed with the Minnesota Wild. The Wild lost Marian Gaborik and now have Havlat to replace him. The Hawks are essentially replacing Havlat with Hossa, which seems like a pretty good trade to me. Yet, it just goes to show the ups-and-downs of an offseason. You cannot keep everybody and general manager Dale Tallon hopes he pushed the right buttons again.
Tallon has made the Hawks into a contending franchise and one that people in Chicago care about again. The fans loved Khabi and Havlat, but they will come to love Hossa as well. They obviously didn't like him with Detroit, but moving over to the Windy City will make the United Center fans excited.
You can also say Chicago and Detroit made a two-sport trade. The Blackhawks get Hossa while the NBA's Chicago Bulls lose Ben Gordon to the Pistons. Free agency is fun, and it is also a roller coaster.