After such an amazing season last year that included a winter classic game at Wrigley Field, a conference-final appearance and an attendance record, you had to figure the Chicago Blackhawks' front-office had more up their sleeve during the offseason. As much of a revival as the season was for the Hawks, losing to the Detroit Red Wings in the conference finals was not going to sit well in their stomach.
So, what did general manager Dale Tallon do today? He signed Marian Hossa from the Red Wings, a four time all-star that scored 40 goals in the regular season this past year. Hossa plays the same position, right wing, that current Blackhawk and free agent Martin Havlat plays. Yes, that may mean Havlat could be out of Chicago, but maybe Tallon can sign him to a short-term deal as well.
We'll see what comes from that, but for now, the focus is on who the Blackhawks have for sure. They will have Hossa for a very long time as he signed a 12-year deal. Offense should not be an issue for the Hawks, who also have young stars Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and many more exciting players that can put the puck in the net.
The Blackhawks did lose goalie Nikolai Khabibulin today as well. Khabi signed with the Edmonton Oilers, which means most likely that Cristobal Huet will be in net for Chicago next season. Huet played in half the regular season games last year, but Khabibulin started all but one in the playoffs. That was due to injury, and in the game that Huet started, he kept the Hawks in it against Detroit before the Wings won in overtime to take the series.
He clearly was the backup, but now he will try and at least come close to the success that Khabi had last year. Khabi was released in the offseason, picked up again by the Hawks, and helped lead the team to the conference finals.
Reports had Tallon looking to trade Huet this week and re-sign Khabibulin. Well, the GM will probably have to keep Huet.
Maybe Huet will be motivated, like Khabi was last year, by the team wanting him to leave. I know one thing...any bit of goaltending will do, because with Hossa joining an already talented group of scorers, the Hawks will be lighting up the lamp a good amount next year.