Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Blackhawks Are Off to Camp

The Chicago Blackhawks are still the most intriguing team going into camp this season. The pairing of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane looks to potentially be a dynamic duo in the league and it might just kick off right away. Toews has been a marvel in both the junior ranks and he put on quite the display during the Men's World Championship. The jump should be immediate for the young centre. Kane, on the other hand, was touted as the best player in the '07 Draft and most likely to make the jump right away... so it shouldn't be surprising to see them both donning the jersey this Fall.

Havlat and Ruutu should be ready to have a full season, finally. If Havlat and Ruutu can have a full season at the their full potential, the Blackhawks will be in even better shape, especially with a goaltender like Khabibulin on their side. The forwards are also complemented with Robert Lang, Radim Vrbata and Sergei Samsonov this season. The potential on this club is quite high... but what is the reality of the situation?

The average age of the blueline today is 24.8. Four of the blueliners (of the six below) are under 25 and should still be a very responsible unit. They are young, which means they lack some experience. It might keep them from winning late in the season, but the experience will be huge for seasons to come and you'll remember names like Keith, Seabrook, Barker and Vandermeer for pool selections in the coming season.

In goal, the 'Bulin Wall will carry the team as long as the team is scoring goals in front of him. This is the big question you have to ask yourself this season. Will the Hawks be a good enough goal scoring team to give Khabibulin the chance to win a lot of games? If you think they are... well, then Khabibulin could be considered to be a first-round pick or a high second-round pick. Behind him, Patrick Lalime is still sitting there, ready to ressurect his career.

Martin HavlatRobert LangTuomo Ruutu
Radim VrbataYanic PerreaultJason Williams
Martin LapointePatrick SharpSergei Samsonov
Patrick Kane
Jonathan ToewsRene Bourque
Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook
Cam BarkerJim Vandermeer
Andrei ZyuzinJames Wisnewski
Nikolai Khabibulin
Patrick Lalime

Since the Blackhawks are such a young club, you'll believe me when I say that the team has no problems with the salary cap. This 20-man roster above doesn't even crack the $40 million mark, although, it's pretty close. When they add to this roster to bring it to or near the 23-man maximum, it will be over $40 million, easily.

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