By: Thomas Gibbons
NHL Free agency has begun! While it is just in the opening hours, rumors are swirling and deals are getting done. Lets dig into what the Blackhawks are doing and what players they are connected to.
- Goalie Cam Ward is expected to sign with the Blackhawks today according to Scott Powers of the Athletic. Ward has been connected to the Blackhawks for a few days now and a deal seemed imminent. His cap his is expected to exceed $2.5 million though. The 34 year-old net minder went 23-14 last season splitting time with Scott Darling in Carolina.
- The Blackhawks and Ian Cole had discussions but were unable to agree on terms of a deal per Powers. Defenseman is a need and Cole would have been a nice addition. Cole, 29, was traded to Columbus from Pittsburgh last season posting 15 goals, 20 assists and 116 blocked shots between the two teams last season.
- Chris Kunitz is being pursued by the Blackhawks according to Michael Russo from the Athletic. Really? Kunitz, 38, makes little to no sense. I guess he would be an okay 4th line forward but even that is not promising.
- Artem Anisimov has submitted his 10 team list of who he can be traded to. His contract became a modified no movement clause on July 1. Anisimov carries a $4,550,000 cap hit for the next three seasons. He would be a solid third line center on next year’s team but the Blackhawks could deal him in an effort to get younger at the position.
- The Blackahawks had shown strong interest in Center Tomas Plekanec but he has signed with the Montreal Canadians per Pierre LeBrun.
- Defenesman John Moore is unlikely to sign with the Blackhawks according to a league executive. The Boston Bruins and the New York Islanders appear to be the front runnners.
- The Blachawks and James Neal’s camp have had discussions according to John Jaeckel of the-rink.com. Neal, 30, had a base salary of $5 million last season in Vegas. His price will be steeper, but the Blackhawks could make it work by clearing more cap space by finding someone to take Marian Hossa’s contract, and trading Anisimov or Connor Murphy. We will see how it plays out but Neal would be a huge addition by Stan Bowman. He is the name to watch in the coming hours.