Blackhawks looking good, but who can make them better?
As of writing, the Chicago Blackhawks sit on top of the NHL standings. They have had great play from the entire team, with two Hart Trophy candidates in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, seven good players on defense, and two goalies playing out of their minds in Ray Emery and Corey Crawford, who is a dark-horse Vezina candidate. But what can the Hawks do to improve their team? Let’s look at possible trade candidates for the Hawks at the quarter-point of the season.
Vinny Prospal has been playing admirably for a horrible team in Columbus. The Blue Jackets attained only 65 points last season and are sitting last in the Central Division again this season. They have only made the Stanley Cup Playoffs once in their 12 year history and they are no where near the playoffs now. Prospal led the team in assists last season and was second to only Rick Nash in points. He loves the game and will be only a rental as his age will prevent him from being a long-term acquisition, but his selfless play and ability to facilitate an offense makes him a player the Hawks should target.
Ryan Smyth is a real trooper, and a loyal player. He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1994. He stayed with the organization until 2007 when he was traded to Long Island for prospects. From there he bounced around the NHL until he ended up, not surprisingly, in Edmonton again. He has played at a high level throughout his career and was fifth in points for the Oilers last year while playing all 82 games. He’s a tough guy who can make a difference in front of the net.
Jarome Iginla has been named around for years now as a possible trade candidate. Despite poor performances by the team, Calgary Flames’ GM Jay Feaster has decided to half-heartedly pursue one last run with the core of Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff, and Jay Bouwmeester. While Iginla loves Calgary, he can use a change of scenery, and while he has accomplished a lot in the NHL, he is one trophy short of a prestigious collection, a Stanley Cup. He is almost in Ray Bourque level right now, a loyal player who won’t leave his team unless forced to, yet needs a Cup win more than anything. He has had Hart Trophy-esque seasons in Calgary, and although he won’t pull those off now, he can make a difference on a good team like the Hawks.
Ahh, the story of Roberto Luongo. He may be the most despised goalie in Chicago, but has been playing at an elite level for a long time now. While Crawford and Emery have been playing great, Luongo’s great is on a completely different level than theirs. If the Hawks could put together a package and bring over Luongo, the goalie situation would be settled for a long time. While he is an elite goalie, the Canucks have another great goalie behind him that is younger, Cory Schneider. Were it not for him, it would be almost impossible for the Hawks to take him away from Vancouver, but his presence means that Canuck GM Mike Gillis can shop him around, even though he has been quoted as saying teams will need to “pay a price” for him. It was believed that the Hawks may have been close to trading for Luongo in the long offseason, and now with a great start, the rumors should only get louder.