LOS ANGELES -- Rumblings from Day 2 of the 2010 NHL entry draft…
Going into draft weekend it looked like the Blackhawks might move either Kris Versteeg or Andrew Ladd. Versteeg did not get traded, and now expect Ladd to be extended a qualifying offer before Monday’s deadline, pulling him off the immediate market as well. Niklas Hjalmarsson and Antti Niemi already have their qualifiers while Jordan Hendry is not expected to receive one, though a source said Friday they still want to resign the defenseman.
Don’t expect the Blackhawks to sign any of their restricted (or, for that matter, unrestricted) free agents before July 1 when they can hit the open market. That means both Niemi and Hjalmarsson could very well receive offer sheets from other teams. It remains to be seen what those numbers would look like, but it does present the possibility, though doubtful, that one or both could leave with the Hawks receiving a massive compensation package. In the cases of Niemi and Ladd, both players can elect for salary arbitration and if a deal can’t be worked out, their salaries would be decided by an arbiter. Those can be one- or two-year deals. The request for salary arbitration must be submitted to the league before July 5.
General manager Stan Bowman reiterated that the Hawks no longer have to move salary, but still might. He said deals were discussed all weekend, including plenty of calls on Saturday, but for whatever reason there was less movement than initially expected.
The Blackhawks made one interesting move on Day 2, trading for the brother of their first-round pick from Day 1. Jimmy Hayes was a second-round pick for the Toronto Maple Leafs in last year’s draft, while his brother Kevin Hayes was the Blackhawks first pick (No. 24) this year. The Hawks traded one of their five second-round picks to acquire the elder Hayes. Both brothers will play at Boston College this fall.
Bowman said it’s doubtful any of their 11 draft picks will make the team next year. “The key was filling the pipeline again,” Bowman said. “And we did that.”
Bowman said now that the draft is over, the agents start pushing their free-agent players and he plans on meeting with several over the next couple of days. Bowman said the Hawks have some “situational needs” and that they need to fill them with “low dollar-guys.” Some of those might come in-house. He also reiterated that he will meet with Steve Bartlett, the agent for Cristobal Huet, as the Blackhawks will no doubt try to rid themselves of his massive cap hit.