The Chicago Blackhawks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08 and they are said to be willing to do anything to never be this terrible once again. While some folks might be thinking this means a retooling mode, a few prospects and some patience, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman believes the Hawks are getting ready to make a major move to get back on track as soon as possible.
While it was first thought Hawks general manager Stan Bowman would go the trade route - while keeping the core of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook intact - it seems that the free agent market is more appealing for a quick turnaround for next season.
Friedman strongly believes that the Hawks will have a go at New York Islanders captain and pending free agent John Tavares this summer.
"They're not going to tolerate being that bad again, they're going to try something. I think they'll make a run at John Tavares too. I do, I think they'll ask, is there anyway we can get him here?"
According to the information provided by CapFriendly, the Blackhawks have approximately $68.5M committed to the 2018-2019 salary cap for 17 players. While making a huge play for Tavares seems like an enticing one, they would need to make some moves before July 1st to make this new priority possible. Unless they can shed over $11 million in cap space, which is what many experts believe Tavares is going to command on the open market, it seems like a hard feat for the Blackhawks to accomplish to make sure they can afford him.
Marian Hossa recently announced that he was not coming back to the Chicago - or the NHL for that matter - because of his ongoing health issues, so the Hawks could potentially try to move his contract to a team in need of meeting the cap floor. However, there would still be a lot of work to do for Chicago to be able to afford Tavares and his new blockbuster contract.
There are several other teams looking to make a play for Tavares, who may not be looking back at the Islanders as an option. For a while, it was believed that Tavares had ruled out a return to New York, however, with the arrival of Lou Lamoriello in the team's front office, he might be more willing to listen to his club's offer.
Let's hope the Hawks have a backup plan in the works...