The Chicago Blackhawks made a move at the opening of free agency this past weekend, as they signed veteran netminder Cam Ward to one-year deal worth $3 million.
The goaltending situation in Chicago was a complete mess this past season and Corey Crawford’s injury was one of the main reasons the Hawks missed out on the postseason for the first time in 11 seasons. The Hawks might have fixed this issue.
However, they might be doing some more shopping in Raleigh, but, to some extend.
When Carolina Hurricanes signed free-agent defenseman Calvin de Haan to a four-year contract on Tuesday evening, it made it more and more likely that Justin Faulk will not start the season in Carolina. On top of all the transactions that have already taken place, another one on the way, as the Hurricanes are actively trying to get Trevor van Riemsdyk signed, make it almost official that they will be looking to move Faulk.
There is already chatter of rival teams lining up to acquire the services of Faulk before the start of training camp. According to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun Times, the Blackhawks are looking into the possibility of making a move for the veteran blue liner. However, they will not budge on one thing: they are not moving forward Brandon Saad again.
NHL insider Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet revealed on his “31 Thoughts” podcast on Thursday that, while the negotiations might not be over, this has placed a huge wedge between both teams.
“I’d heard Chicago had been in on (Justin) Faulk, but I heard the hangup there was Brandon Saad ; that Carolina wanted Saad, and Chicago didn’t want to do that,” Friedman said.
The Hawks have been looking to add a top-four right-handed shot like Faulk, who has two years left on his current contract and carries a $4.833 million salary cap hit. In 76 games last season, the 26-year-old defender tallied eight goals and recorded 31 points, and prior to last season, had scored at least 15 goals in each of the last three campaigns.
In a tough year in Chicago, Saad has become quite valuable to the Hawks, scoring 18 goals and 35 points in 82 games this past season in his return to Chicago from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Artemi Panarin trade.
If ever the Hurricanes remain hung up on Saad and the Hawks continue to refuse their offer, Carolina could turn to the Detroit Red Wings, who are reportedly interested in Faulk as well.
When there is a will, there's a way.