Today’s Blackhawks notebook takes a little bit of everything–noting the good, bad, and ugly of hockey things. Looking at the good and the bad, the Tampa Bay Lightning locked up former Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Hagel to an eight-year deal with a cap hit of $6.5M.
The good? Good for him. A great way to cash in after a season that saw 64 points, with 30 goals. The other good–it netted the Blackhawks two first-round picks, one they used to take Oliver Moore in the 2023 Draft and another for next season. Definitely a lot of good.
The bad? Hagel’s signing could indicate a couple of things: the Lightning investing as much in him means they have no plans of conceding contention status. Obviously, a first-round exit after three consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearances with two Cup wins means they were hardly going to roll over.
But an eight-year deal means they’re sold on him. Beyond even that, if he continues to see his numbers rise it may be a bargain, while fans also doing the inevitable comparison game between Moore and Hagel.
Maybe not so bad–but certainly a potential for bad if Hagel turns out to torch the league for years to come.
But what about the ugly?
The Ugly – Blackhawks ‘Brutal’ Roster?
An interesting tidbit that outside of Connor Bedard, the Blackhawks roster is “brutal” in caps which indicates either biblical proportions of losing, or that maybe this could be a slight overreaction.
Connor Bedard might will this Blackhawks team into not being last place.
the rest of the roster is BRUTAL. pic.twitter.com/OlSsGQDQ3V
— Nathan "Grav" (@NathanGraviteh) August 22, 2023
Last season’s team featured an injured Patrick Kane (16-29-45), and Max Domi (18-31-49), both of whom were traded either before the deadline or right at it. Jonathan Toews chipped in 31 points (15-16) in 53 games. For the sake of argument, we’ll compare that with what they brought in.
Connor Bedard, then, is the truly the x factor. If he has a Jack Hughes-like rookie season, then yes it’ll be ugly for sure. What if he has a Connor McDavid like rookie season? 48 points in 45 games. Now they’re 10 up from last season. Imagine if it stretches out to at least 60.
Let’s shoot the moon, saying he projects into Sidney Crosby-like rookie numbers with 102 points and 39 goals. Not so ugly at all there.
Auston Matthews? 69 points and 40 goals in his rookie campaign. Again, that will certainly change things, too.
As pointed out, Bedard will make things look better. While it won’t lead to a playoff appearance, it shouldn’t as “brutal” as some may predict.