There’s a different feel to this Chicago Blackhawks offseason than any other one I’ve covered in my two-plus years following the team. With an aging core coming off complete decimation at the hands of the Nashville Predators last month, wholesale changes actually feel possible in a way they didn’t before.
Comments about trading a big contract like Corey Crawford or Brent Seabrook were already common before the sweep, but they always seemed to be coming from the fringes. Oh, that guy who wants to trade Corey The Crawful? You don’t need to pay attention to him.
But this spring feels a bit different, for two reasons. The first is that the Blackhawks’ cap situation, always an issue, is hitting its breaking point. They have so little flexibility entering the offseason that shedding salary is a must. The only way to do that will be to get rid of players the team kinda needs to stay in contention. The second is that, again, the Hawks didn’t just get knocked out of the first round again. They got beaten so badly that demoralization set in before the series was even over.
You can see why there’s a greater sense of urgency now than the past couple years. After playing only 35 games last season — due to a broken hand from punching a trainer and a recurring quad injury — Griffin had bounced back to play 61, only sitting for one extended stretch in the middle of the year after undergoing a minor arthroscopic knee surgery. Still, it has now been three straight seasons that Griffin has played fewer than 70 games, and it Basketball Jerseys For Sale makes you wonder what will happen when he hits free agency this summer.