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So, there’s a brief lull in NHL action, and I’ll have a Hawks-Avs preview tomorrow.
But on this day or taking out the trash, chillin’ out and hopefully catching up on hockey blogs, I want to take a look at what’s made the Hawks arguably the best team in hockey over the last five years or so.
I’m going to take the “gimmes” off the table: drafting Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane don’t count. Share yours on the message board. Here are mine.
1) Signing Marian Hossa, July 1, 2009
You might want to read this blog I wrote in may 2009 (about 2/3 of the way down: http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=21393
Hossa has been everything the Hawks hoped for and more—his leadership has only added to the fact that he made the Hawks a team with at least two potent scoring lines. At 36, he is still one of the league’s best two-way players.
2) Drafting Niklas Hjalmarsson in the 4th round of the 2005 draft.
The Hawks #3 defenseman is a number 2 on most other clubs. Not only a capable fill-in when Duncan Keith or Brent Seabrook go down, but the anchor of a second pair that is essentially a second “first” pair. A plus skater, great shot blocker, underrated passer, and tough as nails. Also can deliver thunderous hits.
3) Trading a 2nd and 3rd round pick for Johnny Oduya.
Oduya was essentially an NHL journeyman until Stan Bowman plugged him in next to Hjalmarsson in the Spring of 2012. His skills fit the Hawks’ system perfectly.
4) Trading Matt Ellison for Patrick Sharp
Matt who? Right. Sharp has been and still is an important piece of the Hawks’ puzzle
5) (tie) Drafting Marcus Kruger in the 5th round of 2009, Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad in the fifth and second rounds of 2011
Testament to Hawk scouting (although rumor has it, Kruger was discovered by Detroit scout while Scotty Bowman was still with the Red Wings), these players have stepped up into key roles over the last three years.
So there are mine. How about yours? I’ll also have an update on prospects over the weekend. Hope everyone is having a great holiday season.