The playoffs are underway, and there are 15 teams still involved in the chase for Stanley. NHL GM's have one eye on the postseason and another on the summertime, with some major moves likely as the cap climbs handsomely. Among the teams with some issues are the Chicago Blackhawks. Stan Bowman will need to move some money around this summer, in order to satisfy salary increases for Corey Crawford, Andrew Shaw, Brandon Bollig and others.
If you're a fan of a non-playoff team, looking for possible acquisitions for your team this summer, it's likely you have had a look at Chicago's blue. Would they trade Keith? No. Seabrook? Unlikely. What about Niklas Hjalmarsson? Let's have a look.
Hjalmarsson's Corsi For % REL, which compares him relative to teammates, has been a negative number for most of the last several seasons. His actual Corsi For % 5x5 is over 50% (until these playoffs, and that should turn if they get past St. Louis) tells us good things are happening while he's on the ice.
What are the circumstances? Does he face the soft parade? Are his zone starts easy breezy? Chicago's current cap situation may not have room for his 5-year deal that kicks in next year (and at $4.1 million annually), especially if Hjalmarsson isn't facing the very toughest opponents? Let's check the Sledgehammer!
THE VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER
According the Hockey Abstract, Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya faced the tough opponents and are the only defenders on the 'Hawks whose ZS's were below 50% this season. BTN confirms:
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
If you hear your team has acquired Niklas Hjalmarsson this summer? Music! It's more likely Nick Leddy, who makes $2.7 million and is an rfa one year from now, is the defender to go this summer from the Windy City, should they choose to make any changes.
Niklas Hjalmarsson, is a productive NHL defenseman. Good NHL teams like Chicago don't trade them away during their peak seasons.