Jul 28, 2021 4 min read

The Blackhawks are trying a different route next season

The Blackhawks are trying a different route next season

But will the plan actually flower?

Good morning, frents!
The Hawks have made three major trades this week.

The Sox and Cubs have combined for one minor one β€” so far.

It's a good reminder that no matter how certain you are about things, reality always has much different plans.

Tuesday's results
Sox 5, Royals 3
Reds 7, Cubs 4

Today's schedule
Reds at Cubs (7:05, Marquee)
Sox at Royals (7:10, NBCSCH)

Highly active Hawks

Get something for nothing?

Hawks GM Stan Bowman did it twice on Tuesday, pulling the trigger on two trades that could reshape the team for the near future.

  • The day started with news the Hawks were trading a low-level prospect for Vegas goalie Marc Andre-Fleury and the $7 million left on the 36-year-old's contract. The move shocked the hockey world, including the reigning Vezina winner who said he learned of it from Twitter and needs time to decide if he wants to come to Chicago.
  • The day ended with the Hawks getting 30-year-old center Tyler Johnson and a second-round pick from Tampa Bay in exchange for Brent Seabrook's remaining contract. The Lightning, apparently, have more LTIR money tricks up their sleeve.

Combine both moves with last week's Seth Jones blockbuster and the Hawks have added three top-level veterans in the past week β€” a luxury that cap hell hasn't afforded them for most of the past decade.

That's assuming that Fleury is agreeable to moving his family to Chicago.

The future Hall of Famer was so taken aback by Vegas dumping his contract on the Hawks as quickly as possible and without even a courtesy text that word soon filtered out that Fleury's retirement was on the table.

If Fleury does hang up the blocker, the Hawks would be absolved of the $7 million commitment, though they'd lose 23-year-old Mikael Hakkarainen β€” a fifth-round pick in 2018 who hasn't come close to sniffing the NHL.

If he does come to the United Center, Fleury will be playing behind a revamped defense with the Jones brothers and a forward group that might actually go four centers deep with the arrival of Johnson.

It won't be the situation he had with the Golden Knights, but it won't be the same Hawks team that Vegas had made a habit of beating up on.

And that seems to be Bowman's main objective over this past week. Adding Fleury, Johnson and the Jones brothers might not make the Hawks Cup contenders, but it raises the ceiling for the group they've been rolling out the past 3-4 years.

It also changes the narrative on a few fronts.

We shouldn't be naive enough to think the Hawks didn't want a few headline wins in the middle of the lawsuit they can't currently answer for. They also have an eroding season ticket fanbase they need to stop from bleeding and a real playoff run in 2021-22 would help on that front.

Does this spell the end of the "rebuild" that Bowman touted on a well-traveled podcast tour last year? I don't think it ever really started, but these moves sure preclude it from starting over the next couple of years.

With Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane signed for two more seasons, it seems like the Hawks are retooling on the fly for one more run at Cup #4.

While this effort probably doesn't get them there (and creates another round of cap issues they'll soon have to answer for), at least it's a different plan from what they've been trying.

Trivia
Who was the last Hawks goalie to win the Vezina Trophy?

News and results


Sox 5, Royals 3: Eloy is back

Thank you, Mike Matheny. The Royals manager intentionally walked Jose Abreu to get to Eloy with two outs in the eighth inning and was promptly rewarded with a go-ahead, three-run blast that traveled 459 feet over the left-field wall. Jimenez also had a pair of standout play i left field. As the Sox hit the 60-win mark, he's officially back.

  • Luis Robert could soon join him, too. The center fielder's rehab stint has been elevated to Triple-A Charlotte.

Next: Lucas Giolito (8-7, 3.78) vs. Kris Bubic (3-4, 4.72)


Reds 7, Cubs 4: Power day at Wrigley

Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Patrick Wisdom all homered for the Cubs. The Reds, though, hit four of their own β€” including another two from Joey Votto β€” as the Cubs dropped their sixth game in thelr last 10.

  • Three of the Reds' home runs came during Adbert Alzolay's five innings. He leads the NL with 23 homers allowed.
  • Javy Baez was scratched with a heel issue, but was on deck representing the tying run against nemesis Amir Garrett when David Bote grounded out to end the game. That would've been fun.
  • Kris Bryant was linked to both the Rays and Giants during the day with San Francisco catching prospect Joey Bart mentioned as a possible return (though it was later doused by a Giants beat reporter).
  • Bryant also told reporters he'd considering coming back to the Cubs in free agency even if he's traded this week. I think that means exactly nothing, but it was an optimistic headline for some.

Next: Zach Davies (6-6, 4.30) vs. Tyler Mahle (7-3, 3.92)

  1. Giddyup. Matt Nagy says 20 carries per game is doable for David Montgomery this season. ESPN
  2. The Bulls are starting to sell NFTs of their six championship rings. 91 editions of the 1991 ring drop today. NBC Sports Chicago
  3. An ode to Niklas Hjalmarsson, the latest Hawks core member to call it a career. The Athletic
  4. Chicago's only all-girls baseball team won the national title over the weekend. Block Club Chicago
  5. Chicago Party Aunt just signed a deal for a show on Netflix, which means the rest of the world is about to learn about the Sybaris, the employee of the week at the Jewels and what goes on at Tai's Til 4. Block Club Chicago

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