If any of the Hawks players had to sum up the 2017-2018 season in one word, most of them would say it was “disastrous” or “horrendous”. Nevertheless, the Hawks have had an extremely poor season compared to previous years. It shows the affect on the players too.
After a 3-2 loss to the Blue Jackets on Saturday, Patrick Kane sounded extremely defeated in a post-game interview with the Chicago Tribune. He wasn’t too thrilled about the trade deadline approaching either. “It’ll be a different situation, this is probably the last time this group of guys will play together.” The tradeline started this past Monday at 2PM and some players weren’t happy about the result.
So far, winger Ryan Hartman has been traded to the Nashville Predators for a 2018 first round pick, a fourth-round pick, and winger Victor Ejdsell. This was especially hard for Hawks young prospect, Vinnie Hinostroza as the two grew up together, playing on the same teams. While it isn’t the best news for the Hawks, its good for the playoff bound, Predators who are the exact opposite of the Hawks, sitting in first place of the Central Division.
The Hawks have made the playoffs the past nine seasons and their chances of making it this season are the lowest they’ve ever been (about one percent) according to hockeyrefernce.com. This is an extreme confidence killer for the Hawks.
But the one person who it hits the hardest is Coach Quenneville, who has never had a losing season in his 20 years as a coach. Out of those 20 years of coaching, only twice have his teams failed to make the post season. At this point in the season, the Hawks are playing for next season as they would need a miracle to somehow clinch the playoffs this season.
As of Sunday, the Hawks were over $4 million under the salary cap. The solution to this? Let go as many unrestricted free agents as possible in order to sign more young guys, which is just what Hawks GM Stan Bowman wants. Possible players include Tommy Wingels, Jan Rutta, and Patrick Sharp are some who may be released after this season.
As far as the trade deadline goes, I think the Hawks benefited from trading Hartman away. He wasn’t performing too well this season and would take multiple penalties. He racked up over 50 minutes of penalties for the Hawks just this season alone. He was even benched by Coach Q after taking a stupid high sticking penalty, which could’ve been easily avoided, ended up costing the Hawks a Blue Jackets powerplay goal.
After this season, Hartman will be an unrestricted free agent, but it is expected that the Predators will negotiate a contract as time goes on.
The Hawks next game is 9 p.m. Thursday as they take on the San Jose Sharks, (34-21-9) who sit in second place in the Pacific Division.