They're still Cup drunk at our Blackhawks blog, Second City Hockey, and you can't blame them. Today's trade, however, saw three vital pieces of that Cup run shipped out of town, quickly jolting them from their haze. But they knew this was coming, and they knew it was necessary. For those reasons, they're okay with it.
My initial take on this is that this is a fantastic deal by Bowman. While no one can coach Byfuglien's size, the fact of the matter is that there are far more willing wingers on this team to go to the net in most situations, and all of them are more mobile than Buff. While yes, he has been a playoff "killer", keep in mind he did that killing against very inferior defensive corps in Vancouver and San Jose. The instant someone with as equal skill wants it more than Buff, he disappears, as evidenced by Games 1-4 of the finals, and pretty much every regular season game. I'll be thankful for his contributions, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it.
As far as what ramifications this move has, it appears that the Hawks will now be able to qualify Andrew Ladd, one of the aforementioned willing wingers, who's only due a slight raise from his $1.6 hit. This also all but seals John Madden's exit, which is fine, as we all knew he was likely a one-year and done guy with the Hawks last July. It also makes Patrick Sharp even less likely to be moved, and it appears they're going to commit to him as the full-time #2 center. I'd still prefer a bona-fide second line center for he and Hossa, but that might not be doable given the fiduciary bind the Hawks are in, unless something really creative happens.
Kris Versteeg can breathe a little easier as well, though if I were him I wouldn't go buying any lakefront property just yet. There's still more money to be shed, and losing guys like Burish or Fraser won't bring enough of a relief. Don't think for a second that this is the last move of the off-season, but as of right now, the Hawks got a very good return on some moveable assets, and didn't hurt their chances at a Cup defense, which is all that we can ask of the man named after the Chalice. Stan Bowman gets high marks from me on this one.