The biggest reason I say don’t go for it YET, is because you run the risk of becoming the Minnesota Wild, okay, but never good enough. We still need a piece or two, and Bowman isn’t the guy to get the big name at a responsible price in free agency. I get that enough is enough losing, but we’ve suffered through worse, and I don’t mind losing if it means being better than ever later on.
Either way...playoffs or no playoffs, move Crow if he will waive; he should fetch a 2nd with 1/2 salary retained to a competitor like Carolina or Toronto. Toronto fans are delirious at the moment thinking they can get a great backup (frankly that's what they absolutely need given Andersen's streaky and average play), so avoid proposing a trade to them on here as you will get jumped on by the usual homer boys.
With the injuries to De Haan and Seabs and Gilbert showing he's not quite ready for game in and game out action, I don't think we will trade Gus at this point if we win against 2 out of the next 3 (Florida, Arizona, Minnesota). After that the Hawks face a uphill battle with the schedule; Bos, WPG, EDM, VAN, CGY, WPG, NRY, NSH,DAL, STL, TBL, FLA. The month of March is a much easier schedule and Hawks for sure could go 10 wins out of 15. So going into that uphill battle the Hawks have to win the next 2 out 3 because that next 12 games going 50/50 would be good enough. All said, that's 18 more wins and let's say 2 losses in OT = 38 points. Then the two in April they split a win and loss so 40 points being a likely scenario putting them at 94 points for the season. Should be enough to make the wild card but will be tight.
How do we do it....
Kubalik has been a needle in the haystack and now with Saad back; the line of Saad - Toews - Kubalik is going to be downright dangerous. All 3 of those guys are also very good defensively, very tough line to play against.
Debrincat and Strome need to find their games, that is obvious. When Strome comes back, he and debrincat better start lighting it up otherwise I'd say either or both are trade bait. I know many are going to disagree but if we need to save on a cap, it's not something out of the cards to move one of them.
Kampf has looked really good recently, love his game. Very solid pickup. Highmore has stepped in nicely. Carps is playing pretty solid. Dach is playing great for being so young. Caggs has re-energized the guys. Maatta and Koekko...WOW have they looked solid. This team has everyone playing really well right now and with that many players clicking they could be dangerous in the west.
Going into the offseason there are HUGE questionmarks around Shaw and De Haan. Shaw with multiple serious concussions and De Haan with his 4th shoulder surgery, if either of them come back do we really want them back at a collective $8.5M cap hit? I would venture to say we all agree no. Seabs is interesting and he will probably not be ready till December'ish so there is some prorated cap savings there at the beginning of next season. He's perfectly fine as a 7th guy, better then 95% of 7th guys on any other team and his contract is what it is, but no...he should not replace Mitchell, Boqvist and definitely not Murphy...that should be your right side locked and loaded. On the left Keith, Maatta and potentially Seabs if Dehaan is done or De haan in and seabs in the pressbox.