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Hits keep coming for Hawks

Published: Monday, July 1, 2013 6:53 p.m. CDT
Caption
(AP)
The Blackhawks made the necessary moves to have enough money to sign unrestricted free agent Bryan Bickell (29) to a 4-year contract Sunday.

CHICAGO – West Dundee wunderkind Ryan Hartman is heading home.

So is Toronto-area talent Dave Bolland.

Michael Frolik apparently missed out on the narrative during Sunday’s flurry of Blackhawks transactions. Is Winnipeg, Manitoba, on the way to the Czech Republic?

It says here that Bryan Bickell is from Ontario, but with apologies to Ozzie Guillen, the 6-foot-4, 233-pound forward embodies the meaning of “Chicago tough.”

It’s OK, Hawks. You’ve earned the right to keep hogging all of the headlines.

Although it took longer than 17 seconds – barely – general manager Stan Bowman and the Hawks addressed several of their most important offseason priorities during the course of Sunday’s NHL draft at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Here’s a timeline of the Hawks’ busiest day since, um, 2 days earlier:

5:06 p.m.

The Hawks select Hartman with the final pick of the first round (No. 30 overall). Hartman, who grew up playing hockey at Leafs Ice Centre in West Dundee and attended Fremd High School, is a small but feisty forward who has drawn comparisons to the Hawks’ Andrew Shaw and Boston’s Brad Marchand. The 18-year-old last played for the Plymouth (Mich.) Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.

5:46 p.m.

The Hawks trade Bolland to the Toronto Maple Leafs for three draft picks, including second- and fourth-round selections in 2013 and a fourth-rounder in 2014. Although Bolland won two Stanley Cups with the Hawks and punched in the goal that capped off a dream season, the money-saving move was not a big surprise. Here’s hoping for great things for Bolland, a likeable 27-year-old forward who was born in Toronto and scored 70 goals in parts of seven seasons with the Hawks.

6:10 p.m.

The Hawks select Swedish defenseman Carl Dahlstrom in the second round (No. 51 overall) with one of the picks they received in exchange for Bolland. Naturally, Dahlstrom will not generate the same sort of buzz as top pick Hartman. But the Hawks have fared well in the second round with picks such as Brandon Saad (2011), Bolland (2004), Bickell (2004), Corey Crawford (2003) and Duncan Keith (2002).

6:17 p.m.

The Hawks trade Frolik to the Winnipeg Jets for two picks – a third-rounder and a fifth-rounder – in Sunday’s draft. Frolik, 25, developed into a prolific penalty killer and tallied 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) in two-plus seasons with the Hawks. He likely will have a bigger role with the Jets, where he will join a pair of 2010 Hawks champions in Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd. By trading Frolik, the Hawks shaved $2.33 million off next season’s payroll. More on that later.

6:49 p.m.

The Hawks use their third-round pick from the Frolik trade to select 18-year-old forward John Hayden, who was born in Chicago but grew up in Greenwich, Conn. Some experts projected that Hayden could be selected toward the end of the first round, so the Hawks did well to grab him in Round 3. Hayden has committed to play at Yale this winter, and the Hawks have no need to rush him through the system.

7:01 p.m.

After finding other teams to pay Bolland ($3.375 million) and Frolik ($2.33 million) for next season, the Hawks clear up money to re-sign unrestricted free agent Bickell to a 4-year contract. According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the deal includes a $1 million bonus plus a $2 million salary for 2013-14, along with payments of $4 million in 2014-15 and $4.5 million in each of the final two seasons. Bickell earned the raise with a terrific postseason in which he scored nine goals with eight assists as the perfect complement to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the top line.

Although some work remains – restricted free agents Nick Leddy and Marcus Kruger will require new deals – Bowman completed his heavy lifting only 2 days after the Hawks hoisted the Stanley Cup in front of millions of exuberant Hawks fans who lined Washington Street and packed Grant Park.

One of these days, Bowman can settle down for a nap.

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