Actually, there will be "deals" between now and February 26. And there will be red all over some of them, as in Chicago road red.
Look for the Hawks to make some moves beyond the typical "trade Zyuzin, Perreault and a box of tape to Carolina for a conditional late round pick in 2012 and the rights to Wayne van Dorp."
Look for the Hawks to potentially make some big moves. Here's why:
If you're planning for next year (as the Hawks really should be. They are 8 points out of a playoff spot going into a tough weekend road series against the Kings and the Ducks) and view the future as Seabrook, Keith, Byfuglien, Toews, Kane, Sharp and Wisniewski, then there are all kinds of deals to be made. And a few holes to fill to become a championship level team.
Some holes and possible targets:
Young goalies. Khabibulin's deal expires after next year, and they might not even want him next year. There's no #1 goalie in the pipeline near being ready for the NHL. Possible target: Jaroslav Halak in Montreal (especially if you believe Eklund, who says Tallon wants him).
Top 4 d-man to run the PP. Target: Brian Campbell
Maybe Marc Staal is available (though I put absolutely no stock in fourthperiod.com rumors). The Hawks will need an elite #2 center to win Cups.
What do the Hawks have to deal?
Havlat, Khabibulin, Lang, Jason Williams, Troy Brouwer, maybe Cam Barker, maybe Sopel, Ruutu, Bourque, and former high draft pick/power forward prospects: Bryan Bickell, Mike Blunden, and Jack Skille.
The Hawks could deal with any playoff bound team that is looking for a top wing, 3rd line center or playoff-tested goalie (Montreal, Ottawa, NJ, Pitt., Det.). Or they could deal players and prospects to a non-playoff team looking to get return for a pending free agent (Buffalo).
Why do it now? Because if there's a guy you want, this is your chance. Teams are looking to deal. A playoff bound team could want Campbell as much or more than the Hawks. There might not be any good goalies (under age 40!) available in the off-season. A lot of teams not only want one around, they want two.
Deals are like chemical reactions: they require certain raw materials, a catalyst, the right environment and timing. And ALL the elements are there for Blackhawk deals: the raw ingredients, the catalyst, the timing. Yes, money could be an issue. Some of the Hawks chips have big salaries. But there are myriad ways to get around that. 3-team deals, taking on someone's highly salaried impending UFA, clearing cap room in one way or another. It can be done.
The writing is on the wall. It very likely will be done.