SAN JOSE, Calif. — A look at the notable moves made during Dale Tallon’s run as general manager from June 21, 2005, to July 14, 2009, that make the Hawks what they are today — a team in the Western Conference finals for the second consecutive year:
THE DRAFT PICKS
THE PICK: Third overall in the 2006 draft.
THE RESULTS: Tallon made a strong push to select Toews in the 2006 draft. After he got him, all Toews did was blossom into a star when he joined the Hawks. Toews, whom Tallon named captain in 2008-09, is regarded as one of the league’s best two-way forwards. He totaled 54, 69 and 68 points in his first three seasons.
Toews was named the best forward in the Vancouver Olympics and he currently leads the NHL in playoff scoring — only bolstering his reputation as a big-game player. He is the leader of the young core of players who will make the Hawks competitive for years to come.
THE QUOTE: ”It’s nice to know he had a feeling and really pushed for them to pick me in that draft — you feel really special, you feel wanted as a player. … He’s the type of guy who makes you feel comfortable and really got me started off on the right foot.”
THE PICK: First overall in the 2007 draft.
THE RESULTS: The major debate was taking a smaller, skilled player in Kane, who could make an immediate impact, or a larger player who could possibly develop into something better. Tallon went with Kane over James van Riemsdyk and Kyle Turris, the second and third picks. It was the right choice.
Kane won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 2007-08 with 21 goals and 72 points. He followed that up with 70 points last year and 88 this season. Kane, a U.S. Olympian, is considered one of the most dangerous players in the league with the puck. Turris and van Riemsdyk have 25 career goals, including the regular season and playoffs, combined. Kane scored 30 this season.
THE QUOTE: ‘‘You’ve got to be happy for a guy like that, especially a guy who drafted you first overall and had the guts to pick me back then.”
THE MOVE: Acquired from Philadelphia with Eric Meloche in exchange for Matt Ellison and a third-round pick in the 2006 draft on Dec. 5, 2005. The Flyers traded the third-round pick to Montreal, which selected Ryan White.
THE RESULTS: Sharp has scored 116 goals in the regular season since being acquired by Tallon. He scored seven last year in the playoffs and has six goals and 15 points this postseason. White has only played 16 games in the NHL, while Ellison has yet to land a full-time spot on an NHL roster. Sharp is a leader in the Hawks dressing room and a consistent two-way player. He is very versatile, having the abilities to play wing or center and handle the point on the power play.
THE MOVE: Acquired from Boston for Brandon Bochenski on Feb. 3, 2007.
THE RESULTS: Versteeg was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie team in 2009 after being a finalist for the Calder Trophy with 22 goals and 53 points. He had 20 goals and 24 assists during the regular season and continued to see time on both the penalty-kill and power-play units. He is dynamic in the open ice and has very good hands. After a decent start in Boston, Bochenski has bounced from team to team in the NHL and various minor-league affiliates.
THE MOVE: Acquired from Carolina in exchange for Tuomo Ruutu on Feb. 26, 2008.
THE RESULTS: Ruutu was a fan favorite in Chicago for his physical play and potential. But he never panned out to be a top-line player, partially because of injuries. Ladd is just as gritty as Ruutu, but a lot more durable. Ladd also brings Stanley Cup experience and skill to the Hawks’ lineup. His value is one of the underappreciated aspects of the Hawks.
THE SIGNATURE: May 5, 2008.
THE RESULTS: Niemi has virtually come out of nowhere to lead the Hawks in the postseason. He made a career-high 44 saves in his Game 1 win over the San Jose Sharks. He played in 39 games in the regular season, finishing with a 2.25 goals-against average and 26-7-4 record. His emergence as a viable No. 1 goalie helped make up for the struggles of Cristobal Huet, whom Tallon signed to a major deal on July 1, 2008.
THE SIGNATURE: July 1, 2008.
THE RESULTS: Tallon wanted a defenseman who could handle the point on the power play and move it quickly up the ice, and signed Campbell to do so. He is a big part of the Hawks’ puck-possession game. His value to the Hawks became more apparent when he missed the final 14 games of the regular season and the first three games of the playoffs with a broken collarbone and rib.
THE SIGNATURE: July 1, 2009.
THE RESULTS: Hossa’s signing filled the void left by the departure of winger Martin Havlat, who was acquired in another keen trade by Tallon. An elite-level player, he does many little things that go unnoticed but win games. He is great on the penalty kill and tough to free from the puck. Had 51 points in 57 games after returning from shoulder surgery in his first season with the Hawks.