San Jose Sharks Lose Again to Chicago Blackhawks

July 14th, 2010 by MJ Kasprzak Leave a reply »
On Monday, the San Jose Sharks lost again to the Chicago Blackhawks in the pursuit of young defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

It was the eighth time in nine contests in which the newly elite franchise bested them in the last nine months: Before losing in the free agent battle, San Jose lost three of four regular season games to Chicago and were swept in four playoff games in May.

However, in one respect, they succeeded: Hjalmarsson's contract will further handcuff a team that has already lost eight players who had their names etched on Lord Stanley's Cup a mere month ago.

San Jose also gets to keep the first and third round picks they would have surrendered had Chicago not matched their offer to the blueliner, and will not have to dump talent to get under the cap themselves.

Nevertheless, the chief advantage Chicago had over every other team in the playoffs was their blueline. They clearly had the best in the business, and have kept it primarily intact.

Here is a look at the bluelines for the teams that have represented the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup finals post-lockout:

2006 (Edmonton ...

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