Bengals shut down shorthanded Bears 21-10, just one ‘SCRIMMAGE’ left.

CINCINNATI—Andy Dalton‘s sore neck gave AJ McCarron a chance for his first NFL keepsake.Dalton sneaked in for a touchdown on Cincinnati’s opening drive, then came out of the game as a precaution with a sore neck on Saturday night during a 21-10 preseason victory over the Bears.The Bengals (2-1) were looking for a lot more out of their starting offense after a three-turnover performance in a loss at Tampa Bay. Dalton threw two interceptions in that one.On Saturday, he completed all six of his passes during a 16-play, 77-yard drive that consumed 9 minutes, 11 seconds. Dalton finished it with a sneak from inside the 1-yard line, emerged from the pile and spiked the ball.When Dalton reached the sideline, he took off his helmet and coach Marvin Lewis decided to keep him there because he had a sore neck. Dalton didn’t go for treatment, staying on the sideline for the rest of the first half.McCarron was impressive during his first stint with the starting offense. He completed his first seven passes, including a 31-yard throw to Marvin Jones for his first professional TD pass. He kept the ball, cradling it under his left arm as he jogged off the field.McCarron was a fifth-round pick out of Alabama last year, but missed his rookie season with a sore passing shoulder. He won the backup job after the second preseason game, and gave the Bengals a sense of confidence that he can keep the offense going if Dalton gets hurt.Bengals quarterbacks completed their first 13 passes against the Bears (2-1), who again failed to get a touchdown out of their starting offense. Jay Cutler played the first half and one series in the second half, leading to a Robbie Gould field goal.The Bears’ offense has managed five field goals and no touchdowns in the preseason.Cutler was 13 of 17 for 98 yards without an interception before he was replaced by Jimmy Clausen. The starting offense got six first downs and 123 yards on 29 plays. ”We’ve got a lot of stuff we’ve got to get cleaned up,” Cutler said.NO KIDDING!

NOTES—Second-round pick Eddie Goldman was expected to fill in at nose tackle while Jeremiah Ratliff serves a three-game suspension. Goldman left in the first half with a concussion. Ratliff hurt his left ankle and wore a boot after the game…. Clausen was 5 of 8 for 39 yards….McCarron played until the middle of the fourth quarter and finished 12 of 17 for 149 yards with a touchdown……The Bears touchdown came when undrafted rookie Ify Umodu broke through the line, blocked Kevin Huber‘s punt and returned it 8 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter…..Matt Forte carried six times for 16 yards. The Bears’ running game managed only 67 yards on 18 carries, an average of 3.7 yards…… ”The negative plays have just been killing us,” tackle Jermon Bushrod said. ”We’ve got to figure out a way to get into the end zone.”

Illinois launches Beckman–with cause.

Illinois Fighting Illini (2004 - 2013)

CHAMPAIGN—If there’s one lesson to be learned from Illinois coach Tim Beckman’s firing on Friday, it’s this: Players have a voice. It’s a voice that can correct injustices and better balance relationships with universities if players use it wisely.Ex-Illinois offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic figured that out in May when he went on Twitter and said Beckman tried to force him to play with knee and shoulder injuries and punished him for losing weight; he also said Illinois’ medical staff withheld information about his knee injury. It took guts to try to right a wrong. Not surprisingly, Cvijanovic got trashed by fans, some former teammates and even one adult who should have known better.Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas, who will probably be out of a job sooner rather than later, initially defended Beckman and said Cvijanovic’s allegations amounted to a “personal attack” on Illinois’ coach. But sure, Thomas added, he would internally investigate the claims in the near future with the university chancellor’s office. Later, Thomas took a more neutral approach while cautioning against a rush to judgment.Thomas quickly got removed from what became an external investigation. On Friday, Thomas had to own the firing of Beckman. Thomas’ name was all over the press release and his face was all over the cameras.Thomas said preliminary results from the investigation showed “efforts to deter injury reporting and influence medical decisions that pressured players to avoid or postpone treatment and continue playing despite injuries.” He also said there were instances in which players were treated “inappropriately” regarding whether they could stay on scholarship during spring semester of their senior year if they weren’t on the team.At one point in the news conference, Thomas actually said Illinois’ athletic department culture is “tremendous.” At that point, a reporter asked, “If that’s the case, how did all of this happen?” Thomas oversees an athletic department with football player grievances, a women’s basketball program in disarray amid a player lawsuit over alleged mistreatment, and a former women’s soccer player suing the school because she says the coaches and trainer mishandled her concussion.Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? Some of this mess could have been avoided if Thomas simply fired Beckman for his job performance after 2014. Would Beckman be out of a job now one week before the season if he had won more games? We don’t know. Beckman was a win-at-all-costs coach who lacked the winning part.

Beckman has now released a statement of his firing and defending his actions while he served as head coach at Illinois.

“I am shocked and extremely disappointed by the decision Mike Thomas and the University of Illinois made today regarding my employment as head coach of the football team,” Beckman said in the statement. “First and foremost, I firmly deny the implications in Mike’s statements that I took any action that was not in the best interests of the health, safety and well-being of my players. The health and well-being of our student-athletes is of paramount importance to me, and any statement made to the contrary is utterly false. Additionally, in connection with scholarships for student-athletes, I have complied with the policies and regulations of both the university and the NCAA and I have fully supported the university compliance office. Moreover, all of the actions that I took regarding individual scholarships were in lockstep with the university’s appointed personnel and the directions and approvals I received from university officials.

“I fully cooperated with the university’s investigation, having sat down for two lengthy interviews and turning over all documentation requested of me. The fact that the university did not even complete its investigation in this matter is evidence that this entire process was nothing more than a rush to judgment and confirms the university’s abject bad faith. Furthermore, the university’s actions today are in violation of the procedures mandated under my employment agreement. As such, I will vigorously defend both my reputation and my legal rights.

“I am very proud of my career at the University of Illinois. Off-field incidents involving my players have been essentially non-existent while academic performance and graduation rates have been extraordinary. The love and support I have received today from my players means everything to me.”

The language in Beckman’s statement certainly suggests that there will be a legal battle over his firing — most notably him saying “I will vigorously defend…my legal rights.” As it stands now, Beckman will not receive any of the remaining $3.1 million on his contract or $743,000 buyout due to the specific reasons of his firing.Beckman was 12-25 in three seasons as the head coach of the Illini.

Bears get past Colts 23-11 in sloppy Pre-Season event #2

INDIANAPOLIS—Jimmy Clausen outplayed Jay Cutler in the red zone Saturday night.After Cutler led the Bears to three field goals in a mistake-prone first half, his backup, Clausen, made amends for one big mistake by leading the Bears to two second-half touchdowns and a 23-11 victory at Indianapolis.

”I thought we made progress tonight in all phases,” first-year coach John Fox said after his second straight preseason win. ”But by no means have we arrived.”

Certainly not under the circumstances.Cutler’s touchdown run was called back because of a penalty, the Bears twice settled for field goals after moving inside the Colts 10-yard line, and Clausen’s interception late in the first half set up Adam Vinatieri’s 25-yard go-ahead field goal.Clausen was better in the second half.He wiped out the Colts’ 11-9 halftime lead by throwing a 12 -yard TD pass to Joshua Bellamy midway through the third quarter, and watched with delight as Jeremy Langford ended the next Bears series by breaking a tackle and scoring on a 2-yard run to make it 23-11 with 2:00 left in the third.

”We were just taking care of the ball and moving the chains,” Clausen said. ”We had some penalties early on, and the interception. We just got back into the swing of things and moved the chains.”

Cutler finished 8 of 9 for 69 yards and was sacked once in the return to his home state. Clausen was 6 of 9 for 54 yards with one TD and one interception. Langford ran nine times for 80 yards, and Matt Forte had eight carries for 24 yards in his first game action.That was good enough against the exhibition-challenged Colts, who have lost seven straight exhibition games since beating Cleveland on Aug. 24, 2013. The Colts also lost their fifth consecutive August game to the Bears, a streak that dates to 1995. And that wasn’t even the worst part.First-round draft pick Phillip Dorsett, the small, speedy receiver from Miami, left in the third quarter with what coach Chuck Pagano described as a bruised right knee.Andrew Luck finished 5 of 9 for 71 yards, was sacked once, scored on a 5-yard run and completed a 2-point conversion pass to Andre Johnson to give Indy an 8-6 lead.Sheldon Price’s interception set up Vinatieri’s field goal, but that was all the Colts could muster on a night rookie Josh Robinson rushed 13 times for 61 yards.

”We’re going to have a hard time winning football games when we’re beating ourselves,” Coach Chuck Pagano said.

Forte wasn’t the only big-name guy returning to action Saturday. But he was busy. Forte touched the ball on six of the Bears’ first nine plays after sitting out last week. Receiver T.Y. Hilton missed Indy’s preseason opener for personal reasons, and set up Indy’s first score with a 45-yard catch Saturday. Hilton wound up with two receptions for 52 yards.

NOTES—Langford, No. 3 on the depth chart, had the Bears two most spectacular plays of the night. On the Bears first TD drive, he found a gap in the middle and made safety Colt Anderson miss on a 46-yard run. Then, after breaking another tackle, Langford reversed field and got around the right side for a 2-yard score that actually covered about 30 yards…..Dorsett, running back Frank Gore and receiver Andre Johnson all made their home debuts Saturday. Gore had two carries for 10 yards, giving Colts fans a glimpse of what they might expect this season. Johnson officially had one catch for 8 yards, but also caught the 2-point conversion pass. Dorsett had three receptions for 21 yards….In addition to Dorsett, the Colts lost cornerbacks Greg Toler (strained neck) and Eric Patterson (concussion) and linebacker Daniel Adongo (cramps). None of the four returned to the game. Bears receiver Marquess Wilson (hamstring) left in the first half. Fox said it didn’t appear to be a serious injury. The Bears also played without receivers Alshon Jeffery (strained calf) and first-round draftee Kevin White (shin).

Surgery for Bears Rookie White…..could miss entire season.

LAKE FOREST—When the Bears drafted Kevin White the hope was that he would simplify Jay Cutler‘s life. And he still might, in much the same way big playmaking receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery have done in recent seasons. But White, the seventh overall pick out of West Virginia sustained a stress fracture in his shin during OTAs, and suffered a setback to that injury last week.The bad news: White will undergo surgery and miss at least the first six regular-season games.It gets worse: There’s a chance White won’t play at all this season. Interestingly, as recently as Friday White sounded like he was ready to get back on the field. “If it was up to me, I would be out there. I want to be practicing tomorrow, But it’s not my call. I’ve got to follow the rules. I feel I can play. But you’ve got to look at the coaches, trainers and if they say, ‘Kevin, give it another week, that’s what I have to do. Hopefully we’ll get some good news and hopefully I’ll be back out there very soon.” Unfortunately for Cutler and the Bears, “give it another week” has turned into something much longer than that. And with Marshall now on the Jets, Cutler will again lean heavily on Jeffery and hope that some combination of Eddie Royal, Marquess Wilson and Josh Bellamy can pick up the slack. Of course, there’s also tight end Martellus Bennett, and perhaps most importantly, running back Matt Forte, who’s eager to get back to “smashmouth” football. “When you run the ball, it’s more like an attack feeling,” Forte said last week. “They like smashmouth football, where you can bloody somebody’s nose and run and hit people. And then as a running back, you can get rhythm and kind of wear on defenses and wear them down, where that pass rush will be a lot less harder in the fourth quarter.” It also means that the offense isn’t reliant on Cutler heaving the ball all over the yard 40 times a game. “Anybody who has watched film from last year or anybody who is a smart coach knows that we can’t, especially being in Chicago, just throw the ball every down,” Forte continued. “We have to be balanced.” And that point becomes even more important with White now on the shelf. Even if White is able to return after 6 games, consider that he’s missed the entire Pre Season, and Rookies usually don’t contribute with no participation in Training Camp.

It proves nothing, but Bears backups pull past Miami’s scrubs 27-10.

It’s just the first Exhibition game, yet a Soldier Field actual crowd which was about half full saw the Bears reserves beat up Miami’s backups.Ryan Tannehill picked apart a rebuilt defense, throwing for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, and the Miami Dolphins led into the second half before the Bears rallied for a 27-10 victory in the preseason opener Thursday night.The Bears used two interceptions by reserves to set up a touchdown and field goal that gave them a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter.The rally aside, it was not a promising performance by a team coming off a five-win season. The Bears hired general manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox while overhauling the defense, but there clearly is work to do.Miami, 8-8 last season, looked good until Bears reserves made their move.Tannehill, armed with a $96 million contract extension, played like a big-money quarterback, going 6 of 7 for 56 yards. He threw a 2-yard touchdown to Jarvis Landry to finish an 85-yard drive and called it a night.Prized free-agent signing Ndamukong Suh did little, but a defense the Dolphins believe can dominate sure looked the part.The first-teamers shut down Jay Cutler and the rest of the Bears’ starters on the first possession. The Bears started moving on its second drive, which ended with a 48-yard field goal by Robbie Gould against a mix of mostly Miami reserves.Cutler played two possessions and threw for 42 yards, going 4 of 7. He did not commit a turnover after leading the league with 24 last season.Jimmy Clausen played until the closing minutes and was 17 of 27 for 151 yards. Jacquizz Rodgers started in place of Matt Forte and ran for 33 yards on seven carries. Ka’Deem Carey scored on a 1-yard run late in the third period that gave the Bears a 17-10 lead and finished with 34 yards rushing. Senorise Perry ran for a 54-yard TD late in the game.A defense that ranked among the worst in franchise history the past two years gave no indication a quick turnaround is coming. The Bears, switching from a 4-3 to 3-4 scheme under Fox and new coordinator Vic Fangio, quickly fell behind.The Dolphins overcame two holding penalties and burned 8:01 on that opening touchdown drive. Tannehill was nearly intercepted deep in Bears territory by Jared Allen, who reached out and knocked down a pass. But Landry’s TD gave Miami the lead.

NOTES—The Bears have two road games, a week from Saturday night at Indianapolis, and the following Saturday at Cincinnati. They then close the Pre Season out at homer against Cleveland….The first half was SO BORING that those who did not leave after the second quarter, seemed to enjoy the frisbee catching dogs on the field at halftime, more than the game itself.

Chicago gets NFL Draft again in 2016

The 2015 draft was a resounding success in Chicago. (Instagram/ItsMikeyTime1)
The 2015 draft was a resounding success in Chicago. (Instagram/ItsMikeyTime1)
Image result for nfl draft logo

SCHAUMBURG—The 2015 NFL Draft was held in Chicago and apparently the league was happy with the results because, the Windy City will host the draft in 2016 too. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement Tuesday during a joint press conference.New York had hosted the draft since 1965, with Radio City Music Hall serving as the venue from 2006-2014. The NFL and the Big Apple parted ways and the search for a new host city was underway. Like most things NFL-related, there was a huge demand. Last July, Goodell said 12 cities were interested, and the list was whittled down to Chicago and Los Angeles, with Chicago winning out.From the outset, the plan was to make the entire experience — not just the first round — an “event.”

“We’re talking about different concepts, primarily how to strengthen the last day and whether we should maybe push that back to the clubs a little bit more and allow the clubs to have a little bit more freedom as more of a club day,” Goodell said last summer. “Maybe they would announce the picks from there. We’re looking at everything under the sun, because there’s a great interest in it and we want to do something that’s more responsive to our fans.”

Mission accomplished, and then some.’s John Breech, who was in Chicago for the festivities, wrote that, “Turning the draft into a three-day festival might end up going down as the best decision the NFL has made since legalizing the forward pass.”

Which probably made it pretty easy to bring the draft back for one more year.

Another blow to Illini hoops, Abrams tears Achilles, to miss 2015-16 season

Tracy Abrams missed last season with a torn ACL and now will sit this season with a torn Achilles. (USATSI)
Tracy Abrams missed last season with a torn ACL and now will sit this season with a torn Achilles. (USATSI)

Illinois point guard Tracy Abrams will miss the 2015-16 season after suffering a torn left Achilles tendon during Monday’s practice, the school announced Tuesday.Abrams also missed all of last season with a torn ACL.

“First of all, my heart goes out to Tracy,” said Illinois coach John Groce. “He went through so much the last 10 months fighting back from a torn ACL to return to the court this summer in preparation for the upcoming season. So this is obviously a very difficult time for him right now. But … Tracy has the heart of a champion, and I know that he will handle this latest setback with the same courage and resolve in making a full recovery.”

Abrams started 19 games as a freshman in 2011-12, then averaged 10.6 points and 3.5 assists as a sophomore, then 10.7 points and 3.2 assists as a junior. The 6-foot-2 Chicagoan was a consensus top-75 national recruit coming out of high school. He has averaged at least 28 minutes per game in each of the past two seasons he’s played with the Illini.

How bad is Bettman’s Salary Cap for Stanley Cup Champs, LIKE THE BLACKHAWKS?

Patrick Sharp won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks. (USATSI)
Patrick Sharp won three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks. (USATSI)

When veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Stars this week he became the sixth different player to leave the Blackhawks this summer after playing in the Stanley Cup clinching game. He joined a list that already included Brad Richards, Antoine Vermette, Patrick Sharp, Kimmo Timonen and Brandon Saad. Some of them left as free agents, some of them were traded, one of them (Timonen) retired.It’s a significant chunk of the roster to replace (30 percent of the players that were in the lineup that night) and it was almost entirely because of financial reasons, something that just about every Stanley Cup winner eventually has to deal with in the salary cap era.But how does that roster turnover compare to past winners?To compare, I went back over the past 10 Stanley Cup winners (all in the salary cap era) and simply looked at how many players that were in the lineup for the Cup-clinching game ended up playing for different teams the next season. The average roster turnover for Cup winners: 3.3 players.The only teams that lost more than five players were two of the past three Blackhawks teams. Here is the complete breakdown.

2014-15 Blackhawks (6 — so far): Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya Brad Richards, Antoine Vermette, Kimmo Timonen.Those six players combined to score 53 goals (mostly from Saad and Sharp) for the Blackhawks during the regular season in 337 man-games with the team.With the Blackhawks still dealing with the salary cap crunch this list could continue to grow and perhaps include Bryan Bickell or Kris Versteeg.
2013-14 Los Angeles Kings (1): Willie Mitchell.The veteran defenseman was the only player to leave the team following the Kings’ second Stanley Cup win in three years, signing a free agent contract with the Florida Panthers.
2012-13 Blackhawks (3): Dave Bolland, Viktor Stalberg, Michael Frolik.Stalberg and Frolik left via free agency while Bolland, just days after scoring the Cup-clinching goal late in the third period of Game 6 to complete a wild comeback, was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for two draft picks. He would spend one season in Toronto before signing a huge contract with the Panthers the next offseason. Those three scored 19 goals in the lockout shortened season for the Hawks. 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings: (0): Every player in the lineup in their Game 6 win over New Jersey returned the next season.
2010-11 Boston Bruins (3): Tomas Kaberle, Michael Ryder, Mark Recchi, who was 42 during the season, retired after an incredibly successful career that saw him win three Stanley Cups with three different teams and score 577 goals. Ryder moved on as a free agent and signed with the Dallas Stars where he would score 35 goals the next season, while Kaberle, who was a trade deadline acquistion signed with the Carolina Hurricanes where he was a pretty big disappointment.
2009-10 Blackhawks (8): Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, Antti Niemi, Andrew Ladd, John Madden, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, Cristobal Huet. The original salary cap crunch with the Hawks was massive and saw the team lose several key players, including both goaltenders and a significant chunk of their forward depth with Byfuglien, Ladd and Versteeg all getting traded in the days after their Cup win. That group combined to score 72 goals in 494 man-games during the 2009-10 regular season, and even though Versteeg eventually returned to the Blackhawks (and is still a member of the team today) Ladd has gone on to become the captain of the Winnipeg Jets while Byfuglien is one of the most productive defensemen in the league.

Oduya headed elsewhere as Cap continues to cause Hawks roster trim

Johnny Oduya has informed the Blackhawks that he will not be re-signing, per reports. (USATSI)
Johnny Oduya has informed the Blackhawks that he will not be re-signing, per reports. (USATSI)

Another important piece of the Blackhawks‘ last two Stanley Cup titles is on his way out of town. Unrestricted free agent defenseman Johnny Oduya, who won the Cup in 2013 and 2015 with the Blackhawks, confirmed through agent Don Meehan that he will not be returning to the club according to multiple reports.Oduya’s new team is expected to be announced today according to Brian Hedger of It is believed both the Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres were among the teams in pursuit of his services.Oduya had reportedly been waiting to see if the Blackhawks could resolve their salary cap issues to fit him in, despite being among the top defensemen on the free agent market.The 33-year-old blueliner had 10 points in 76 games with the Blackhawks last season while averaging 20:17 per game. He also notched five assists during the team’s Stanley Cup run, while averaging nearly 25 minutes per game, as the Blackhawks dealt with limited defensive depth.Oduya spent parts of four seasons with the Hawks after being traded from the Winnipeg Jets late in the 2011-12 season for a pair of draft picks.A veteran of 664 NHL games, Oduya also spent time with the New Jersey Devils and the Atlanta Thrashers before the team moved to Winnipeg. He has 152 career points and has average top-four minutes throughout his career.The Swedish rearguard joins a long line of players from this year’s Stanley Cup team headed out of town. Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp were both traded away, while Antoine Vermette and Brad Richards left via unrestricted free agency. Additionally, Kimmo Timonen retired. There are other moves expected as well, as Hawks remain in a salary-cap crunch.

Sharp latest “cap” victom, sent to Dallas.

Patrick Sharp has been traded to the Dallas Stars. (USATSI)
Patrick Sharp has been traded to the Dallas Stars. (USATSI)

Given their salary cap situation it was simply a matter of when, and not if, the Blackhawks were going to trade veteran forward Patrick Sharp this offseason.On Friday night they finally did it.The Blackhawks sent Sharp and defenseman Stephen Johns to the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt.Sharp, 33, still has two years remaining on his current contract that pays him an average of $5.9 million per season. Together, Daley and Garbutt will count $5.1 million against the cap over the next two seasons. When you factor in the $800,000 Johns would have made on the NHL roster, the cap savings come out to around $2.5 million for the Blackhawks.Even with that savings, the Blackhawks are still only a little more than $980,000 below the league’s salary cap ($71.4 million) for the upcoming season with only 21 players under contract, via General Fanager.They still have to re-sign restricted free agent Marcus Kruger and were still interested in bringing back veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya, though the addition of Daley could certainly impact that.Sharp scored 16 goals and recorded 27 assists for the Blackhawks in 68 regular season games this past season. He had been with the team since the middle of the 2005-06 season when he was acquired in a trade from the Philadelphia Flyers and was a core player on a Blackhawks team that won three Stanley Cups in six years.He is no longer in the prime of his career, obviously, and his production started to drop a bit this past season, but he is still an extremely productive player that should prove to be a huge addition in Dallas. He is now joining a Stars team that was already one of the best offensive teams in the league, finishing the 2014-15 season by averaging 3.13 goals per game, the second highest mark in the league behind only the Tampa Bay Lightning.Along with the Sharp, the Stars also have the Art Ross Trophy winner (Jamie Benn), Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and Valeri Nichushkin in their top-six. Adding Sharp to that mix is only going to improve their chances of rebounding from what was a disappointing 2014-15 season.They also looked to upgrade their goaltending this offseason by bringing in former Hawk Antti Niemi to form a veteran duo with Kari Lehtonen.An underrated part of this deal for the Stars is getting Johns along with Sharp. He is a promising young prospect on the blue line that figured to be a part of the Blackhawks roster this season given their salary cap crunch and the number of openings they were set to have on defense. He was originally drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Blackhawks. He appeared in 51 games for Rockford in the American Hockey League this past season, recording 21 points (four goals, 17 assists).For the Blackhawks, it’s pretty incredible to see them move Sharp and Brandon Saad and still be in a position where they have almost no room under the cap. They did manage to get some quality NHL players back in return in both deals (and the Saad trade could prove to be a big one for them), but they still probably need to make another move (Kris Versteeg or Bryan Bickell if anybody would take his contract) to finish the roster.Garbutt has turned into a pretty solid depth player over the past couple of years, while Daley fills a spot on the blue line. Daley is coming off of a big year offensively, finishign with a career high 16 goals and 38 points in only 68 games, but he struggled at times defensively.So far this offseason the Blackhawks have lost Brad Richards and Antoine Vermete in free agency and traded Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad and Stephen Jones.In return they have Viktor Tikhonov (free agency), Artemy Panarin (free agency), Marko Dano, Artem Anisimov, Trevor Daley, Ryan Garbutt, Jeremy Morin, and Corey Trop.