Chicago Sun-Times

Is Andrew Ladd the next to go?

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2Ladd.jpgNow that Kris Versteeg and Dustin Byfuglien are gone. Who is next in the Blackhawks' dis-assembly line?

It looks like it may be Andrew Ladd. A source said the gritty winger could potentially be on the move if the Hawks can find the right deal.

Ladd, a restricted free agent, was a hot topic during the NHL draft in Los Angeles. The Hawks sent Ladd a qualifying offer late Saturday night.

By qualifying Ladd, the Hawks basically protect themselves since they were unable to trade him before Monday's deadline for qualifying offers.

If a qualifying offer is not made, a player becomes an unrestricted free agent. Free agency starts Thursday at 11 a.m. (CST). If Ladd receives an offer sheet from another team and opts to sign with them, the Hawks would receive compensation.

The Hawks reportedly extended Ladd a $1.65 million qualifying offer. But Ladd has arbitration rights and could be in line for a raise. So money is still an issue for the Hawks, especially if bonus overages turn out to be a major factor as many suspect.

Hawks GM Stan Bowman was asked about his restricted free agents, specifically Antti Niemi and Niklas Hjalmarsson on Wednesday. It has been speculated that Niemi and Hjalmarsson will receive offer sheets from other teams interested in their talents.

"These guys are going to remain with the Blackhawks," Bowman said. "We're certainly going to work on getting them signed. ... They're not going anywhere."

What wasn't clear was whether "these guys" also includes Ladd, especially after the Hawks traded Kris Versteeg and his $3 million-plus cap hit to the Toronto Maple Leafs late Wednesday .

Ladd has the size (6-2, 200 pounds), skill and toughness all teams covet. He had a career-high 17 goals in the regular season. Ladd also overcame a fractured shoulder and a torn tendon suffered in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals to become a factor in the Stanley Cup finals.

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times for more than four years, covering the Hawks, Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.

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This page contains a single entry by Adam L. Jahns published on July 1, 2010 12:07 AM.

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