New Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Collition has a lot to fix with his club, and honestly, there isn't much he can do when we consider the latest blow the team took earlier when star goalie Corey Crawford suffered another concussion before the holiday break. The veteran goalie suffered a concussion after hitting his head on a goalpost in a 7-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks 10 days ago, on Dec. 16th. The team placed its netminder on injured reserve on the following Monday, a new low for the team already struggling since the start of the regular calendar. It could also be the ultimate blow to the club, as there is now real concern that not only Crawford’s season may be in jeopardy, but indeed his NHL career.
The woes keep piling up on the poor team's back and some players just don't know what to do anymore... According to team insider Mark Lazerus of The Athletic, Blackhawks defenseman Brandon Manning isn’t seeking a trade but he’s open to one. The 28-year-old blue liner has been a recent serial healthy scratch, and has revealed that he wouldn’t be upset over a trade after noting a recent report suggesting he and Jan Ruutu had been made available by the team.
“I’ve never been a guy, when things go sideways or things aren’t going well, to call my agent,” he said. “Look, obviously I want to be playing. But you hear the rumors, and even with (Rutta) gone now, you’ve still got (Brandon) Davidson and you’ve still got Joki. I want to play every day. So if I’m not going to get that here, and if there’s an opportunity somewhere else, you probably look at those different avenues. But like you said, I’ve got a two-year contract, so I’m not the guy knocking on the door asking to get out of here and asking why I’m not playing every day. I try to be mature about it and understand it.”
Lazerus is now reporting that a source claims the Blackhawks have received little interest, suggesting the Hawks might have to absorb up to half of Manning’s salary to move him. Manning gets it: it's a tough call for GM Stan Bowman, and feels even more for poor head coach Colliton, who is trying his best to steer his ship back in the right direction.
“(Colliton) came into a pretty tough spot, too,” Manning added. “Obviously, those are big shoes to fill, and the organization has had a lot of success over the years, and there are some pretty impressive players in this dressing room. For him, being a young guy in his first NHL experience, to come into this, I think that’s tough.”
Manning is signed through the 2019-20 season with an annual cap hit of $2.25 million and he does lack a no-trade protection, according to the information provided by Cap Friendly.
If his playing time keeps dropping, Bowman could try to display Manning on the trade block closer to the February deadline in hopes a contender seeking experienced depth on the back end becomes willing to take him off their hands.