When the Chicago Blackhawks did Marian Hossa a solid by signing his pal Tomas Kopecky, it seemed like it was a glorified way to make their new big winger happy. Maybe that really was the case – to some extent – but Kopecky actually acquitted himself quite nicely during his days in Chicago. Kopecky wasn’t a star by any means, but he was a solid contributor, scoring 63 points in 155 regular season games and six in 18 postseason contests.
Whether you think he was a glorified add-in to the Hossa era or not, he won’t be with his buddy in Chicago any longer. CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers reports that the Blackhawks dealt Kopecky to (you guessed it) the Florida Panthers for a seventh round pick in either 2012 and 2013.*
The Blackhawks are basically using Florida as a retirement home of sorts for excess players from the Dale Tallon era (Tallon currently ranks as the Panthers’ GM). Kopecky will be an unrestricted free agent, so Chicago GM Stan Bowman & Co. apparently decided that he wouldn’t be a part of the team’s future. Tallon was responsible for the Kopecky signing – just like he was the guy who signed and then traded for Brian Campbell – so it makes sense that the Panthers might want to give Kopecky a short-term deal.
Aside from Rick Dudley’s family, the Blackhawks might have been the most upset about the fact that the former Atlanta Thrashers GM was fired during the Winnipeg relocation. Dudley might whisper in Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke’s ear about the splendor of certain Chicago cast-offs, but it’s not the same as having two Southeast Division teams to pawn off unwanted Blackhawks.
Then again, with the journey the Panthers must make to get to the salary cap floor, Bowman might only need one glorified puck-based pawnshop to clean up his roster. That depot in Sunrise, Florida might just do the trick.
* – Florida’s 2012 seventh rounder might go to the Nashville Predators. Chicago will receive the ’12 pick if it doesn’t and the ’13 one if it does.