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If you see a nail, find a Hammer

In light of Bobby Clarke igniting the Offer Sheet War amongst NHL general managers, I'd like to highlight a potential target for another such deal: Dan Hamhuis of the Nashville Predators. Hamhuis is a solid defenseman entering his third NHL season. In 162 games, he's racked up 14 goals and 50 assists, and finished with a respectable +11 plus/minus rating last season. With the departure of veterans Brendan Witt and Danny Markov, "Hammer" is expected to play a major role on what many expect to be a Stanley Cup-contending team. According to The Tennessean, he made $900,000 last year and is looking for a significant raise, but his agent and the Predators remain far apart in negotiations.

So who'd be interested in a 23 year old, talented two-way blueliner who logged over 22 minutes a game last season? You'd think teams would be stumbling over each other to make an offer. But let's take a look at some of the obvious candidates:

Edmonton Oilers: They lost Chris Pronger, and have plenty of cap room. After last spring's playoff run, they should have plenty of dough to throw into this. With today's salary cap and the growing strength of the Canadian dollar vs. the American greenback, Edmonton can't cry poor anymore.

Atlanta Thrashers and Columbus Blue Jackets: These two teams aspire to their first playoff appearance, and depth on the blueline is lacking on both squads.

Carolina Hurricanes: With Frantisek Kaberle on the shelf, they need some help.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Somebody's got to play defense so Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin can zoom up and down the ice, afterall.

New York Islanders: Something along the lines of a 20-year, $73.5 million offer should do the trick, right?

Come on, NHL GM's. This is some low-hanging fruit right here. It's absurd that a young defenseman of this quality hasn't gotten interest from any other teams. Surely, anything over the $2 million/year mark will make Nashville nervous, and for Columbus in particular, they have a chance to better themselves and wound a division rival in the process. Let's see some action!
 

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