The Chicago Blackhawks and Stan Bowman made two moves Friday night at the NHL Entry draft that have left many of us saying, “Hey Stan….What the?”…… And we aren’t talking about the draft picks either. Troy Brouwer was dealt to the Washington Capitals for a first round pick in this years draft. Not a bad move considering that Brouwer was a seventh overall pick himself and doesn’t necessarily seem worthy of a number one pick. But as the old saying goes, you have to give to get, and the Caps like what they see. I liked Troy too, and I always enjoyed watching him play and wanted him to succeed. It just never seemed as though coach Q was going to give him that chance. Not to say that Brouwer didn’t take advantage of his opportunities either, but these two were just not on the same page. Brouwer has the potential to score 25-30 goals, and just never seemed to grab the opportunity…..consistently. The Hawks will miss his physicality as Troy was consistently banging bodies, digging in the corners and not afraid of a scrum or two. And he did it without biting. I wish him the best of luck in D.C.
The bigger news however was the trading of defenceman Brian Campbell to the Florida Panthers for the enigmatic Rostislav Olesz. Rusty as he is called sometimes is coming off ACL surgery, and has never played a full season in the NHL. The one year he came close he played 75 games. After that season, the general manager at the time for the Florida Panthers, Jacques Martin signed him to a six year deal. Martin who had no business being a GM, was handing out long term deals like “Chicago’s Finest” hand out speeding tickets at the end of the month, and Olesz was one of the benefactors. Much to the dismay of Panther fans, who are quite happy with the trade.
The loss of Campbell initially hurts. However if we put the money aside for a minute, we’re losing a smooth skating, puck moving defenceman with a nice offensive upside. He was a hard worker, a good guy in the dressing room and on the ice. He was also very well liked by his teammates. He’ll be missed for all of his offensive attributes, and the work ethic that he brought to the team. The big question that we need to ask ourselves is, if not now when? And what else does Stan have in the works? Campbell is 32 years old, how difficult would it be to find a trade partner when he’s 33 or 34. That albatross of a contract combined with what could be a decline in stats is troubling. Bill Belichick the successful coach of the New England Patriots prides himself on moving players one or two years early. I think that analogy works here. You need a trade partner to make things happen and the Florida Panthers have to spend money to reach the cap floor. It’s ironic that the same guy that signed Campbell in the first place is the man that gets him again.
It’s not the end of the world, and as much as it upsets us that another piece of the Stanley Cup winning team is moving on, this provides the Hawks with cap flexibility for the future. And for that, we need to be thankful for. No offence to Campbell, but we all love Patrick Sharp, and not just because he’s so handsome. This move allows the Hawks to keep Sharpie here, as well as go after some big name free agents. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Shea Weber patrol the blue line? Pipe dream, but maybe he takes a bit less to come to Chicago to play with Toews, Kane and Hossa. Stan has to have a plan in the works, as he’s known for being a master of the salary cap. No one knows it better than he does, and that knowledge is about to be tested, and crucified if things don’t pan out.
As for Olesz, I’ll cover him in a follow up story, but don’t expect too much. Matter of fact if we get 25 points and a full season it will be a major accomplishment for him. If he’s traded, bought out or buried in the AHL, we won’t miss him.
I wish both Brouwer and Campbell the best. Brian waived his NTC to reunite himself with Dale in Florida, where he’ll have a bigger role. Good for him, and I wish him nothing but the best. Thanks Soupy for the memories.
Now Stan, get to work!
Thanks for reading.