Strong Off-Season Key To Chicago Blackhawks’ Success
The Chicago Blackhawks have found themselves at the top of the NHL heap with their Stanley Cup win in 2013.
Just winning the Cup wasn’t the biggest achievement the team made, but taking the championship just 3 seasons After winning it 2010. In the age of parity, the Blackhawks have defied the odds, and found themselves with two championship rings in twice as many years. Below, we take a look at the Blackhawks 2010 and 2013 off-seasons.
It was a surprise. Patrick Kane’s game six overtime goal gave the Blackhawks their first championship in almost half a century. General manager Stan Bowman was thrust into his first attempt at recovering from a Cup win in the off-season.
The Blackhawks said goodbye to many key players in the third and fourth lines, including Kris Versteeg, Andrew Ladd, and Dustin Byfuglien. Their first and second string goaltenders moved on via free-agency, and lost defensive depth due to arbitration.
If Kane’s overtime goal spiked the blood pressure for Blackhawks fans, Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals within 17 seconds of each other. The party was on in Chicago; Stan Bowman, however, was busy readying the Blackhawks for the 2013-14 season.
With the decreasing salary-cap in the next two month,s Bowman had his hands full as the Blackhawks had one of the highest payrolls in the league.
He met these needs by saying goodbye to fourth line winger Michael Frolik, as well as Bolland, Just one week after he scored the goal of brought the Blackhawks the Cup. Stellar backup goaltender Ray Emery also made his exit from the Windy City, & signed with the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent.
As the Blackhawks celebrated their Cup win on the ice of the TD Garden Bowman was noted in saying that they are better off in 2013 then they were in 2010. With only one month removed from the championship, there may be more moves to come from the Blackhawks’ camp, even though it is unlikely.
What’s The Secret?
Bowman uses a combination of existing talent and homegrown draft to create a championship roster easily. As other teams were adding pivotal players at the trade deadline, Bowman added Michal Handzus, a player that could perform low in the Blackhawks’ depth charts.
With all of the core locked up through means of contract extensions, it allows Bowman to focus on finishing the puzzle by adding depth pieces. These players are much easier to find, and are cheaper as well. An added bonus of these players is that they can consider taking a pay cut to play with a successful club.
When the Blackhawks need to let go of players, they have mature prospects ready to make the jump, just as Brandon Saad did in 2013.
With one of the league’s best coaches behind the bench in Joel Quenneville (who was signed to a three-year extension on Friday) it is one less thing for the Blackhawks to worry about.
The Blackhawks have a loaded roster, both on the ice, and in the front office. With more good decisions ahead, the Blackhawks can continue to be the best team in the NHL.
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