The NHL trade deadline is becoming one of my favorite events in sports. Everyone knew the Chicago Blackhawks were going to make a trade at the deadline. The Blackhawks have a knack for finding cap space throughout the season despite having very little when the season begins. Three Stanley Cup championships in the last six years should buy a general manager some credibility, yet people still continue to doubt Stan Bowman.
Bowman continues to wow the NHL and its fans with move after move, whether it’s at the deadline or during the offseason. Bowman gets teams to take his trash off his hands and give him salary cap space. He then turns his cap space into more depth players for the Blackhawks.
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In the last two days, the Chicago Blackhawks have dramatically reshaped their roster for the present and the future. They have acquired Andrew Ladd, Christian Ehrhoff, Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise. This is a clear indication to the rest of the NHL and the Blackhawks fan base that this season is now Stanley Cup or bust. Bowman has pushed all of his chips into the center of the rink and bet big on this season. Why did Bowman bet big on this season, some might ask? Did he need to acquire Weise and Fleischmann? The answer is clear to me: He saw the future.
While most people have looked at the Blackhawks’ cap situation for this season, Bowman is paid to look at the future, and the future did not look good. After surveying the team’s cap situation, Bowman decided this might be the last great chance at the Cup. So he decided to sacrifice the future for the present.
Bowman traded away Marko Dano, Phillip Danault, a 2016 first-round pick, a 2018 conditional pick (third-rounder) and a 2018 second-round pick for Ladd, Fleischmann and Weise. The Blackhawks now do not have a first- or second-round pick in the 2016 draft. In the 2017 draft, the Blackhawks are without a third-round and seventh-round pick. After Friday’s trades, they are now without a second- and third-round picks in 2018. While the future will not be as bright for the Blackhawks, the present is as bright as it ever been.
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The Blackhawks now have a very deep team and can roll out these lines:
Rolling four lines during the playoffs should not be an issue. Those lines do not include the likes of Dennis Rasmussen, Jiri Sekac, Richard Panik and Brandon Mashinter, though that doesn’t mean they — minus Sekac, who was placed on waivers on Friday — couldn’t find their way into the lineup.
Bowman is going for another Stanley Cup, which would be the Blackhawks’ fourth in the last seven years. He is also going for back-to-back to Stanley Cup championships, trying to help the Blackhawks become the first team to do so since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings.
Can the Blackhawks get the job done after these trades? Let us know what you think in the comments section.