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Chicago Blackhawks: Stan Bowman’s First-Round Failures

By Sean Fitzgerald
Mar 26, 2016; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers right wing Kevin Hayes (13) before the game against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 26, 2016; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; New York Rangers right wing Kevin Hayes (13) before the game against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman Has Some Early Draft Woes

The Chicago Blackhawks traded away Teuvo Teravainen along with Bryan Bickell to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2016 second-round draft pick and 2017 third-round pick earlier this week. Teravainen was the only successful first-round pick (so far) in the Stan Bowman as general manager era.

Bowman has found later-round gems in Brandon Saad (second round, 2011) and Andrew Shaw (fifth round, 2011), but his first-round picks have been less than stellar. When Bowman has made his first-round picks, he has swung and missed more often than not.

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To Stan’s credit, picking at the end of the first round (a result of the Blackhawks’ recent success), you will not find the best talent, but their is still talent to be had. Teravainen is the only first-round pick of the Blackhawks in the Bowman era (so far) to have a significant role at the NHL level.

In Bowman’s first draft in 2010, he took Kevin Hayes, a forward out of Boston College, with Chicago’s first-round pick. Hayes played all four years at BC and then decided not to sign an entry-level contract with the Blackhawks because there were no NHL-level jobs available.

He became a free agent and signed with the Rangers. The allure of top-six minutes drew Hayes to New York, and that’s what he got. Hayes had 45 points in his first NHL season and 36 in year two with the Rangers. Based on those numbers, Hayes could have helped the Blackhawks.

In 2011, the Blackhawks took Mark McNeill with their first-round pick. McNeill had put up 71 and 81 poionts in two WHL seasons when Bowman drafted him. Since 2011, McNeill has appeared in one NHL game, recording zero points. He has spent the last four seasons at Rockford amassing 129 points in 208 games with the AHL’s IceHogs.

The Blackhawks would also draft Phillip Danault in the first round that year. Danualt had played in the QMJHL before joining the IceHogs. He played in 148 games at Rockford, amassing 46 points. He would played 30 games with the Blackhawks in 2015-16, totaling up five points. He was then traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann.

Neither draft pick had the impact that Blackhawks thought they would have. Despite limited success with their first-round picks, many would say 2011 was Bowman’s best draft. Saad (second round), Shaw (fifth), defenseman Adam Clendening (second) and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck (third) appeared in games for the Blackhawks.

Saad would be dealt in a megadeal with Columbus in 2015, Clendening would be traded to the Canucks for fellow defenseman Gustav Forsling in 2015, and Dahlbeck was traded to Arizona for Antoine Vermette … in 2015.

In 2012, Teravainen was drafted with 18th overall pick. In 115 games with the Blackhawks, he recorded 17 goals and 27 assists.

In 2013, Ryan Hartman was drafted by the Blackhawks in the first round. Hartman came from the OHL. He had racked up 65 points in 108 games. He has spent 139 games with the Rockford IceHogs and has appeared in eight games with the Blackhawks. He has one NHL point.

In 2014, the Blackhawks selected Nick Schmaltz in the first round. This pick might be Bowman’s saving grace, if Schmaltz ever signs his entry-level contract. He could exceed Teravainen’s production in the NHL.

Schmaltz has spent the last two seasons with the University of North Dakota. In 75 games, he has amassed 16 goals and 72 points. He was integral part of the University North Dakota’s NCAA Championship team. While the rest of Schmaltz’s college linemates have signed with NHL teams, Schmaltz remains unsigned.

Next: Blackhawks Helped By Yeo In St. Louis

Chicago’s 2015 first-round pick went to the Coyotes as part of the Vermette deal. The pick became a first-rounder when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup that season. The Blackhawks’ 2016 first-round pick was traded to the Winnipeg Jets in the Andrew Ladd deal, and despite much fanfare, the Ladd trade fell way short of expectations.

With the salary cap likely not going up and the Blackhawks’ top end talent taking up the bulk of the cap space, Bowman needs to hit on his high picks in 2016.  As you can see, aside from the recently traded Teravainen, Bowman’s first-round picks have not been successful.

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