With the trade deadline quickly approaching, we reached out to a handful of our favorite writers who cover the Chicago Blackhawks for their predictions on the ‘Hawks’ potential moves this year
Spring is always an exciting time of year for sports fans. You start with the biggest event all year with the Super Bowl, followed by NCAA’s March Madness, then the start of baseball with Opening Day, and finally you get into the NBA playoffs and Stanley Cup Playoffs in April — the last of these obviously the biggest for the Chicago Blackhawks and their fans.
But as the regular season winds down for teams in the NHL, the ice continues to get smaller and smaller as the race for the playoffs beings.
In a year in which it seems every team is fighting for a playoff spot, parity in the NHL has made it so only a few teams are established as sellers. And with the March 1st trade deadline quickly approaching, general managers are using the next couple weeks to forecast how their team will approach the end of this season, the Vegas Knights expansion draft and the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
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Like many successful teams around the league, the Blackhawks are finding creative ways to squeeze all the talent they need inside a hard salary cap to compete for a Stanley Cup. Their strategy has been to sign a core group of top players and continually build around them with low-risk veterans and skilled young players on entry-level contracts.
The problem the ’Hawks are facing is that they like their young talent. It’s been tough watching skilled players like Brandon Saad grow up with the ‘Hawks core and then move on to another team, leaving fans wondering what could have been.
This year, Stan Bowman has that choice again. He has rebuilding franchises like Arizona and Colorado salivating over young players like Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman because of their upside.
The stock of these young players has been built up all year for this moment, so we’ll see what Bowman decides to do at this crossroad. He’ll either deal his young talent for more veteran depth or do nothing and trust the kids.
We asked a panel of writers who cover the Blackhawks for their opinion on the trade deadline and how they think it will play out for the Blackhawks. A general consensus is that some kind of trade is coming despite Bowman’s recent commitment to retain their young players, but things can play out a number of different ways.
Enjoy the predictions!