Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has been laying out his blueprint for the team’s future core, and we’re slowly seeing it come to fruition
The Chicago Blackhawks clinched their ninth straight Stanley Cup Playoffs berth after defeating the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. The Blackhawks have not missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the 2008-09 season. Outside of that campaign, the Blackhawks’ front office has been guided by general manager Stan Bowman.
Bowman took over the reigns of the franchise on July 14, 2009, from Dale Tallon and hasn’t looked back since. While Bowman’s accomplishments — i.e. three Stanley Cups and the third-longest current playoff streak in the NHL behind the Penguins and Red Wings (soon to be ending) — are nothing to scoff at, they always had a feeling of winning with borrowed parts. Like when a new college football coach takes over a team with the former coach’s recruits and wins right away.
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Bowman has worked salary cap magic, but as far a bringing in talent to succeed, most credit goes to the work of Tallon. Most credit.
For instance, when Bowman took over as general manager on July 14, 2009, look at who was part of the NHL roster or already in the Blackhawks system:
- Jonathan Toews (drafted 2006)
- Patrick Kane (drafted 2007)
- Duncan Keith (drafted 2002)
- Brent Seabrook (drafted 2003)
- Niklas Hjalmarsson (drafted 2005)
- Marcus Kruger (drafted 2009)
- Patrick Sharp (acquired December 5, 2005)
- Dustin Byfuglien (drafted 2003)
- Corey Crawford (drafted 2003)
- Marian Hossa (signed July 1, 2009)
- Brian Campbell (signed July 1, 2008)
- Kris Versteeg (acquired February 3, 2007)
That list comprises the current Blackhawks core in their current run of success and the cornerstones of their modern dynasty. In the near decade that Chicago has held on to a spot at the top of the NHL, only four teams have won the Stanley Cup (Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh). Outside of the Blackhawks and Penguins, the Bruins and Kings have had success, but not at the level of the preceding two franchises.
Give credit where credit is due to Bowman. Managing the talent that he inherited is not easy, and to sustain that level of success is highly commendable. But the real test of a good general manager is to sustain success and bring in his/her own players to add to the franchise to continue that success.