Best: Cashing in on a draft pick
The “best” side of this ledger dries up pretty quick after my first two entries. So does the “worst” side, too, honestly. Just a lot of meh the rest of the way. But I’m going to give my final “best” nod to a summer trade that eventually got Nick Schmaltz to Chicago.
Bowman made just two summertime trades in 2014. One of them involved moving the No. 27 and No. 62 picks in that year’s draft to San Jose for the No. 20 and No. 179 selections. The former of those two was used on Schmaltz, who could be a regular top-six guy as soon as this upcoming season.
The Blackhawks used their other pick on goaltender Ivan Nalimov, who currently plays in the KHL. The Sharks used their earlier pick on forward Nikolay Goldobin, who has admittedly fared well at the AHL level and has five points in 23 NHL games (Schmaltz has 28 in 61). The other pick was eventually sent to Florida and then to Nashville and was used on forward Justin Kirkland, who has yet to crack the NHL ranks.
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Worst: A necessary maneuver nets nothing
The Blackhawks knew they had trouble on their hands in the form of defenseman Brian Campbell’s contract following the 2010 Cup win. The eight-year deal began in 2008-09 and came in at a cap hit around $7 million.
By the 2011 offseason, it was clear the team needed cap space to actually improve. So Bowman sent Campbell and his massive contract (retaining a small amount) to Florida for forward Rostislav Olesz.
While the move was absolutely necessary for Chicago to do anything in the postseason during some of Jonathan Toews and Kane’s prime years, what they got in return for Campbell was a major bust. Olesz had maxed out at 30 points in a single regular season during six years in the Sunshine State. He played six games in Chicago and didn’t tally a single point.
Campbell, meanwhile, became a defensive constant for plenty of mediocre Panthers teams before coming back to Chicago last season, retiring this offseason and taking a front-office job.
— In 2014, Blackhawks acquire 2014 No. 83 pick (Matt Iacopelli) from Calgary for Brandon Bollig
— In 2010, Blackhawks acquire 2010 sixth-round pick (Mirko Hoefflin) from Edmonton for Colin Fraser.
In between/no opinion
— In 2015, Blackhawks acquire Dennis Robertson, Jake Massie, 2017 fifth-round pick to Carolina for Kris Versteeg, Joakim Nordstrom, 2017 third-round pick; third-round pick was later reacquired by Chicago and traded to Detroit in 2017 for Tomas Jurco, while pick was used on Keith Petruzzelli; 2017 fifth-round pick was later traded by Chicago to Vancouver, along with another 2017 pick, for a 2017 pick that became forward Tim Soderlund.
— In 2015, Blackhawks acquire Anders Nilsson for Liam Coughlin.
— In 2012, Blackhawks acquire 2012 seventh-round pick (Brandon Whitney) and 2013 fourth-round pick from San Jose for 2012 fourth-round pick (Christopher Lalancette); 2013 pick eventually traded and reacquired, became Robin Norell.
— In 2011, Blackhawks acquire David Toews from New York Islanders for future considerations.