Chicago Blackhawks’ Best, Worst Mid-Season Trades Under Bowman
By Colin Likas
Best: Johnny Oduya joins the fold
There’s actually some solid contenders for Bowman’s best in-season trade as Blackhawks GM. I’m giving the top nod to a 2012 deal that brought defenseman Johnny Oduya to the Windy City, giving Chicago a key piece in two Stanley Cup runs.
Oduya was given to the Blackhawks by the Winnipeg Jets in February 2012 for a pair of 2013 draft picks. They went on to become Zach Sanford, who is currently playing for the St. Louis Blues, and JC Lipon, who is currently playing for the Jets.
Da Windy City
Those two could turn out to have solid NHL careers. But what the Blackhawks got in return for those picks cannot be understated. Oduya paired with fellow Swede Niklas Hjalmarsson to form an extremely potent shutdown defensive pairing.
He tallied 45 points in 234 regular-season games with the Blackhawks, adding another 23 points in 75 postseason affairs. His biggest playoff point came off a blast from the blue line late in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against Boston. Dave Bolland collected a rebound off the boards and tucked it past Tuukka Rask for the series-winning goal.
You could have been within your rights to worry Bowman was mortgaging on the future in an unreasonable way when he acquired Oduya. The man was in his 30s by the time he got to Chicago. But outside of his 2017 stint with the team, Oduya was a consistently solid top-four defenseman when the Blackhawks really needed one.
Worst: Goodbye, Phillip Danault
Just as there are several top contenders for best midseason trade under Bowman, there are a number for worst as well. Leading the way on my list is the 2016 deal that launched Phillip Danault to Montreal.
The Blackhawks were looking for a boost heading into the 2016 playoffs, and instead of adding to a beleaguered defense, they went out and tried to add more scoring. This led to Danault and a 2018 second-round draft pick shifting to the Habs for Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise.
To say this trade was a bust would be an understatement. Fleischmann went from a fine bottom-six opening to being a playoff scratch, while Weise was all over the board in Chicago. Neither got a great chance to settle in, and they combined for seven points between the regular season and postseason.
Meanwhile, Danault is thriving in Montreal. Tabbed as the next Marcus Kruger before the Blackhawks abruptly gave up on him, Danault has proven to be far more potent offensively. He broke out 40 points in a full regular season (plus two points in six playoff games). He posted a 55.6 Corsi-for percentage while starting 48.1 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone.
Don’t think that’s something the Blackhawks could use right now? Watch the bottom six during this year’s opening night and try not to immediately assume the fetal position.