Under tight cap crunches offseason after offseason, we take a look at three significant deals that played a major factor into the construction of the 2017-18 Chicago Blackhawks
Let’s go back to the night of June 15, 2015. The Chicago Blackhawks have just clinched their third Stanley Cup title in six years. Fans are on top of the world and nowhere close to thinking of all the tough decisions and trades that will be coming up in just a few weeks’ and months’ time.
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith are in the prime of their careers. Corey Crawford has solidified himself as a Blackhawks goaltending legend. Core players like Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger and Johnny Oduya have added another Cup to their resume with the ‘Hawks.
But just like every offseason in the five years before, general manager Stan Bowman knows the team is up against the salary cap wall. While players, coaches and fans celebrate all across Chicago, talks and decisions will soon come to pass that will reshape the team a great deal.
One player in particular will not be playing home games at the United Center come the start of the 2015-16 season in Saad. Another player will be in his last season with the team that next year in Shaw.
But looking back on these deals now, 2 1/2 years since that June night, an argument can certainly be made that Bowman has been able to keep the Blackhawks competitive and their championship window open longer than if he had stood pat. If the Blackhawks are to win a championship again in the near future, the Shaw trade and both trades involving Saad will be remembered as big building blocks to that Stanley Cup victory.