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Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks Turn Panarin, Shaw Into 3 Top-6 Forwards, A Calder Favorite

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CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 27: Alex DeBrincat
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 27: Alex DeBrincat /
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CHICAGO, IL – NOVEMBER 27: Alex DeBrincat
CHICAGO, IL – NOVEMBER 27: Alex DeBrincat /

Summary

If you combine these deals and simply list the major parts, the Blackhawks have done quite well. Under a cap crunch, the team had to make some hard decisions, but with good scouting for both the draft and the veterans being acquired, the team came out ahead overall.

The Blackhawks traded away Shaw and Panarin and acquired Anisimov, Saad, Panik and DeBrincat (and a strong prospect in Krys). That’s two current top-line forwards, the second-line center and a dynamic 19-year-old who may be the top candidate for the Calder Trophy right now.

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If you simply look at the deals in this light, Bowman has done well to keep the roster competitive and keep the championship window (though not nearly as cracked as it was a few years ago) open.

Remember that the Pittsburgh Penguins are the only other team in the salary cap era to win three Stanley Cups. After their first win in 2009, they had some tough years. In the six seasons before they won the Cup again in 2016, the team had three first-round exits and was knocked out twice in the second round.

Many could look at the team and think that its championship window had closed, even with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the team.

But they continued to retool and reshape the roster until they built a team with veterans and youth players that was able to capture the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons in 2016 and 2017.

Keeping that championship window open and staying as competitive as possible when you have generational talent like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith is what Bowman has been trying to do all along.

Looking at some of the moves he has made, you can scratch your head and use your hindsight glasses to say Bowman made the wrong choice. But for someone trying to work with an incredibly tight cap and great young players who needed to be paid larger contracts at the end of their deals, Bowman has made some very good decisions.

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So while some fans are a little down with the way the last two years have gone, remember that the window is not completely shut, though it very well could have been at this point. If Bowman continues to tinker and retool the right ways, maybe the seventh Stanley Cup in franchise history is not as far away as some may think.

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