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Chicago Blackhawks’ Past Success Brought About Recent Demise

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CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 23: Dale Weise
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 23: Dale Weise /
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The Chicago Blackhawks had too much success to be as good as they have been forever, so let’s look back at how they’ve gotten to this point

We all knew this was coming at some time. We knew the Chicago Blackhawks would not be on top forever. The old adage of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith equals a playoff team is over. 

The salary cap was put in place for that very reason. When the ’Hawks were at the height of their dominance they had depth scoring to supplement elite scoring,  puck possession, good defense and good goaltending. The days of having Teuvo Teravainen, a good Patrick Sharp and Antoine Vermette as the third line are long gone.

No one can stay on top forever, and going for it every year eventually catches up with you. The ‘Hawks just ran out of depth.

Now no general manager is perfect — ask Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings — but Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has made a real mess of the ‘Hawks with his moves and contracts. Here are some of the Bowman trades he wishes he had back.

Highlighting Bowman’s trade follies

Nick Leddy

in 2014 to get under the cap. He got Ville Pokka and others for him. None of the players acquired have played in the NHL for the ‘Hawks. Leddy was one the young ‘Hawks defensemen of the future. The Leddy trade in my mind led Bowman to find European stopgaps on defense. Thus far,

Jan Rutta

has been the best of the bunch.

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  • Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell to get under the cap. This was a straight salary dump with a sweetener. Teravainen is a NHL regular in Carolina. He has scored 65 points in his last two seasons. Do you think the ‘Hawks miss him?
  • Phillip Danault for Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann. Danault is now an everyday player in Montreal, and Weise and Fleischmann were busts. Weise gave the ‘Hawks one regular-season point and a playoff goal. Fleischmann gave the ‘Hawks five points.
  • Kimmo Timonen. I know everyone loves his story, but two second-round picks for him was a waste. He played in 34 games between the playoffs and regular season. He was not good and played fewer than nine minutes a game in the playoffs.
  • David Rundblad. The ‘Hawks should not have acquired him for a second-round pick. Rundblad had already shown enough for others to know he wasn’t going to be an NHL regular. The ‘Hawks had a love/hate relationship with him. He played in 63 games over three seasons. He only really played one full season of 49 games. He had 16 points before being sent off.
  • Andrew Ladd. The ‘Hawks went for it when they acquired Ladd before the 2016 postseason. Ladd was not good with the ‘Hawks at all, scoring 12 points in 19 games.

    Bowman sacrificed young talent to keep the core together. That was good when the ‘Hawks had depth to replace it, but now they are lacking in that department.

    Highlighting Bowman’s contract follies

    To compound the problem, Bowman then gave out some bad contracts to role players and stars. He was able to move the following contracts off the books, but they cost the ‘Hawks.

    • Bryan Bickell at four years and $16 million. The ‘Hawks got 44 points from him at the NHL level after this deal. At the time of the contract, nobody knew he would be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It is a sad story, but it was a bad contract.
    • Marcus Kruger at three years and $9.25 million. This was an overpay for a role player. He was a valuable role player and took less money to stay with the ‘Hawks in years prior. This deal cost the ‘Hawks Trevor van Riemsdyk in the expansion draft. Kruger was then shipped away for future considerations.

    Next: Remembering Hjalmarsson's Big Chicago Moments

    Now the once-successful Blackhawks only have good goaltending left. It is all coming to a head right now and we are seeing the aftermath.

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