On Sportsnet’s “31 Thoughts” panel, insider Elliotte Friedman heard that the Blackhawks may be finalizing a contract extension for general manager Stan Bowman.
When Elliotte Friedman released his “31 Thoughts” panel on Sportsnet.com, he brought up some very interesting news to Blackhawks fans. He had heard a rumor that the Blackhawks are planning on giving Stan Bowman an extension as general manager.
This rumor will obviously lead to controversy amongst Blackhawks fans, as Bowman has made some questionable decisions throughout the years, and currently, he is under a lot of heat for the Blackhawks’ fall from grace.
I will examine Stan Bowman’s best and worst decisions as to the Blackhawks’ general manager, and ultimately decide whether it is a good idea to extend his contract.
Stan Bowman’s Best
European Scouting and free agent acquisitions
Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks scouting staff have done an incredible job of scouting European free agents and convincing them to sign with the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks have been in salary cap trouble for a long time so finding free agents on a rookie contract is huge.
Stan Bowman was able to sign free agents like Artemi Panarin, Erik Gustafsson, Dominik Kahun, David Kampf, Dominik Kubalik, and many more. Bowman definitely has a strong eye for talent and has ton an excellent job of finding players that could fit in with the Blackhawks.
Acquisition of Dylan Strome/Brendan Perlini
The Dylan Strome trade may come down as one of the best trades Bowman has ever completed. Bowman was able to send off forward Nick Schmaltz to Arizona for promising center Dylan Strome and winger Brendan Perlini.
Schmaltz showed promise, but was too inconsistent and fell out of the Blackhawks’ Top 6. Bowman was able to acquire Dylan Strome, who was the #3 overall pick in 2015, and he became an impact player right away.
Strome was brilliant right away for the Blackhawks while centering the second line and being a fixture on the top power-play unit. In Strome, Bowman was able to find a future elite second line center for many years to come.
Even Brendan Perlini, who was the “second piece” in the deal, had a decent year. He proved to be a streaky goal scorer, who has raw skills and will look to tune his game up next season.
Acquisition of Nick Leddy
Back in 2010, Bowman made another great trade. He acquired a young defenseman, Nick Leddy. Bowman sent defenseman Cam Barker to the Minnesota Wild for Kim Johnsson and Nick Leddy. Leddy, at the time, was only a 19-year-old prospect who had a ton of potential and figured to be an impact defenseman for the Blackhawks for many years.
Leddy ultimately made the Blackhawks roster in 2011 and proved to be a dynamic, speedy defenseman. He won a cup with the Blackhawks in 2013, and then, was traded by the Blackhawks in the summer of 2014.
This trade was a huge win for Bowman as he acquired a young promising player in Leddy, who would be impactful for the Blackhawks for a couple of years.
Stan Bowman’s Worst
Teuvo Teravainen Trade
This may come as Stan Bowman’s worst move. He traded away young, promising forward, Teuvo Teravainen, to the Carolina Hurricanes as part of the “sweetener” in order to unload Bryan Bickell’s burdensome contract.
All the Blackhawks got were a couple of draft picks and the rest is history. Teravainen is now a key member of the Hurricanes and the Blackhawks shipped him away for basically nothing. It definitely was not worth trading Teravainen away just to add a couple of million dollars in cap space. Teravainen would have been a huge part of the Blackhawks today.
Artemi Panarin-Brandon Saad Trade
At the time, this trade made some sense. The Blackhawks had just recently been swept in the first round of the playoffs and were looking to change things up. Artemi Panarin had two years left on his deal, at a reasonable $6 million AAV, and he was expected to get paid way more when that contract expired.
Stan Bowman was afraid of the uncertainty of Panarin’s new contract would bring, so he shipped him to Columbus for Brandon Saad. The Blackhawks were getting Saad back, who had four years left on his deal, so they had some contract certainty with Saad. Bowman was also hopeful Saad would return to his old self and be a fixture on the Jonathan Toews’ line.
Ultimately, Saad has struggled since being reacquired and Panarin has become one of the most elite wingers in the NHL. I can understand why Bowman traded away Panarin, but he shouldn’t have overreacted from the Blackhawks’ sweep in the playoffs. Hanging onto him for at least another year would have made a lot more sense in the long run.
Brent Seabrook’s Contract
Brent Seabrook’s contract has become an Achilles heel for the Blackhawks. He signed an 8-year, $55 million dollar deal back in 2015. Seabrook has been a huge part of the Blackhawks’ 3 Stanley Cups and has been an incredible leader in the locker room.
I don’t blame Bowman for wanting to lock Brent Seabrook up, but 8 years was a little too much. Seabrook will be 39 when his contract expires and has already shown a major decline in his game. There is still another 5 years left on his deal and his minutes on the ice have declined significantly since 2016.
Bowman should have played hardball with Seabrook and tried to limit the term as much as possible. This ill-advised contract will hurt the Blackhawks for a long time.
Overall, I think Bowman’s bad moves outweigh his good moves. Therefore, I truly believe the Blackhawks should not extend his contract. Bowman still has two years left on his current deal, so I really believe it would be in the Blackhawks’ best interest to move on.
Honestly, if the Blackhawks start this year off with a poor record, Bowman should be fired by Christmas. His roster moves and poorly executed trades have led to the downfall of the Blackhawks and he should be held accountable for his decisions.