Blackhawks: Bowman is going to do something drastic
After a few rough years as the Chicago Blackhawks general manager, there is fear that Stan Bowman could do something drastic to change the culture of the team.
Last year, the Chicago Blackhawks entered the off-season watching other teams chase the cup. Again. This year, before the season was shut down because of a global pandemic, Chicago was clinging tenaciously to a sliver of hope that they could be successful enough to make their way into the post-season. While the season might be resuming soon this summer, border restrictions or not, Bowman still has to plan for next season.
As has been discussed already on Blackhawk Up, Bowman is on the hot seat. He needs his team to make the playoffs, and if they don’t there is no justifiable way Chicago’s management could keep him on.
This means that we should all be ready to see Bowman do something drastic.
This could mean trading away a key piece to fuel the “win now” mentality that will undoubtedly be influencing Bowman’s decision-making. If Bowman though trading the 1st overall for a number defenseman was possible, he’d probably do it even if the Blackhawks have a top 10 pick in the entry draft.
Bowman will be looking at ways to make the team a contender in the short-term and might be wary after last year’s free agency experiment blew up in his face.
Robin Lehner was traded away this season, which was a questionable decision that most fans disliked. Now, the team has an older Corey Crawford without a backup plan.
Calvin de Haan spent much of the season injured. Olli Maatta under-performed, and Zack Smith was mostly, “okay”, but also spent part of the season injured.
On paper, these probably looked like a safe move that would make the team better, and they ultimately didn’t.
This means Bowman has to figure something out, and it must work. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where that doesn’t mean trading away a productive player for short-term gain. Before it became possible, I would have guessed that Bowman would have dealt the first overall pick for the upcoming entry draft. Now that the Blackhawks appear poised to have both a top-10 pick, as well as a spot in the playoffs moving anyone right now feels unlikely.
So, who might be on the block? Brandon Saad could be, as there have been many rumors of him being traded away during the last two seasons. Connor Murphy would be a bad trade unless a younger defenseman with high expectations was coming to Chicago.
Either one of those two would be my guess, but Bowman plays his cards pretty close to his chest. Only time will tell, but don’t be surprised if a talented player is sent packing somewhere elsewhere.
Bowman’s job probably depends on it.