During the offseason, the Blackhawks parted ways with many players, while signing some to fill roles, roles that they weren’t meant to fill.
Jordan Oesterle, Jan Rutta, Cody Franson, Erik Gustafsson, Connor Murphy were all brought in to Chicago either by free agent signings or by trade.
The team parted ways with Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya, TVR, and Brian Campbell (retired).
Besides the Murphy trade, the rest of the players brought in weren’t there to fix any holes. They were brought in to add depth to a defensive core that needed re-tooling. Notice how of all of those players, just Murphy remains with the team? That just shows how none of those players worked out.
Losing Hjalmarsson was a big loss for the team, as he wasn’t an issue in the playoffs. Without losing him, the team wouldn’t have had Murphy though, who is one of the best defensemen for the Blackhawks now.
Instead of re-tooling over the years, the Hawks waited until the defense fell off of a cliff. The day the Hawks dynasty was over was April 15th, 2017. They didn’t have a real shot of doing much with those players, even though fans didn’t see them falling off as bad as they did.
The lack of re-tooling and the poor contracts ultimately cost Joel Quenneville his job, even though that part should have been on Stan Bowman. Bowman helped create and then ruined one of the greatest dynasties in modern-day sports.
This alone shows how important defense is for hockey. Even with all of the talent this team has on offense, defensive holes kept them away from the playoffs.