Blackhawks: Finally, Stan Bowman Is Leaning Towards Younger Players
By Ryan Fedrau
Yesterday Stan Bowman spoke with the media a week before the draft. Here’s what he had to say about developing the young players of the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Chicago Blackhawks were the youngest team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. Their young players stepped up and seemed to take a giant step forward, including the development of Kirby Dach. Dach looked like a different player on the ice after the NHL Pause. He just has to put the puck in the net, as he has created many chances for himself. Once he does that, Chicago has a solid player in their lineup for years to come.
They saw a big jump in play out of Dominik Kubalik throughout the season. No one expected to see Kubalik as a finalist for the Calder Trophy. Scoring 30-goals in his rookie season is a great accomplishment.
Stan Bowman believes his team will continue to build young talent, as he believes they’ll be drafting an elite player in a fairly deep draft for forwards this year.
For the first time in a long time, Bowman has made it seem like his goal is the future of this team. He isn’t looking to build a Stanley Cup Contender at the trade deadline like years prior. Bowman is looking to get rid of veteran players with poor contracts in favor of younger players on their roster.
Of course, there are still a few buyout proof contracts, along with needed players that are veterans that won’t be going anywhere during the offseason. I’m talking about guys like Zack Smith and potentially Olli Maatta, even though he is very young; he hasn’t performed to the ability he should with his big contract. Trading Brandon Saad is still up in the air. They need to be flexible with their Salary Cap, so getting rid of either player could happen very soon.
Still, some fans are expecting to see a Brent Seabrook buyout. That is impossible, as they’re losing money if they buyout Seabrook. The only benefit is they’d have an open spot on defense. The negative is, they’d be feeling that contract 8-years down the line instead of 4.
Bowman has made it seem like his goal is to play the younger players, including top defensive prospect Ian Mitchell, sooner rather than later.
Here’s what he had to say about the defensive prospects:
"“It’s fair to say that over the next year or two we’re going to have players move up and down. Some might even be here this year,” Bowman said. “We have hopes for Ian Mitchell and Wyatt Kalynuk, we expect them to be in the mix, and then it’s Dennis Gilbert and Lucas Carlsson.”"
It looks like he has high hopes for those players. It is surprising to see Gilbert and Carlsson mentioned there. Maybe Bowman sees something we don’t see in the two defensemen.
The Blackhawks are in a good spot, as they do have a lot of young players bidding for a roster spot. It’s better to have that problem than to have a problem where there aren’t enough young players to boost the team in the future.
It seems like the team feels set on defense with their young prospects. That makes me believe they’re drafting a forward with their first pick in the 2020 draft. There’s still that goalie hole they have. Don’t be surprised if they make a play for Yaroslav Askarov.