Since 2017, Stan Bowman has been trying to make trades to prove he’s a “genius”. So far, none of them have worked out.
Stan Bowman has a long streak of failed hockey trades, first trading Artemi Panarin to Columbus for Brandon Saad, then Niklas Hjalmarsson to the Coyotes for Connor Murphy in the offseason of 2017. This occurred after an announcement that the Blackhawks wanted to “make serious changes” after getting swept by the Nashville Predators.
This was the start of three more “high risk, high reward” trades Stan would make later. Looking back, let’s see how these two trades paid off: Connor Murphy looks to be the number one defenseman with the Blackhawks, reliable in his own zone with an intelligent use of the stick and no overaggressive body checks that takes him out of position.
Because of this, and the fact he is doing better statistically than Hjalmarsson, the trade is looking better for the Blackhawks. It looked dull at the start, but Hjalmarsson’s slight decline in play makes the Blackhawks look more like the winner here.
But the Panarin trade is unacceptable. The thing that hurts Blackhawks fans more than anything was that Panarin never wanted to leave the Blackhawks, wanting to play his entire career with Chicago. Bowman decided to trade him citing “the need for Jonathan Toews’ offensive rejuvenation” and “Panarin’s lack of playoff production”. Trading Panarin wasn’t a great thing, but if Stan wanted to trade him, at least receive a top-pairing defenseman or a couple of high-quality prospects and a draft pick in return.
What happened next? Panarin went on to help the Columbus Blue Jackets pull off a historic upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019 while the Chicago Blackhawks went on a steep decline, missing the playoffs for the second year. The Blackhawks lost this trade by a few hundred miles, but they wouldn’t stop there.