Bowman’s questionable trades continue
Brandon Saad was then traded along with Dennis Gilbert to the Colorado Avalanche for Nikita Zadorov and Anton Lindholm this past offseason. Lindholm is on the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs and, including the fact the guy is 26 yrs old, doesn’t look to be an NHL player so this was already a loss as Dennis Gilbert is a quality depth defenseman. Brandon Saad made an impact in the play-in round of the 2020 playoffs, so he was a valuable forward for postseason play.
Zadorov is 25 years of age, so he still has some room to grow and develop, though I expected an NHL-level defenseman for a couple of years to be better with his decision-making. We already know my viewpoint on Zadorov so I’ll leave it at he just needs more development and a wake-up call by sitting in the suite while Beaudin plays in his place. I know I’m a bit hard on Zadorov, but if you’re what Bowman wanted for the package that sent Panarin away (Saad), I just expected a bit more.
Henri Jokiharju would be a top-four defenseman at the moment, currently on a lacking Buffalo Sabres team. He was a quality prospect for the ‘Hawks and, though I realize that the Blackhawks saw that they had a potential logjam on defense, they should not have traded him. He was sound in both zones in his year with the Blackhawks and would have only improved with the new coaching staff that seem to always bring out the best in the Blackhawks’ young players.
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Instead, he was traded for Alex Nylander who, at times, looks to be the eighth overall draft pick with high offensive upside and ability. He looked to have been rejuvenated in the Blackhawks training camp before the play-in round but didn’t match that style when it really mattered. I think he will be a great player for the Blackhawks with this coaching staff, but time will tell. It looks pretty bad a the moment, though.
Dylan Strome and Nick Schmaltz look to be a slight loss for the Blackhawks. Though Strome had that one year where he and Alex Debrincat went on a tear and had amazing chemistry. He then became OK, a somewhat slow center who struggles in the faceoff circle. Schmaltz also seems to struggle in the faceoff circle for the Coyotes but is a fast forward who can create with both speed and offensive ability. Strome has the ability, just not the speed. Looks to be a tie here.
In all, out of the five “high risk, high reward” trades Stan Bowman made, only the Hjalmarsson-Murphy trade looks to have paid off. Brandon Saad did a great job for the Blackhawks in the postseason but he was the return in a trade that sent a budding superstar away from the team. Nikita Zadorov does his job but is a bit underwhelming based on what the Blackhawks gave away. Essentially, Artemi Panarin, a superstar forward, was traded for Nikita Zadorov and Anton Lindholm, a third-pairing and a minor league defenseman.
Stan Bowman has to just stop making dumb trades to make him look like a “genius”, he usually looks worse in the end.