I talked about why Stan Bowman should stop making gambles, or high-risk high-reward trades. Now, let’s talk about why he should still take chances.
Stan Bowman is prone to taking gambles, as we saw multiple times, such as his trade for Alex Nylander for Henri Jokiharju. Jokijarhu could have been a great pairing with Nicolas Beaudin (once he gets called up) but he was traded instead, despite earning Joel Quenneville’s trust as a rookie. He was a proven, quality prospect while Nylander is still a question mark, but things are looking dim.
The gamble for Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad was the reasoning why he was traded. Stan Bowman believed Patrick Kane could play with anyone and have success, which is true, so he traded Panarin for Saad, who he THOUGHT would rejuvenate Jonathan Toews’ production. That was the gamble. High-risk, low reward move by Bowman.
Connor Murphy was a promising young d-man with top-two potential, and Bowman sent an established top-four defenseman in Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona in return. Murphy has become the Blackhawks’ top defender since then.
High-risk, high reward move by Bowman.
Dylan Strome was the return for Nick Schmaltz, both disappointing forwards for their respective teams. I considered this a gamble before, but looking back at the games Schmaltz was in, he was struggling as well.
Stan Bowman took the chance to swap the disappointing forwards, and Strome has been doing very well with the ‘Hawks since then. He’s not the player with franchise-altering skills he was expected to be when the Coyotes drafted him, but he is still a quality forward for any team with his high offensive upside.
With that said, Stan should still be taking chances, as many of them have worked out. By chances, I mean taking a low-risk chance for a potential high-reward outcome.
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Dominik Kubalik comes to mind, one of the Blackhawks’ snipers who they traded a fifth-round draft pick for. This is not a gamble as they traded a late pick for a promising prospect, even if Kubalik didn’t work out, they didn’t give up too much. It worked out amazingly, and Kubalik as been thriving in the Blackhawks’ system.
Another would be the drafting of Alex Debrincat. Teams passed on him due to his small size, but Bowman and the scouting department saw something good enough to look past the size and draft him 39th overall. Debrincat was really a mid-first round talent, so the Blackhawks took a low-risk chance on a small player, and they hit the steal of the draft.
Then there’s Brandon Hagel, who wasn’t signed by Buffalo. The Blackhawks signed him to a contract and he has flourished since he was given a chance on the team. The Blackhawks sent nothing to get him, and he has become a mainstay in the NHL with his work ethic and underrated offensive abilities.
Maybe Kirby Dach could be considered a gamble… But I would consider him to be more of a chance. He is a great player in his draft year, with the mix of size and skill that made the Blackhawks gravitate towards him. He really was in a logjam after Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, with honestly any prospect going at any moment in the top ten, and no one would really raise any eyebrows.
The Blackhawks needed the next superstar for the next generation of ‘Hawks hockey, and Kirby Dach looks to have been the perfect choice for them, and looks to have been a steal if his play continues to get better. He was two-times better in the postseason than he was in the regular season last year. If he continues to get better? He’ll dominate the league.
One chance that didn’t work out was Anton Wedin, but he was signed out of Europe, nothing traded in return for him. There was a low-risk, high reward chance with him and Bowman made the right decision to take that chance.
To conclude, Stan Bowman has to stop making high-risk, high reward gambles as a couple of them have hurt the team in the long run. He should continue to take chances, as those chances he took ended up with the current Blackhawks team that has been surprising both the league and the fanbase.