Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks have made some mistakes in the past. The team is set up to miss the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, and they have lost some key players along the way.
Bowman and the Blackhawks have found some gems in the past, and while the team is struggling right now, I want to call out a few good additions Bowman has had.
The trade deadline is almost upon us, and I already am including both deals Bowman has made in the win column. Adding Hinostroza and company did not cost the Hawks much at all, and who knows, maybe they can be big pieces in what the team is building towards.
Some of these additions are going back a few years, so stick with me here:
The Key Additions:
Adding Kubalik during the 2019 offseason was a great move for the team. Kubalik is continuing to show that he is a top NHL player that can score a lot of goals during the season. This season is showing that Kubalik is not just a one-year wonder – he is bouncing back this year with another great performance alongside some different players.
Remember when everyone disliked the Murphy for Hjalmarsson trade? Murphy is slowly becoming the voice on the Hawks defense is a leader in the locker room. Murphy is only 28 years old and still has a lot of great hockey ahead of him, while Hjalmarsson is 33 years old and is struggling through some injuries.
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The moves the past few days:
The Blackhawks trade yesterday saw the team give up Wallmark and Carlsson, in their place the team added a draft pick, a former first-round pick, a bottom-six forward, and a solid defensive prospect. Yes, Stan Bowman had to use a little cap space, but he still has a lot more to burn through before the team will have issues.
It wasn’t a sure thing when Kirby Dach was drafted third overall, but since then he has continued to prove that the Hawks made the right decision. Dach is back with the team, and he is the future. No matter what happens with the Blackhawks the next few seasons, as long as they keep Dach and let him lead the franchise it will be linked with the good decision Bowman made in drafting him.
The same way Dale Tallon’s name will be mentioned with Kane and Toews considering he drafted them, Bowman made the right decision drafting Dach. Oh and I can not forget about the next player on this list.
DeBrincat was drafted in the SECOND ROUND of the 2016 draft because he is a smaller forward. The Hawks have shown that he was not just an Erie Otter star that benefited from playing with Connor McDavid. DeBrincat has become his own star in the NHL, and at the end of the day, he could lead the team in some categories when he calls it a career as he is a prolific goal scorer and sniper.
Take it all with a grain of salt:
Just because Bowman has made some good moves in the past, we need to keep in mind some of the bad trades he has made along the way as well.
The lack of a true starting goalie:
Kevin Lankinen has been great this season, but still, Stan Bowman should have had a successor in place when Crawford was ready to call it a career. Look at some of the other top teams in the NHL, New York was ready for Lundqvist to depart from the team, Pittsburgh forced Fleury out in the expansion draft, and a lot of other teams continue to draft goaltenders and prepare the position for the future.
The Hawks went into last year’s deadline with Lehner and Crawford, don’t you think they would have had one of those two guys locked in for the next few seasons at that time alone?
I do not think there are enough talented players out there to make giving up Panarin not seem horrible.
The Saad Trade:
I will admit that some of the criticism towards Nikita Zadorov might not be deserved as he has done an alright job with the team. I think the team will re-sign him at the end of the season and give him another chance.
The Hawks have had several bad deals with Stan Bowman, and I understand wanting him to answer to those deals and get let go from the team, but that is not happening. The Hawks organization is betting on Stan Bowman, and now we need to wait and see whether or not his vision will pan out.
It will take a few more years before this team can be that great, but they are still competitive right now. After a few more good deals are added to this list, maybe the Hawks will be ready to contend again for a championship.