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Analysis

Has Stan Bowman Finally Started to Up His Game for Blackhawks?

Jeremiah Lee
Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Stan Bowman’s recent moves have raised eyebrows in lopsided transactions.

Stan Bowman’s transactions usually end in a fleece, but the Blackhawks are rarely the one who comes out on top. He has been fleeced in not one, but two trades involving Brandon Saad. He lost Robin Lehner for pennies and Teuvo Teravainen for nothing.

But this past offseason, and the trade deadline, sang a different tune. Bowman fleeced the Panthers in a trade that sent Lucas Wallmark and Lucas Carlsson to the Panthers in return for Brett Connolly, Henrik Borgstrom, Riley Stillman, and a draft pick. He also brought Vinnie Hinostroza back in return for Brad Morrison, an ECHL player, then Adam Gaudette for Matthew Highmore from the Vancouver Canucks. This trade deadline was the best in Bowman’s tenure.

Now, I’m not saying Bowman is the best GM in the league because he isn’t. But he has done a better job taking the Blackhawks to a stable place in their rebuild/retool. The team has been up against the cap for a few seasons now, but he then sent Duncan Keith‘s full contract to the Oilers in exchange for a depth defenseman and a conditional pick.

The reason why this is so important is because, well, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought the ‘Hawks would have to retain some of Keith’s salary. I thought for sure the ‘Hawks would have to retain at least ~1 million in any transaction. Now? The ‘Hawks have 5.538 million in additional cap space. With many promising young prospects due for an extension this and next season, this is great for the franchise. Not to mention Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are due for an extension in two years.

The Blackhawks are now in a position to either turtle to wait and see what they have in their organization or go for it and sign, or trade for, a major piece. Their name has been linked to Seth Jones and Dougie Hamilton, then, recently Marc-Andre Fleury. Before they didn’t have any other option but to wait and see what they have.

"Blackhawks: Three notable trade deadline deals from the past"

To conclude, Bowman has made mistakes as the GM of the Blackhawks, but he has done a much better job as of late. He came out on top in his recent transactions, adding size and speed to the lineup. There are now a few young, NHL quality players that can be used as trade bait and if they don’t trade, they have a lot of cap space to use to sign free agents instead. Though Stan Bowman isn’t the best GM in the league, he definitely has done a better job as of late.

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