A Pivotal Offseason
With the trade of Duncan Keith, the ‘Hawks have fully embraced the rebuilding phase of the team’s transformation. They have moved on from likely the most important player of their Stanley Cup run of the last decade. They have a decent stable of young talent on the current roster, but they are not competitive yet.
They need to use this draft to get better in the long term and to restock the main roster in 2 years. They have 15 free agents after the 2021-22 season (9 RFA, 6 UFA), including all 3 goalies, and 5 D-men. They need to restock the organization with young talent, with size and skill.
In my opinion, Stan Bowman needs to not only use his picks, but leverage some of his existing assets to either a) gain more picks this year, or b) maneuver up or down to get targeted players in the draft.
More than ever, Stan needs to rely on his scouts, and their evaluation, to find the right players to add to the franchise, and maybe unearth a few hidden gems later in the draft to compliment the ones on their roster like Kubalik, Kurashev, and Hagel.
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Failure to get multiple contributors out of this draft will damage the recovery of this franchise to competitive status, and in my opinion, would be a serious condemnation of Stan Bowman’s capability as a General Manager.