Stan Bowman just sacrificed three huge pieces towards the next generation of Blackhawks hockey.
Let’s take a walk down Blackhawks bad-memory lane.
In the offseason of 2017, fresh off a sweep from the Nashville Predators, Stan Bowman traded budding superstar Artemi Panarin to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Brandon Saad. This trade ended up as a disaster as one of the reasons behind the trade was to add a proven postseason performer. Well, Panarin played a huge role in sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019, further solidifying himself as a proven superstar in the NHL.
Bowman decided to one-up this trade by acquiring Seth Jones, a 26 year old defenseman for Adam Boqvist, the 11th overall selection, and next year’s first round pick. See, the trade in itself isn’t that bad if Jones returns to his elite defenseman form, but based on the system the Blackhawks currently run, I’m skeptical that he will.
Not to mention that Jones is to be signed to a 9.5 million extension for eight years as soon as he is eligible. That is a massive overpay if he continues to decline. Statistically, he was worse than Boqvist last season (no joke, look it up). This has nothing to do with improvement “playing on a better team” either, because the Blackhawks sucked on defense as well.
At first glance, the trade is a steal for the Blue Jackets IF Jones continues to decline. The Blackhawks essentially gave up Adam Boqvist, Jake Bean, Cole Sillinger, and a potential lottery pick in 2022. That’s a huge hit to the franchise if Jones doesn’t turn out as expected, not to mention they may lose Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in two years.
It is nice that the Blackhawks did not have to give up some of their top prospects, like Lukas Reichel, Alex Debrincat, and Kirby Dach. With that said, it is important to remember that the Blackhawks will have to re-sign said top prospects, and more, in the next two years. They just escaped cap hell with the trading of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook retiring, but they may have the same problem in the next three years yet again.
Bowman has to have more deals on the way if he wants the Blackhawks to be competitive next year. He needs to improve the blue line further and add proven winners to the coaching staff. This is no longer a rebuilding team, so he has to make moves in order to make this work.