It is a tough balancing act to focus on not only short-term competitiveness, but long term stability and improvement with the team, but that is precisely the challenge in front of Stan Bowman right now. The additions of Fleury and Seth Jones (and arguably Tyler Johnson) are “win now” moves, but the ‘Hawks were in “rebuild” mode 3 months ago, so which is it?
In truth, it cannot be both. Any “win now” move sets your development plan back, by taking a roster spot that could have been used on a young player, and filling it with a more accomplished veteran. And some of those veterans have a lot of term left on their contracts.
The Blackhawks are going to have to move some additional pieces to continue the long-term development of the organization. Whether that is established veterans to make room for younger players, or moving out pieces that aren’t going to get their chance due to depth in front of (or behind them), they are going to have to push some pieces out before the season starts.
I think the front office would prefer to move out veterans, because it opens more room under the cap, and they have a lot of contract extensions to get done in the next couple of years. Top choices for me in this group would be Calvin De Haan, Dylan Strome, and Brett Connolly. Each makes at least $3M against the cap, and could be helpful for a team looking to add pieces for a deep run in the playoffs.
Delia or Subban could have value to a team needing a capable backup for their goalie, and are low salary options. However, neither would bring much back in a trade.
So let’s say they move all 3 skaters, and one goalie in trades. Then what?