The Chicago Blackhawks sent out a letter to their fans a year ago saying they were going to try and gear up for their next championship run. I do not think many thought the next season would see them back at a competitive place.
The Blackhawks rebuild saw Adam Boqvist, a couple of first-round draft picks, Duncan Keith, and the Brent Seabrook contract all get traded away oh and Marc-Andre Fleury get added to the roster for basically nothing. If someone had said that over a year ago I would have been shocked at that. Now, however that kind of makes sense.
Chicago is a more competitive roster today than they were a year or two years ago, and this offseason saw them make a lot of the moves to make them better.
Seth Jones, Jake McCabe, Tyler Johnson, Marc-Andre Fleury, Caleb Jones, and Jujhar Khaira were the team’s big additions this offseason. They did have to say goodbye to a lot of guys though in Hinostroza, Suter, Keith, Kampf, and Zadorov to name a few. Going back a year before and some of the key subtractions were Brandon Saad and Corey Crawford.
So the Blackhawks rebuild seems to have ended this offseason, so what now?
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This team still has a number of key players they will need to re-sign this coming season, and I think that should be a high-priority move for Stan Bowman and the rest of the front office. Getting Connor Murphy and Dominik Kubalik under contract is a must right now, oh, and Kirby Dach as well.
This team won’t be winning a championship this season, but they should be in the playoffs. They might not win a championship the year after that either. However, that first season after the Toews and Kane contracts are up should see those two stars take team-friendly deals in order to chase a championship one more time with Chicago.
Imagine that, Toews and Kane’s contracts are up. They take team-friendly deals at five or six million, and the rest of that money is used to re-sign DeBrincat and go out and add another big-name player in free agency.
Now the team has a couple of superstars a few years older but still good chasing a championship with a roster that has a defense that has been jellying together for the past few seasons with Jones, McCabe, and Murphy leading the charge and now a more mature Kalynuk, Beaudin, and Mitchell stepping up to the plate as well.
I know that this is the ideal situation for the Blackhawks to succeed, and it is probably wishful thinking. However, at the end of the day the only way this is going to now turn around is a bit of luck for Chicago.
"At some point the NHL Draft changes will impact the Blackhawks"
The Hawks roster is definitely as good as Montreal was this past season, and they just went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. If they can somehow get into the playoffs anything can happen over the course of a seven-game series.