Editorials

The Blackhawks Consequential Past Mistake When Making Trades 

By Jimmy Lynch
Columbus Blue Jackets v Chicago Blackhawks
Columbus Blue Jackets v Chicago Blackhawks / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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Stan Bowman had a long run as general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks. During his time as GM, he was responsible for making trades throughout the year to better his team for the future. However, most of his deals haven’t helped the team, only hurt them. 

I am not talking about the championship years here with Bowman. A lot of his deals during that time were for the best as it brought more Cups to the team. I am talking about some of the deals he did after the championship runs were over. The more gamble trades that definitely did not pay off in the end, that is what we are talking about today. 

There are a few trades that stand out in my mind. Let’s jump in. 

The Chicago Blackhawks trade Nick Schmaltz to the Arizona Coyotes for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini in November of 2018. The deal instantly changed the Blackhawks as one of the core pieces they were set to build around was out, and in his place was two prospects both with a lot of upside when they were drafted but now on the outs with their team. 

For the former Coyotes, it gave them a change of scenery and a second chance, but for the Coyotes it gave them a future piece of their core to build around for years to come. While the Coyotes haven’t been great since they did land a great player in Schmaltz. He has put up 97 points in over 150 games with his new team. 

On the flip side, the Blackhawks moved on from Brendan Perlini after the first year with the team sending him to Detroit for prospect Alec Regula. This is a trade that has always been debated in Chicago, and it will be for a long time.

The reason the Coyotes win this one is the fact they sent two players they didn’t see working out with their team to another franchise for a future piece of their top six. You cannot trade a player as good as Schmaltz for a gamble at the end of the day, and that has something the Hawks have done more than a few times. 

Next up, we have a deal that was made in July of 2019. This trade sent Henri Jokiharju to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Alex Nylander.

Nylander was a former eighth overall pick in the NHL draft that hadn’t worked out with his first club over the first few years he was there. On the flip side, Jokiharju was coming off his first season in the NHL where he played a somewhat meaningful role getting his first crack at the league. He has only improved since then and is now a part of the Sabres blue line. 

This is another deal where Chicago traded almost a lock for the NHL lineup for a player that almost seemed like a lost cause to play in the league. Nylander was another gamble that did not work out for the club, and it did not work out in the end as the Hawks traded him to the Penguins earlier this month. 

Moving Jokiharju was in a way to open a position for a player like Adam Boqvist or Ian Mitchell. Well, that has worked out great as Boqvist was traded this past offseason from the team and Mitchell still hasn’t stuck around with the club. 

There is one example of this working out for the team, but even this situation was not a guarantee from the start. The Blackhawks traded Niklas Hjalmarsson from the team, after a bad playoff trip in 2017, to the Coyotes in exchange for Connor Murphy.

Today Murphy is a big part of the team while Hjalmarsson has since retired. At the end of the day, I guess that is the formula for what Bowman was going for when he made moves for Nylander and Strome. It is a shame though that now Dylan Strome finds himself as a likely trade target as we approach the NHL Trade Deadline.

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