Looking Back: Stan Bowman’s 2015

Stan Bowman has successfully supplemented an elite core with the right pieces consistently, but he’s also had some significant misses. We won’t know how this season’s group finishes until June (hopefully), but New Year’s Eve is as good a time as any to look back over the course of a calendar year and take account of the moves made by the organization.

Let’s take a look back at Bowman’s 2015 as general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks.



  • January 29, 2015 – acquired defenseman Gustav Forsling from Vancouver for defenseman Adam Clendening.
  • February 26, 2015 – acquired forward Spencer Abbott from Toronto for defenseman T.J. Brennan.
  • February 27, 2015 – acquired defenseman Kimmo Timonen from Philadelphia for a second round pick in 2015 and a conditional pick in 2016.
    (2016 pick became a second round selection when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup)
  • February 28, 2015 – acquired center Antoine Vermette from Arizona for defenseman Klas Dahlbeck and a first round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft (#30 – Nick Merkley).
  • March 2, 2015 – acquired forward Andrew Desjardins from San Jose for forward Ben Smith and a conditional 7th round pick in 2016.
  • June 27, 2015 – acquired forward Ryan Haggerty from the NY Rangers for goalie Antti Raanta.
  • June 30, 2015 – acquired forwards Artem Anisimov, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp and Marko Dano and a 4th round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft from Columbus for forwards Brandon Saad and Alex Broadhurst and defenseman Mike Paliotta.
  • July 6, 2015 – acquired forward Liam Coughlin from Edmonton for goaltender Anders Nilsson.
  • July 10, 2015 – acquired defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt from Dallas for forward Patrick Sharp and defenseman Stephen Johns.
    (DAL will retains of Garbutt’s contract for remainder of 2015-16 and 2016-17 season.)
  • September 11, 2015 – acquired defensemen Dennis Robertson and Jake Massie and a 5th round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft from Carolina for forwards Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom and a 3rd round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
  • December 14, 2015 – acquired defenseman Rob Scuderi from Pittsburgh for defenseman Trevor Daley.
    (PIT retains one-third of Scuderi’s contract for remainder of 2015-16 and 2016-17 season.)

Bowman made 11 trades in 2015, the biggest of which were salary cap-motivated moves over the summer that sent Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp packing. Some of the deals will never mean anything to the NHL roster (see Brennan for Abbott), while the jury is still out on others (Clendening for Forsling).

Overall, Bowman had a good – but not great – 2015. It’s hard to say losing could-have-been Hart candidate Patrick Kane to a regular season-ending injury was a blessing, but it handed Bowman the financial flexibility to take the bold steps needed to bolster his lineup for a Cup run – and that run was successful.

Did Bowman overpay to rent Antoine Vermette? On paper, perhaps. But there is a lot that is yet to be written about both Dahlbeck and the pick Arizona received from the Hawks; Chicago has a new banner hanging at the United Center.

The toughest pill to swallow on the trades list is easily the Sharp trade, that also sent a young defenseman many of us were high on to a division rival in exchange for a bundle of parts that haven’t fit on the Blackhawks yet. Bowman does get extra credit for getting both Dallas and Pittsburgh to eat salary in the deals involving Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt, however.

At the time, the hardest deal to accept for fans was the Saad deal with Columbus, but now that trade appears to be one of Bowman’s best. Saad and his agent felt he was worth more than the Hawks could afford, putting Chicago in a tough position. Forced to move the young forward on short notice, Bowman was able to bring in the second line center (with size) that the team had longed for over the last few years – and then locked up Anisimov into the future. Adding Dano and an additional fourth round pick for Saad and Paliotta – who, like Johns is still in the minors – makes this deal a potential long-term win for Chicago.

Entering New Year’s Eve, Saad has 14 goals and 12 assists in 38 games for Columbus. Anisimov has 13 goals and seven assists in 38 games.


During the calendar year, the Blackhawks placed four players on waivers. Two of them cleared, two did not.

On March 1, Toronto claimed defenseman Tim Erixon off waivers. The Blackhawks picked up Erixon in a deal for Morin, and then punted on the once highly regarded young defenseman soon after.

On Dec. 6, Arizona claimed forward Viktor Tikhonov off waivers. Tikhonov was signed over the summer because he was Artemi Panarin’s homeboy, but he never found a consistent spot in the lineup. The Hawks put him out there and the team that originally drafted him in the first round fell in love all over again.

Bowman also put Bryan Bickell and David Rundblad on waivers this season, and both cleared. Bickell spent time in Rockford before being called back to the NHL; on Dec. 30, Rundblad was assigned to Rockford.

Free Agency

  • February 22 – G Scott Darling to a two-year extension.
  • March 21, 2015 – signed F Vince Hinostroza to a three-year contract.
  • March 26, 2015 – signed F Kyle Baun to a two-year contract.
  • March 26, 2015 – signed D Mike Paliotta to a two-year contract.
  • April 2, 2015 – signed F Tanner Kero to a two-year contract.
  • April 30, 2015 – signed D Erik Gustafsson to a two-year contract.
  • May 1, 2015 – signed F Artemi Panarin to a two-year contract.
    gatsby celebrate
  • June 29, 2015 – signed D David Rundblad to a two-year contract.
  • June 30, 2015 – signed G Michael Leighton to a one-year contract.
  • July 1, 2015 – signed F Viktor Tikhonov to a one-year contract.
  • July 1, 2015 – signed F Artem Anisimov to a five-year extension.
  • July 2, 2015 – signed D Cameron Schilling to a two-year contract.
  • July 3, 2015 – signed F Andrew Desjardins to a two-year contract.
  • July 7, 2015 – signed D Trevor van Riemsdyk to a two-year extension.
  • July 9, 2015 – signed F Dennis Rasmussen to a one-year contract.
  • August 5, 2015 – signed D Viktor Svedberg to a one-year contract.
  • August 18, 2015 – signed D Nolan Valleau to a two-year contract.
  • September 2, 2015 – signed F Joakim Nordstrom to a one-year contract.
  • September 11, 2015 – signed F Marcus Kruger to a one-year, $1.5M contract.
  • September 19, 2015 – signed D Michal Rozsival to a one-year contract.
  • September 26, 2015 – signed D Brent Seabrook to an eight-year, $55M extension.
  • October 15, 2015 – signed D Kyle Cumiskey to a one-year contract.

There’s a lot to digest from a long list of free agent deals this year.

Bowman was able to get longer term deals done with Anisimov and Seabrook and retained Darling and van Riemsdyk for two years each at bargain prices. Retaining Kruger proved to take longer than most had hoped, but he was able to keep Desjardins as an insurance policy.

The head scratchers of the year were the two-year deal for Rundblad (award the Clown Shoes Award) and bringing back Rozsival for one more season.

Bowman did a tremendous job in getting Panarin to Chicago, and quietly getting Gustafsson to sign a two-year deal was also a great addition to the organization.

What can we take away from this entire list of moves? Two significant items.

  1. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2015
  2. The Blackhawks enter 2016 with (some) salary cap flexibility

Since taking over as GM, Bowman has been fighting an uphill climb financially. But he has successfully managed to take the organization that had little to promote after the exodus of 2010 back to the Cup Final twice, winning both times. There was a Conference Final trip between the 2013 and 2015 Cup wins as well.

As we enter 2016, there are youngsters on the NHL roster – Shaw, Teravainen, Danault – who were drafted under Bowman’s watch who are making an impact. And there are other players on the NHL roster – Panarin, Gustafsson, Rasmussen – who were identified by the European scouts and signed who are also playing significant roles right now.

Best move of 2015 – signing Panarin as a free agent

Best quiet move of 2015 – getting Desjardins for Smith

Worst move of 2015 – giving Rundblad a two-year extension

Worst quiet move of 2015 – sending Nilsson to Edmonton for Coughlin.

Most intriguing move of 2015 – Clendening for Forsling

  • Click here for a complete list of every move made by Bowman as GM of the Blackhawks.

23 thoughts on “Looking Back: Stan Bowman’s 2015

  1. Nicely done Tab!

    Considering what SB has had to deal with, I think he has done a good job overall.

    Interesting to see how this pans out before the trade deadline… And if he is able to make the moves necessary for a deep play off run!

  2. We won the Stanley Cup. The banner hangs forever. That’s a successful 2015. Put me soundly with the guy making the salutation with the champagne and fireworks.

    2016-no reason to believe any major errors will occur despite everyone second guessing and arm chair quarterbacking …the Blackhawks are in goods hands and the ship will have careful guidance.

    Advice- more trades with Columbus. Seems they are not very adept at it and give up on good players way too early.

  3. Been waiting for this team to go on a run and if you look at the schedule in January, it should be possible.

    Sun Jan 3, 2016 Senators @ Blackhawks
    Tue Jan 5, 2016 Blackhawks @ Penguins
    Wed Jan 6, 2016 Penguins @ Blackhawks
    Fri Jan 8, 2016 Sabres @ Blackhawks
    Sun Jan 10, 2016 Avalanche @ Blackhawks
    Tue Jan 12, 2016 Predators @ Blackhawks
    Thu Jan 14, 2016 Blackhawks @ Canadiens
    Fri Jan 15, 2016 Blackhawks @ Maple Leafs
    Sun Jan 17, 2016 Canadiens @ Blackhawks
    Tue Jan 19, 2016 Blackhawks @ Predators
    Thu Jan 21, 2016 Blackhawks @ Lightning
    Fri Jan 22, 2016 Blackhawks @ Panthers
    Sun Jan 24, 2016 Blues @ Blackhawks
    Tue Jan 26, 2016 Blackhawks @ Hurricanes

  4. Fantastic column Tab. Some of your best writing all year. You can tell you put a ton of time and thought into it.

    Picking up on a couple of you thoughts. The hawks lineup now has 4 young players : Panerin, Rasmussen, Van Riemsdyk and Gustufsson all signed without giving up a draft pick or asset, that’s roughly 22 % of the lineup.

    For all the cavetching fans have done about giving up a 2nd rounder for Rundblad you could make the case that TVR has turned out to be what Stan thought he was getting in Rundblad.

    The deal to me that hurt the most was 2 second rounders for a washed up Timonen.
    He contributed a storyline for the national scribes to chase that was all.

    I am eager to see Gustav Forsling. Clendening is a nightly scratch on a thin Pittsburg blue line. If Forsling plays “quick”, he might catch Qs eye right away.

  5. Craig… I agree and like the Forsling move a lot!

    His mobility/skating ability, offensive upside, shot are all very intriguing…

    Not sure how far away from getting a shot he is, but I look forward to him in a Hawks jersey.

  6. I’d give Bowman an A++. Top notch job by the organization all around.

    They’re in a great position in a transition year. You have to believe they’ve been working towards this season for years.
    They have delivered: Panarin, Svedberg, Gustafsson have been excellent in addition to the youngsters from last year van Riemsdyk and Teravainen.

    But the most exciting development is this 4 way battle for the 3rd C spot. Hinostroza Rasmussen, Kero, Danault all got their shot and proved they are real players.

    Hinostroza Rasmussen, Kero, Danault, Svedberg, Gustafsson have played 59 games combined.
    Others like Dano, Hartman and Braun had their shot.

    PS: I give Stan Bowman an A for winning the SC, a + for landing Anisimov-Panarin and the other + for all these youngsters that look like real players.

  7. I doubt he had much to say about the Kane situation or at least he was just part of the think tank, but I really, really liked how they handled the situation.

    They got crushed for that presser with Kane. I personally loved it. Knowing what we know now, that presser was top notch stuff. Message ‘we support Kane and believe he’s innocent, even if we’re really pissed with him’.

    That’s real support, not some lame ass PR move, statements and crap like that.

  8. Rundblad for 2 years and 2.1 total. Or Kimmo Timonen for 2 2nds…Kimmo, I love the story but that deal hurt

  9. Nice overview Tab and Happy New Years to all in 2016!

    Certainly a lot to consider when looking at 2015 the calendar year for the Hawks. Here are some of the impact moves in my opinion:

    Brandon Saad loss is still a real punch to the gut. 6 months later the move still sucks in my opinion. Anisimov has been good and has solved the 2nd line center issue but I’m not sure another player couldn’t have done it while retaining Saad. The age part is the real kicker, Saad is only going to get better and likely will be an AllStar caliber player for years to come.

    The Sharp trade just seems like Stan’s biggest bungle on his resume. Here is why not only did you give up a serviceable player (albeit an expensive one who needed to be moved a yr sooner) for spare parts that didn’t fit, and give up a nice prospect but Oduya went to Dallas, and has helped them look like a potential contender. (West still runs through Chicago & LA until otherwise shown different).

    This next one is won’t be popular with anyone but signing Seabs to that long extension was the wrong move. NHL defenseman don’t age gracefully, for every Scott Niedermayer, Lidstrom and Duncan Keith there are 20 other guys that breakdown on the side of the road.

    On the flipside finding Panarin was an absolute gem! The Hawks found and signed a top 6 winger, at 24 they got a really nice player. Imagine if they still had Saad, traded Sharp for a serviceable 2nd line center and had a core of those guys with Towes and Kane, holy crap how much better would this team be. Speaking on Panarin, just saw on Generalfanager that 812,500 of bonus on Panarin’s deal was already reached;

    Bonus breakdown;
    $225,000 in Games Played bonuses in 2015-16. Games Played bonuses: $25,000 for 5 GP, $200,000 for 10 GP. $850,000 Schedule A bonuses, $1,725,000 in Schedule B bonuses in both 2015-16 and 2016-17. Schedule A bonuses (max $850,000): $212,500 for any of the following achievements – top 6 on team in ice time (total or average, min 42GP), 20 goals, 35 assists, 60 points, top 3 on team in +/- (min 42GP), 0.73 points per game (min 42GP), All Rookie team, All Star game, All Star game MVP. Schedule B bonuses (max $1,725,000): $1,725,000 for any of the following achievements – top 10 forward in the league in goals/assists/points/points per game (min 42GP), top 5 in league in Hart/Selke/Richard voting, NHL First or Second team all star, Conn Smythe

  10. SSHM…
    I beg to differ with most of your post…

    SB was up against the cap (we all know that). He had to move Saad in the fashion he did and got back a good return, given the circumstances.

    Sharp was playing 3rd line minutes and was paid nearly $6 million (cap hit)… Who else could SB have moved in order to make that work? One of the other core players?

    Seabrook was a very good signing. He is one of the best d-men and leaders on this team and will be for a long time barring injury.

    I agree on Panarin and part of the deal with signing him were his bonuses and SB was the one making those… So, I would anticipate he knew the prospect of those bonuses kicking in… It’s called rewarding players who perform and I think we all want that?

  11. Great recap, Tab. Really puts it into perspective. SB deserves great credit for the pressure moves he had to make in 2015.

  12. I like Mining Man’s idea of trading with Columbus. Maybe we could get Saad back for Bicklle, Rumdblad and a pick?

  13. Hawks are exceptionally well run. Bowman is indeed the architect and gets high marks.

  14. I like to add Panarin to the Saader and Sharpy trades. Combine them.

    Even though 20 is younger then 15, he’s the same age as 72 and 15 is younger then 10. Cap hits are way better even when 72 gets player bonus. We get 56/28 too.

    Just like combining the 5/57 trade for a 2nd. Same thought process.

    Good article. Beauty playing.

  15. Great writing Tab. Agree one of your top features of all time.

    We are now 5th in the league. Some teams behind us have some games in hand, but, the way it stands now, I do like our chances in a 7 game series against any team in the league. The core has been playing in 1st gear (except for Kaner) all year. You know they all will hit a higher gear in the playoffs.

    Yes, we have some opportunity areas; an offensive LW’er, maybe a dman, plus ???. I am confident we see 1-3 trades by SB to fortify the roster for another run for the cup.

    Nice posts by Mining Man, Craig, & Hockeyjunkie. Again great writing Tab.

    Go Hawks!

  16. Tab- I agree with Craig N… some of your best work here!!! really

    However, I will strongly disagree with one of your thoughts- “the Jury out on Forsling/Cden deal…

    Cden- is a bum- could never fit with Hawks (imo)
    If Forsling- never skates in the NHL- is the ONLY way the trade is a push!!!
    And hearing about/watching a little of WJC’s… SB clearly won that deal!!!

    Would love to see Hawks get lucky next draft and Land/trade for a Young Fin…
    Puljujarvi or Laine… pure snipers/Right handed… Jarvi has more upside… But Laine has HEAVY shot… Hawks filled w/ pass 1st guys…

    Dum- Hino will be an NHL’er pretty soon- seems like a Hawk fit to me- if not- trade bait for LW sniping type I just mentioned

    SSHM- agree on Sharp deal

  17. One free agent signing you missed on that impressive list was Mike Liambas, signed on July 2 to a one-year contract. As he has been injured for most of the season and was purely a signing to bolster the AHL roster in Rockford, he’s easy to overlook.

  18. wall – I think the 4 way battle for the 3rd line Center isn’t just positive for that spot, but for other considerations as well. Trade assets is one of them for sure.

    The other intriguing aspect is…can any of the other 3 (the one that ‘lose’ the battle) play Winger ? I think they can. I think Rasmussen has something of a power forward. Danault also. Ans Hino’s skill and speed are winger type.

    So -in my mind- this 4 way battle could eventually result in more than a battle for 1 Center spot. It could be boosting the Winger depth either by trade or simply by 1 or 2 of them being used on the wing.

  19. I’m rather behind the play on this subject, but wanted to commend Tab for this excellent and thorough synopsis. And also to say – in reference to all we gave up last year for Vermette – that you cannot overpay for another Stanley Cup. The Holy Grail is and forever will be Priceless.

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