Last week we looked back at a decade of drafting by Stan Bowman as the Blackhawks general manager. There were some early hits for the Bowman Regime, but the second half of the decade has been a struggle. There are some picks over the past three years that give us hope, but the track record of inability to develop and eventually play in the NHL or trade before realizing the potential of a prospect give us pause.
Now, let’s twist the knife in our back. Let’s discuss Bowman’s best and worst trades of the decade.
For reference, you can view Bowman’s complete history as GM of the Blackhawks here.
Feb. 10, 2010 – traded defenseman Cam Barker to Minnesota for defensemen Kim Johnsson and Nick Leddy.
The deal everyone points to as the high point of Bowman’s tenure as GM was almost ten years ago. Leddy, then a freshman at the University of Minnesota, had promise but was a bit of an unknown. Barker had a strong start to his career but faded. Over the years to come Leddy became a terrific defenseman for the Blackhawks; Barker was playing in Europe four years later.
February 9, 2011 – traded forwards Jack Skille, Hugh Jessiman and David Pacan to Florida for forward Michael Frolik and goaltender Alexander Salak.
The Blackhawks effectively traded nothing for Frolik, who had a nice run with the Blackhawks. He wasn’t the kid who scored 21 goals his first two season in the NHL but he became a terrific special teams player and gave the Hawks 10 points in the 2013 postseason.
Febuary 27, 2012 – traded second (#61 – Zach Sanford) and third round (#91 – JC Lipon) picks in the 2013 NHL Draft to Winnipeg for defenseman Johnny Oduya.
If you look back at the comments when this deal went down, Blackhawks fans were not thrilled the team gave up two mid-round picks for a guy many doubted. But Oduya became an incredibly important part of the Blackhawks’ blue line. Skating with Niklas Hjalmarsson, Oduya helped the Hawks win two Stanley Cups in his four years in Chicago.
April 1, 2013 – traded a 4th round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft to San Jose for center Michal Handzus.
On the surface this wasn’t a sexy deal; many doubted that Handzus, who has been with the Hawks seven years prior, anything left in the tank. Handzus came in and won faceoffs and, somehow, provided 11 points in 23 postseason games to help the Blackhawks in their second Stanley Cup victory. The kicker on this deal: the pick Bowman sent to San Jose was the Sharks’ own pick! Bowman acquired the pick on June 23, 2012 and sent it back to where it started for a guy who became a critical piece of a championship.
February 28, 2015 – traded defenseman Klas Dahlbeck and a first round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft to Arizona for center Antoine Vermette.
Like the Handzus deal, this one brought in a guy who made a big impact on a championship run. Though there was some friction between Vermette and Joel Quenneville (read: healthy scratches) and Vermette was a rental, he was exactly what the Hawks needed at the time. If we fast forward to this week, the pick Arizona received (#30 in the 2015 NHL Draft) became Nick Merkley, whow as just traded to New Jersey in the deal for Taylor Hall.
June 24, 2016 – acquired two second round picks (#39 Alex DeBrincat & #45 Chad Krys) in the 2016 NHL Draft from Montreal for forward Andrew Shaw.
Losing Shaw left a physical void on the Blackhawks roster, but DeBrincat has become a terrific scorer for the Blackhawks. Krys is still skating in Rockford, and Shaw is now back in Chicago.
March 4, 2014 – traded a second round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft (#58) to Phoenix for defensemen David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisbois.
Rundblad was one of many lottery ticket deals Bowman has made over the years. Lots of sex appeal but it never added up to consistently decent play in the NHL. Rundblad was a source of a lot of frustration while with the Hawks, and Brisbois never made an impact. The pick Chicago sent to the Coyotes turned into Christian Dvorak. Also of note, Brayden Point was still on the board at 58.
October 4, 2014 – traded defenseman Nick Leddy and goaltender Kent Simpson to the New York Islanders for defensemen T.J. Brennan and Ville Pokka and the rights to restricted free agent goaltender Anders Nilsson.
This deal came as the season began, and the Blackhawks and their cap issues had to choose between Leddy and Oduya. When it happened, many felt the Hawks chose poorly. Chicago wound up getting nothing from this trade.
July 10, 2015 – acquired defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt from Dallas for forward Patrick Sharp and defenseman Stephen Johns.
Another deal that was necessary because of the cap, the Hawks needed a body on the blue line and the end of Sharps’ time in Chicago was upon us. Daley was supposed to replace Oduya; he never fit. And Johns, who has been dealing with health issues in Dallas, was a big body on the blue line who could have used a chance to prove his worth in Chicago.
February 26, 2016 – acquired forwards Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann from Montreal for center Phillip Danault and a second round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft (#38 – Alexander Romanov).
If everyone points to the Leddy acquisition as the high point of Bowman’s resume, this is the low point of his trade record. Danault should have been the perfect center for the Hawks’ system to compliment Toews. He continues to be a big part of Montreal’s roster. In return, the Blackhawks got little more than frustration. This trade was a debacle at best.
June 23, 2017 – traded forwards Artemi Panarin and Tyler Motte with a sixth round (#170 overall) draft pick in the 2017 NHL Draft to Columbus for forward Brandon Saad, goaltender Anton Forsberg and a fifth round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft (#142).
This deal remains a mixed bag. Could the Hawks have been able to afford Panarin when he hit free agency this past winter? Not at a $10M cap hit. And Saad has re-emerged as the forward Hawks fans loved in his first run in Chicago. Columbus selected Jonathan Davidsson with the pick they received in the deal; he has appeared in six NHL games. Chicago packaged the fifth round pick in 2018 to move up in the third round that year to select Niklas Nordgren.
July 9, 2019 – traded defenseman Henri Jokiharju to Buffalo for forward Alexander Nylander.
While some might argue the jury is still out on this trade, Jokiharju has ten points and is averaging almost 17 minutes per game for the Sabres. Nylander has shown that he is who Buffalo thought he was.