What’s Next For The Blackhawks?

The Blackhawks have been a massive disappointment this year, even considering the rebuild that was coming with the removals of Marian Hossa and Niklas Hjalmarsson from the lineup.

Many of Stan Bowman’s bandaids – veterans buying time for kids to develop – didn’t do what the team had hoped. Cody Franson ended up in Rockford, Lance Bouma ate a roster spot that meant John Hayden and Vinnie Hinostroza were in Rockford (too long), and Tommy Wingels was a solid rental but wound up being traded because, at the end of the day, he was a rental. And Patrick Sharp’s victory lap didn’t provide much of anything to the team on the ice.

So now what?

Many point to past moves the Hawks have made with the perception that, if those players were still in Chicago, the team would have somehow been a championship contender. In a vacuum, that’s great. But in context there’s more to every move. Brandon Saad’s cost control is important; he hasn’t put up the points that Artemi Panarin has, however. Teuvo Teravainen has become the offensive threat many of us thought he could be in Carolina; would he have been in Chicago after the expansion draft, however? And how could the Hawks have afforded Panarin in the first place with Bickell’s contract on the books?

There are lots of questions that are hard to answer if we focus on the past.

But looking to the future is the only way the Blackhawks can right the ship in October – and beyond.

Which begs the ten-ton question: now what?

Let’s begin our discussion talking about the forwards.

Up front, the cupboard is far from empty. Chicago has four 50-point players this season: Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (assumed) with Nick Schmaltz and Alex DeBrincat.

Schmaltz won’t turn 23 until late-February. His 85 takeaways rank third in the NHL this season, and he’s figured out that shooting is a good thing; his shooting percentage is 18.1 this season. If the Blackhawks figure out consistent lines, there’s no reason to think he couldn’t be a 30-goal guy.

Can Schmaltz evolve into a point-per-game player? That’s what the Blackhawks lost when they traded away Panarin, who has 77 points (26 goals, 51 assists) in 79 games.

DeBrincat will be able to legally buy himself a beer one week before Christmas. At 20, he’s put to bed many of the questions about how well his size would play in the NHL – just as he did in juniors. He has scored 27 times this year while floating between the first and fourth lines. Now that the Blackhawks know he’s a potential 30-goal scorer as well, he should be locked into a top-six role next year and beyond.

Indeed, DeBrincat has scored more goals this season than Teravainen (23) and one would have to think that he would have more than 23 assists if he consistently skated with two forwards who are more inclined to shoot.

In DeBrincat, the Blackhawks have found their replacement for Teravainen.

Then there’s the relative unknown: Dylan Sikura.

Sikura is actually older than both Schmaltz and DeBrincat; he turns 23 on June 1. He dominated the NCAA this year (and last year), and showed that he can play at the NHL level with two assists in his first game. How he figures into the lineup next year, and what he can provide over a full regular season, will be an important factor for the Blackhawks next year.

However, if you add the potential of those three youngsters to Kane and Toews – and Saad for that matter – the Hawks have the makings of an electric top-six moving forward.

Of course, who plays on which line is as important as the potential each of the three has already displayed.

It’s important to keep in mind as well that Saad will turn 26 in late October. He could still reach 20 goals this year, which is noteworthy given how underwhelming his season has been. His shot percentage (7.8) this season is a full four points lower than any other full regular season he’s played in the NHL; luck has had something to do with his limited scoring. If he can return to shooting 11-12 percent, he’ll be back in the 25-30 goal range as well.

Those four aren’t the only forwards being counted on in the future, though.

One common complaint about the Hawks’ youth movement has been the perception that it lacks size. While Saad uses his body well, there are concerns about DeBrincat, Schmaltz and Sikura being smaller players.

Chicago doesn’t lack size, though.

Victor Ejdsell will turn 23 in June and is listed at 6-4 and 211 pounds. He has only played in three games, but has shown the ability to skate and handle himself well in the NHL. He has been credited with five hits and three takeaways since joining the Hawks.

Hayden doesn’t turn 24 until Valentine’s Day and is listed at 6-3 and 223 pounds. He ranks fourth on the Blackhawks with 118 hits despite being limited to 47 games.

David Kampf turns 24 January and has been effective as a fourth line center. He’s only listed at 6-0 and 180 pounds but he has won 52.9 percent of his faceoffs since joining the Hawks; his 508 faceoffs taken ranks fourth on the team to date even though he has only played in 43 games. Having a second center able to win better than 50 percent of his faceoffs is important; it got Marcus Kruger a $3M salary.

While he doesn’t have the size of these other three, Hinostroza has no problem throwing his weight around. In 47 games, he has been credited with 26 hits and 26 takeaways and has 25 points. His speed is an element that will be important in the Hawks’ bottom-six moving forward, and he brings both offensive ability and an edge to the ice that is reminiscent of Kris Versteeg a decade ago. To date, Hinostroza has as many points as Ryan Hartman had before he was traded to Nashville in ten fewer games; the important difference is Hinostroza’s ten penalty minutes versus Hartman’s 58.

Add to this mix the possibilities with others we have seen briefly this year: Matthew Highmore, Andrew Duclair, Tanner Kero and Andreas Martinsen. Luke Johnson has had a nice season in Rockford as well.

Now the tricky part: paying them all.

Hayden, Duclair, Hinostroza and Tomas Jurco are restricted free agents this summer. Martinsen is unrestricted. On would figure that retaining Hayden and Hinostroza are priorities, but Duclair’s speed and Martinsen’s physical play are elements that will certainly intrigue – especially if they’re affordable.

The Blackhawks have options next year. And they have cap space to work with to get back into the mix for a deep playoff run. Up front, Chicago should feel good about the future.

Now about the blue line…

96 thoughts on “What’s Next For The Blackhawks?

  1. Very thoughtful insights, Tab. Thanks for that.

    Frankly I would be happy to work with what we now have on the roster, and in the system, up front. The combination of our veterans and some maturity from the kids looks pretty strong – and better than most.

    Stan, or his replacement, needs to deploy whatever $ are available at the back end – both on defense and as a backup in net. More than anything it was those areas that killed us this season.

    Let’s not forget that this team was in the play-offs until Corey went down in December. With experience the kids up front are only going to be better. A stronger defense and eliminating most of the “soft” goals the four backups have let in and we would now be sizing up our play-off opponents.

    Unless we are giving up on next year the likely solution would seem to be signing a couple of free agents. There is no obvious stud in the pipeline on defense and whoever we draft this June will not have an impact in 2018-19.

    Sure hope Q is back.

  2. Q said Toews will probably play Wednesday against the Blues, but Hayden will not. So that gets us one more player closer to seeing what the 2018/19 forward lineup could look like.

    A big question for me is whether Stan should trade Anisimov. Is 5 games enough to assess whether Ejdsell can effectively replace Anisimov? Anisimov gets 20 goals every season and is probably the best net front presence on the team – those two things shouldn’t be dismissed as insignificant. Figuring Toews and Schmaltz have the top-6 center slots, which 2 of Anisimov, Ejdsell and Kampf get the other 2 center slots? Ideally it would be Ejdsell and Kampf and an almost $4M cap savings by trading Anisimov … I’m just not sure Ejdsell can be relied on to do what Anisimov does.

  3. Good article, seem to be pretty much set, hard to say if AA anf Jurco return but wouldn’t rule it out that one or both back. Also think there is chance Anthony Louis who played well in Rockford sees some NHL time next year at some point. Maybe not at first but as an injury callup, if he continues to play well.

  4. If Anisimov is traded.

    DeBrincat-Toews-Kane
    Saad-Schmaltz-Sikura
    Hinostroza-Ejdsell-Duclair
    Martinsen-Kampf-Hayden

  5. @ Tab,

    Excellent write up. The top 6 is taking form, The Good- ADC and Schmaltz are drafted top 6 players! Building block pieces, Schmaltz has next year left on his ELC deal. Kane continues to play to his contract value.

    The Bad- Toews and Saad need to perform better. 16.5 million for those 2 alone and a lot of disappointment. Overall In my world that leaves the Hawks 1 impact player short of their top 6. Can one of the guys below be that guy?

    Bottom 6.
    1. DuClair-I think the Hawks kinda have to pay DuClair. It would be very un Bowman like to not resign him. Its moves like this that tells me if Stan has a clue. His track record lately has shown that he doesn’t. Curious to see if Stan bungles the contract in typical SB fashion and overpays for him. He makes 1.2 million now and is RFA, can they bring him back for 1.5 per over 2 years? SB definitely shouldn’t pay him more than 2 million and no more than 2 years. Has he done enough to validate more time and money than that? I say NOPE
    2. Hayden-I wish the Org would continue to have him play purposeful bottom 6 mins. He is an upcoming RFA too. Should be able to retain him for around million dollars a season. He is 23 I’d like them to sign him to a 3 yr deal. I love his game!
    3. Ejdsell-SB Traded for him now its time to see what they have. He is signed through next season.
    4. Sikura-Consider me pessimistic on his outlook, but he is in the mix no doubt and will want to get paid after NEXT season.
    5. Kampf-Classic 4th line center-replacement level player. He is signed through next season.
    6. Hino- Has he done enough to deserve a roster spot next season? Whats his ceiling anyway? He is an upcoming RFA too
    7. Andreas Martinsen-Grit, Sandpaper, and all that Hockey nonsense. Only UFA forward on the team. A 2-way deal is fine for this guy.

    Your bus ticket is ready; Patrick Sharp, Thomas Jurco. Thanks for your time and contributions. Overall this forward group isn’t far away. Personally, I think this group is 1 guy away in their top 6 and that’s with Toews and Saad playing like shit. Although I’ve heard next year both are due for an LA King’s Kopitar/Dustin Brown comeback. SO I guess I should expect that to happen. The bigger question is can our GM sign the right guys for the right money. The forwards are the least concerning out of the position groups.

  6. I would think that one of Ejdsell or AA plays wing until is AA is traded.
    I agree that AA brings things (esp. net front on the PP) that not a lot of others do not.
    If he were to bring back a nice return I can see the logic of trading him go otherwise he can anchor the bottom 6 either as a C or wing – the latter preferably)
    We also don’t yet know what Edjsell really has got – I’m liking the potential but some time in the AHL is not unrealistic

  7. At no point in my above post did I consider Anisimov. In my mind I have the Hawks moving him. How and what SB does with Arty this offseason will tell a lot about if the ORG believes then can be a playoff team next season. If Arty is here SB is managing the roster for next season and is looking at everything in the short term. If he is moved Stan knows that team is another year away. We shall see!

  8. re: SSHM’s Toews & Saad in the bad category – lots of bad luck for Saad this year. As I mentioned, if he shoots 11% like his career would indicate he should, Toews probably has another 8-10 assists and Saad’s close to 25 goals right now and nobody is complaining.

    If the Hawks stick 88 w/ 19 & 20 full-time next year, I don’t think we’re complaining about the production of the line. I’m not sure I would throw Sikura-Schmaltz-DeBrincat together, though. So maybe Sikura gets some run w/ 19 & 88 and Saad skates w/ Schmaltz & DeBrincat. Either way, I think the top 6 carries the mail next year.

    re: Anisimov – I am also in the camp that he gets traded. And I think you could get a piece to help the blue line/goaltending situations for him & create additional cap space.

  9. Re: L. Carlsson… Elite Prospects- says on 4/1 – transaction was made… but oddly does not show “Team- he is going to”???

  10. Thanks for the reminder there was a expansion draft element that played into the teuvo, bickell trade in addition to the bickell salary dump, which was then used to sign Panarin to the 6m cap hit contract.

  11. He’s a minor piece but ok with what Martinsen has brought-his hands are better than thought and he commands some respects physically which is good.

  12. Thats the thing about AA if you can get a decent return moving him could make sense. If what was reported offered at trade deadline, a 3rd rounder then i would say there is a serviceable role for him next year. To trade him just for the sake of moving him or for a cap dump i would say no.
    Kampf has stepped up impressively on the faceoffs and will make a nice 4th center and with Haydens bring it game hope fully the 2 of them find sone chemistry and pick their offensive games with each other and give a strong dzone starts 4th line.

  13. Wall maybe going to Rockford on a ATO. I hear signed prospects ( Sikura and Hillman) and ATO s are eligible for AHL playoffs.

  14. Im for Anisimov traded only ONLY if its towards a dman. Thats 20 goals out the door.

    A concern is in the blue paint area. A lot of perimeter type players. (Please not Roussel. Please not Roussel)

    Debrincat can drink legally…in Canada. Hell, its 18 in Alberta. We lub beer.

    Yea…the defense.

    If the Hawks dont get a solid dman july 1st theres gonna be trouble. I am very optimistic on the defenseman available in the draft this year.

    A better backup too please. Not sure where or how but thats the gms job not mine.

    Meanwhile….Coach Q is still hopeful that Crawford will return to finish the season. :/

  15. @ER – like your lines assuming AA is traded

    But if AA is not traded then he could play 3rd line and Hino moves down to 4th

    15 14 91
    48 64 40

    with Jurco and Martinsens as extras

    That could be a decent bottom 6 – I prefer the defensively responsible AA on that 3rd line to Hino. The more I think about that bottom 6 the more reluctant I would be to trade AA.

  16. My guess is that they trade AA. To me, would be worth it if they can get a mid-to-late 2nd rounder or good prospect. I think management approaches next season as being more about rebuilding and getting our many new players experience than focusing on the playoffs. No one should expect a legitimate playoff run in one year with our serious problems at G and D.

  17. It’s all quite simple.

    1. Win the draft lottery and select Rasmus Dahlin.
    2. Sign UFA John Carlson.

    Dahlin-Carlson
    Keith-Murphy
    Gustafsson-Seabrook
    Hillman

  18. I think Carlson is unrealistic.

    Besides do we want to toss another 8 million for one defenseman?
    And he will want long term too.

    No thanks.

  19. LOGI. you would be the alarm clock waking me from my happy dream … thanks a lot ;-)

  20. Logi it just depends in priorities and if you want it or not. Carlson certainly is doable and 8m may be a stretch alot saying closer to 6 and AA 4.55m is most of it. He would also still have trade value in 2 or 3 years if you wanted to move him, don’t see the problem with it.

  21. I think the bidding for Carlson probably starts at 7 but I think the Hawks should try – they could make it work cap wise.

    Other substantial D upgrades I think would involve a trade – a few names mentioned here include Doug Hamilton, Noah Hanifin, Jacob Truoba but undoubtedly there are others – with Carlson it would only cost $ and in this case I think $ well spent

  22. Yeah early on they were 6 to 6.5 for 6 but now saying 7 for 7 if Caps don’t sign Carlson, which is quite possible.

  23. I think I’m the only person who thinks Carlson isn’t even that great of a player. Sure he is decent but not a franchise changing player. Since he is a UFA whoever signs him is going to grossly over pay in salary and yrs for his service. If the Hawks are going to over pay I’d rather it be for a franchise player like JT or Erik Karlsson. Outside of those 2 names there isn’t isn’t a heck of a lot of franchise players available in free agency. There are several solid goalie options which hopefully SB is aggressive in that market.

  24. Agreed Carlson isn’t Karlsson and the big UFAs always get overpaid a bit to a lot.

    I wouldn’t want the Hawks to get him whatever the cost but $7 mil for his numbers is I think fair value add a bit more perhaps for being UFA – so say up to $7.3 is not outlandish.

    SB I think would have to sell Carlson on CHI – there will probably be other teams offering more

  25. The problem with acquiring Karlsson is that he’s not a UFA like Carlson and Tavares. And then after you pony up some attractive offer to Ottawa to get him, there’s no guarantee he’ll resign with the Hawks for something the Hawks can afford – so he could be one very expensive 1-year rental which I hope Stan has the sense to not do.

    So now that I’ve been rudely awakened from my Dahlin/Carlson dread, how about if I dream a little more and suggest that if we win the draft lottery and get Dahlin, we then package Nashville’s 1st and our 1st from next season for the 5th or 6th or 7th pick or whatever pick it takes to select Evan Bouchard. We would then have our top pairing d-men for the next 10-15 years. One a potential franchise player and the other a sure fire NHL d-man with exceptional offensive ability.

    Dahlin-Bouchard
    Keith-Murphy
    Gustafsson-Seabrook.

    LOGI – don’t wake up for a while. :-)

  26. I was watching TSN canada and 3 out of 3 analysts say this is going to be Qs last week in Chicago, if theyre right, its a shock, cant imagine the team without him. Now critics of Q cant blame him for the teams performance, bowman can assume complete blame for the demise of this once great team.

  27. SSHM don’t know whats not to like. Carlson has 15g and 66points playing well over 20 mins a game. He’s a big 6’3″ 215 lb. mobile shutdown defenceman who has had a big breakout year and put himself in the Norris conversation.

  28. Joezell, I hope TSN is wrong. Letting a great Coach go because the team is on a rebuild? It hasn’t worked for the Red Wings. Then again, maybe Quennville wants to leave.

  29. Sure hope those TSN analysts are wrong. Clearly Q and Stan don’t see eye to eye. Hopefully Rocky steps in and says goodbye to Stan.

  30. Nice thread Tab. There is lots of light at the end of the tunnel/after the breaks this yr we went through.

  31. If I had to choose between Stan and Q – who to keep and who to let go … I think I would have to keep Stan and let Q go, and oddly enough I consider Q better at what he does than Stan is at what he does. Q is a HOF coach without question and I don’t think he lost any of the coaching and game managing that has served him so well. My choice of keeping Stan over Q is that I think there’s a truism that coaches have a shelf life with the players on a team whereas GM’s are removed from that level of daily interaction with the players. There can be different reasons for a coach reaching his shelf life and I’m not 100% sure that Q has – but it’s been 10 years which is probably already well past the norm.

    I hope both stay and give it another shot next season and maybe the one after that too. But if one has to go, my vote is to keep Stan and let Q go.

  32. ER, I often agree with your thoughts but not on this one. As you say Q is one of the best ever in his role. In addition Q is the coach most players across the league say they would like to play for. When you have something that good you don’t let it go. As for shelf life – the vast majority of our roster wasn’t here five years ago – let alone ten.

    On the other hand Stan has done little to suggest he deserves to be at or near the top of any GM list. Liberal use of no trade deals, failing to address obvious holes in the roster and seemingly too quick to pay big $ on long term deals quickly come to mind as big shortcomings. Sure he has been good but no where near the great status almost anyone would assign to Q.

    That said I would be fine with having them both back for one more year. However if one has to go………..the choice is clear.

  33. We were talking about getting 91 the whole time with Hoss cap hit/or 15 and no player bonuses from 72, until it turned to need Dmen.

  34. Erik Karlsson just kept puck at the end of Sens game. They are thinking it’s a souvenir from his last game in Ottawa, their last 2 on the road. Must be planning on being traded.

  35. Two questions;

    If Anisimov is intended to be moved, who out there is going to pick up his $4M contract and for what?

    If Q is let go, or goes on his own, who are the realistic choices to come in and lead a team with Kane, Toews, Keith, Seabrook, Saad etc. and turn things around? (and I don’t think valid answers, based on this past season are Dineen and Ulfie)

  36. Have to admit I’m surprised that the consensus seems to be that Q will be let go – I’ll believe it when I see it and I hope it’s not true. I’m optimistic about the core bouncing back next year and the youngsters coming on. IMO Q is good with bringing along young players.

    However if Q is let go it’ll death by core because those are the ones who let him down not there youngsters. Maybe that’s the sort of wake up call 19,2, 7 and 20 need but if that’s the case it’s a sad commentary on those players.

  37. Q can pick a great spot to land for his next coaching spot-I think he’ll want to move–he’s proved all he needs to in Chicago. Next and probably last challenge elsewhere. (part of ‘the smarts’ is to know when to go-I think he will.)

  38. The media vultures have been swirling around Coach Q all week looking for their story.

    If he goes, I would think Chicago would wait to see if some coaches get canned first

    Barry Trotz for example is on the hot seat imo

  39. Trade Hino in off-season. He looks good but really isn’t that good—perfect trade bait. I like him but think he has more worth in trade than on ice. Make him part of a package, if possible, to move up in the draft and get some impact guys. Same with AA. Younger and cheaper = more $ to move up or sign a few established defenders.

  40. Q to me has looked burned-out in his interviews. His body language and tone
    suggest the losing has gotten to him. He’s a championship Coach without anything close to a Championship team. Perhaps he’s had enough. Remember he’s the guy who after the Panerin & Nik H trades, said he’s in a “win now” business and his General Manager is looking ” more toward the future”.

    That has not changed at all.

    It’s going to take patience and teaching for some of these younger players to tap their potential. Is Q that guy ??

    I don’t think we will have to wait long to find out the answer.

  41. Bomba, good post. Got me thinking that you may be right about Hino. He hasn’t reached his potential, but we need some size and strength to balance this team. My earlier post about what we could get for AA is off. With his contract, no better than mid-3rd rounder or prospect and would free up $ for a d-man.

  42. I would feel bad for Q. Hes the best coach in Hockey. When he has a good team. He might not be the best paitent/for kind of longer time for roster to get better or stuff like that. This seasons bounces and breaks just added to not having 50, 81 and 4. Cannot say how much those 3 players mean to a top 5 team. That’s about half of most teams core player, those 3.

    Q the best coach in Hockey when he has a good team. He wins when other coachs do not when they have good teams. We could have another coach that might look good/do good then get to having that good team again and a new coach might one of those that does not win when having a good team.

    I think it should be based on more then one yr. Can always do it later. Cant make mistake and then do a redo.

  43. Just speculation yet, who knows maybe Bowman gets moved and new new GM gives Q more time. Likely get a better idea right after season ends, McDonough will make a statement then. May be status quo for another year too. If Q goes it is probably because he has indicated thats his preference, which he may have done.

  44. ER, I think that if the Hawks management really wanted to shake things up….ie: Play is unacceptable….Q would have been fired by now thereby creating drastic change. Firing him after the season ends has much less dramatic affect 3 months later.

    That said, I think Rocky and McD get SB and Q together and lay down the law. Q must regain control of the room. SB must become more disciplined in his approach to the future.

    I also think the Captain has to regain the room himself. His frustrations with his play should not and can not deter the attitude of the young team the Hawks are going to have going forward. Toews must become the captain he was a few years ago regardless of his personal frustrations.

  45. I should add that I would not be shocked if Q or SB is fired to change the direction of the club. But let’s remember that when Q took over, the cornerstone of the team were both still basically teenagers.

  46. Lucas Carlsson signed a one year extension with his Swedish league club, that was unknown transaction. So if signs an elc he will be subjectcto league transfer agreement and his Swedish club gets option to take him back if he doesn’t stay on NHL roster

  47. Tuulola under contract to his Finnish league team to for another year, so he would be same as Carlsson under transfer agreement. Jokiharju quite possibly sign with a Finnish league too if he gets an elc and be subject to european clause transfer agreement too.

  48. No thanks to John Carlson. Another big contract? Another RH defenseman?

    We’re not going anywhere for at least a couple of years and we’re not going to buy our way out of this. We need restraint on the contracts and a new plan in place with the patience to follow it.

  49. A coach is fired for underachieving with a talented team. A GM is fired for the players signed, drafted or traded for. In our case, the answer is simple; FIRE GM STAN BOWMAN.
    Osterle, Bouma, Franson, Kero, Wingels, JF Berube, Forsberg, Rutta, Kempny, Gustafson, Martinson, Tootoo, Svedberg, Anthony Louis, Baun, Fleishmann, Dale Weise, Dano, Sikura, McNeil, Erhoff, Timmonen, Hinostroza, Ejdsell, Delia, Darling, Pokka, Knott, Iacopelli, Pelletier, Hillman, Gilbert, Fortin, Norell, and on and on and on.
    I think asking Coach Q to coach a list of these players is quite funny.

    Time for Stan Bowman, Mark Kelley, and Pierre Gauthier to be fired. Then, Rocky needs to fire John MACD who is an arrogant loud mouth. Name Tallon the president and get DUDLEY as GM. And have them decide if COACH Q gets one more chance.

  50. If you had Qs resume 3 Stanley Cup, 2nd winningest coach ever etc. and neither Bowman or McDonough will give the media their aporoval of your job to quiet the rumors. How would you feel knowing you are going to have multiple other teams who want you right away.

  51. If the Hawks parted ways w/ Quenneville, my guess is he waits a year and then takes a big money deal to be the first coach of the expansion team in Seattle.

  52. If Q were to leave, it would surprise me if he went in the direction of an expansion franchise. I think, like Babcock, he would want to find an up and coming young team he can mold into a champion, like he did with the Hawks. But the young talent would have to be in place.

    If I were running the Oilers, I’d fire whomever I had to to get Q to be McDavid’s coach.

  53. Great post as always Tab. I also saw the TSN quiz and all 3 said Q gone, they were not saying he deserved it just they said it feels like it. On hockey night in Canada last week they said it is known in the industry that Q and Stan have issues, but Q is owed 6 mil. for the next 2 years, so that is a factor.
    My thought is we need a new voice in the locker room, but is not my money.

  54. I think Vegas was a one off-and agree that Q, if he desires to continue elsewhere goes to a team very close to winning.
    Mikita-even when you use non-capitals you can tell your yelling. Relax and breathe.

  55. This is a new era for expansion teams. I do not think Vegas is a one-off; I think that they have set a new pattern for expansion success. With the hard cap in place, there will be teams that can’t afford good veterans (James Neal) and teams that choose some youngsters over others (Jonathan Marchessault). Of course there won’t always be a MA Fleury available, but he hasn’t been there for periods of time throughout this season.

  56. If were yrs away from being good again then we need to trade Kane and get what we can while we can because. Should be able to get a 1st for him.

  57. I think McD is making both SB and Q sweat a bit with his “everyone will be evaluated at the end of the year” position but IMO he will bring them back to at least start next year.

    They’ve had one lousy year in 10 – is that really just cause for firing? Is that the atmosphere McD wants around the Hawks? If he does let one or both go there’s a reasonable chance it’ll backfire on him and then he’d really have egg on his face.

  58. Noonan, I am actually laughing and very relaxed. I am not one of those who gets on the bandwagon (Sikura, Tero, Ejdsell, Baun, Hillman,etc..). In fact, I look back at the 3 Cups with great satisfaction for Hawk fans everywhere. Loved every minute of it!
    It’s when I read about some people saying how great Stan is as a GM and how he worked around the CAP. That Noonan, is exactly when I start to laugh! He is has been atrocious with the CAP.
    We all know who built this team and it was not Stan Bowman. He has no vision, no idea how to make a trade, or how to keep a team together and feed the farm system. His knee JERK reaction of firing the coach’s best friend and trading Kane’s best friend shows how infantile he really is. And do you still think that Mark Kelley and Pierre Gauthier deserve to stay on this staff? Coach Q is well respected thus a GM does not fire a 3 cup champion’s buddy without talking. Now, if this is all John MacD’s doing, well, it is back to the family Wirtz dysfunctional circus.
    And nothing is wrong with Sharp, Toews, Seabrooke, Keith, Kane and Crawford. What’s wrong is having Keith playing with Osterle with Stephen Johns plays in Dallas. Seabrooke having to play with Murphy, Kempny, Rutta…on and on…Hossa playing with Tanner Kero last year!!!!

  59. YES I WAS.

    I think were not that far off from being really good again. Get stronger/better each yr just need some key spots filled.

  60. I wouldn’t want to shop Kane, but his value is more like two 1st round picks between 12-20.

  61. Mikita: You forgot about Morin, Bowman loved him very much as well, kept trading for him.

    Oh Morin, where are you pray tell…..

  62. I’ve criticized Q multiple times over the last year plus, and particularly regarding his handling of Kempny most recently. That being said, however, count me on Q’s side re: the debate of stay Q or go Q. Q did the best he could w/ the cards Bowman dealt him this season, and most notably without a capable second goaltender NHL level.

    Q deserves and has earned the opportunity to try and right the ship.

  63. Q is earned it. Were going to be a lot better then some people think these two yrs coming up. We do want to get back to that top 5 team (roster wise not point standings wise) status again though.

    I think we can get back there in two yrs.

  64. I’m watching Vegas game and Pirri scored for them, lol. Speaking of Q, ear is ringing…

  65. Rundown of other former Blackhawks tonight:

    Panarin gets 3 points (averaging exactly a point per game).
    Panik scores #14.
    Keven Hayes scores #24.

  66. I visit this web site to get the latest, on-point insight…hell, I’m in displaced Chicagoan living in Alabama!

    So far, I glean from the discussion that the Hawks are possibly OK up front with potential on the way. Of course, potential has gotten many a coach fired and I think the Hawks have a Hall of Famer behind the bench – and we should do everything possible to keep him there. He may need more help on special teams, but Coach Q stays. With apologies to Ocean’s 13 – the stash plays.

    The blue line has received its due negative attention. But, while this may be blasphemy – Seabrook is lumbering and Keith is starting to show the strain of having to do more than a little bit of everything, because…well, he has to do more than ever. There’s no doubt that with their contracts – we’ll be seeing them wear the ‘Hawks sweater, so we desperately need to have talent enough for them not to be relied on to be superhuman.

    But, the two most impactful issues going forward have received the least attention here. This year’s Blackhawks team missed two “irreplaceable” (for this year at least) players more than any others. Marián Hossa’s presence on the ice and in the room were not only missed because of his scoring ability and the two-way responsibility he exhibits as an example of the right way to play the game, but his professionalism and maturity on such a young team would have hastened their growth. After all – it’s embarrassing when a young gun can’t keep up with the pace set by a 39 year-old, and how do you replace that?

    The other main loss was obviously when Crawford went down, which presents a question which has to be dealt with…can Crow go? If there’s even a sliver of doubt then getting a top-notch #1 goalie is job #1 for Stan. Not even coming close to making the playoffs should tell all of us that the window for “the core” is closing. Getting another “best player on the penalty kill” in the net is not a luxury, but a necessity.

    But, hey – I’m in Alabama, and a guy who relished going to Nashville and blasting the Smashmouth faithful with an air horn when they were trying to keep the red out, or keep us from coming back from a 3-1 deficit. I realize sports are cyclical – especially when dealing with a salary cap, So, here’s hoping we shorten the cycle as quickly as possible.

  67. Spelling correction

    Rundown of other former Blackhawks tonight:

    Panarin gets 3 points (averaging exactly a point per game).
    Panik scores #14.
    Kevin Hayes scores #24.

  68. Look at it this way. Bowman fired Q’s best buddy Mike Kitchen, then he traded his favorite “warrior” on the back end in Hjalmarsson. Then Bowman hired Don Granato for development of younger players. All of this was thrust on Q.

    At some point, Q’s got to wonder why he should stick around for Stan’s tinkering.

    I have a feeling a mutual parting is about to happen.

  69. Mikita21– I agree- this Cluster-f*** team… is much more on Bowman…

    People praise him for “managing” the Cap… but a few more shrewd moves or Non-signs… and this Team might have won 1-2 more Cups… we will NEVER know for sure… of course- it is easy in hindsight from Our GM chairs…

    I could envision… NOT signing Bickell… and maybe keeping TT
    or NOT signing Seabs/or trading him when he was “trade-able”… and Maybe somewhere /somehow that sets up some other plays… where Team still affords Panarin/Saad… albeit- for short term- cuz eventually- Panarin- is gonna rake in the $8M+ deal

    SB- will always fall back on – (SB and a lot of GM’s expected the Cap increase several years ago- and it didn’t)

  70. I don’t understand the blind faith placed in Stan Bowman. Let’s be honest when Q and SB both moved into their current rolls this was an Organization with the arrow pointing up. The organization put BOTH of them in a position to be successful. They both made HUGE contributions exceeded expectations and the Organ-I-zation had their best run over a 10 yr stretch. Both should be applauded for that. However, that was 10 years ago. Players get old, times change, and perhaps its time for a change. What is surprising is the Org has been extremely quiet about the future. I’ll be curious to hear what SB has to say after the season concludes. If he says anything at all. For being in a large market, and an Orginal 6 team this team lack a full-time beat reporter so flush out some of the details about the big picture.

  71. No doubt the Blackhawks be going for their 9th consectutive cup now with a GM who wasn’t so atrocious with the cap and didn’t reward players for being the cornerstone of bringing him a dynasty. Be much better off with a team no big stars want to play for.
    On serious note Jokiharju got another assist last night and is moving on to next round. According to reports working on his elc and whether they moved on or were eliminated likely had an impact on what deal was signed.

  72. Yes- I was completely Stupid… when I said Bickell and Seabrook signings were Terrible deals… from the Minute they were Signed….

    Called them “Handcuffs”… how stupid of me…

    Ian- how does NOT signing Bickell/Seabs at those times= No Big stars want to play for????

    SB- signed the BIG deals… 19/88– which were totally understandable- given Ages at time of signing… and PAID them for past work… So Guys – would continue to sign with Hawks…

    But paying Seabs- who was in total decline/as measured by many advanced Hockey metrics… that $$$ /for the long at his age… was a “Gift” and a work of Charity -imo… and it Did NOT pay off… and will only get worse…

    I will add- Seabs has skated much better- Since Q benched his ass… so good for Seabs… but still not living up to that deal…

  73. Would the Hawks do the trade below? Would another team take it?
    Both of our #1 picks, assuming we draft 7th and at end of round, with Hinistroza and a young defender throw in, for the top pick.

  74. I would say NO Bomba. The first overall pick has a lot of extra value in an NHL draft. I’ve seen it moved for a #2 overall and stuff, but not dropping down that far.

    I think when the Hawks drafted Kane St Louis offered us 3 1st round picks plus stuff for it and it was a pretty easy NO.

    The history of #1 overall picks is that there are many more franchise changing players drafted there than anywhere else, obviously.

  75. @ BOMBA

    I’m not sure how deep this draft is, I’ve heard from some of the talking heads that there is Rasmus Dahlin and then everyone else. Take that for what its worth. Would SB have to stones to move their 1st (assuming it’s not a 1st overall) pic and the Nashville pick for a 27 yr old Erik Karlsson? Its a risky move but one that fixes a HUGE hole, top pair, and PP stud and allows the Hawks to compete in the short term. If the Hawks are really still trying to win now there are 4 ways I see that happening.

    1. They somehow win the number 1 overall pic and draft Dahlin
    2. They sign Tavares and try to out score everyone
    3. Trade for Erik Karlsson
    4. Trade for 2 impact blueliners, one of which is PP QB

    If one of those outcomes occur I can see the rationale of the Hawks still believing they can complete now. If not its going to be another long season with a wild card being a best case scenario 12 months from now.

  76. When did Chicago sports fans (OK not all) develop such short memories? I realize this season was bitterly disappointing, and play was not up to the standard we have had the pleasure to get used to – but I’m not ready to throw the baby out with the bath water. That STANDARD (from Rocky taking over until today) was developed by the same front office team some of you are trashing. Before their arrival we had no identity, no system and no success.

    Making trades or closing the deal on an NCAA Free Agent is far easier looking back than looking forward. Hockey has a hard salary cap, which means it applies to every organization in the league. We’re not talking about baseball, where big-market teams can afford to pay the luxury tax and spend to acquire and keep the players they want…and if that doesn’t work they’ll pay more to replace the players who don’t fill the role they were brought in to fill.

    Nor are we talking about the salary cap in the NFL where a player’s contract is only worth the guaranteed money stated within the contract, and no – in the NHL, a player’s contract cannot be renegotiated (upward or downward) during the term.

    Which means two things: Higher paid players cannot renegotiate to afford the club the financial flexibility to keep or add essential players – like in the NFL, and in the NHL, General Managers make moves that fit within the strictest cap limitations in sports.

    OUR TEAM is considered to be one of the best run organizations in the league – and in many cases – considered to be a premiere organization in comparison to most teams in other sports. More importantly, the Blackhawks have re-set the organizational standard in Chicago sports – and as a die-hard Chicago sports fan, I appreciate the hell out of that!

    Yes – we had a disappointing year. Rub some dirt on it, suck it up and buy a new lucky hat, because the draft is coming up, and the organization has plenty of solid hockey people – all over the globe – who know way more about talent evaluation than we do…collectively!

    Don’t get me wrong. I anguish about every move made, hoping they payoff. Breaking up the chemistry between Kane and Panarin was indeed nothing short of tragic. But, I have to believe three Stanley Cups warrants a hell of a lotta trust, and belief in the likelihood that the paid professionals on one of the premiere organizations in all of sports – are going to get it right more times than not. And, they’ll right the ship…hopefully in short order.

    But hey – I’m in Alabama and some of you have a better view of things when you’re attending prospect camps and travel to Rockford to evaluate the Ice Hogs!!

  77. Interesting thought….a Karlsson trade immediately upgrades the entire team, defensive rotation and powerplay and puck possession get better. However, he has one year left on his deal. If he becomes a UFA in a year it would be a massive waste.

    I think if someone trades for him this offseason, probably the only way they would do it is if he agrees to terms for a contract extension. And I am not sure that is even possible to do while he is a member of another NHL team, pretty sure you can’t. Maybe there is a work around, I’m not sure.

    The other issue is how many years and dollars he would need to sign. 8 years for sure, and lots of term. $9 million? How much is a multi Norris Trophy winning dman worth?

    Then again, hey we got Kane because we won a draft lottery. We were supposed to draft 5th originally. Maybe lightning can strike twice for us. That would be the best thing.

  78. Sitting 8 th today and 6% chance of 1st pick. I believe it was 8% odds when we won the lottery and got Kane.

  79. @HEREISMIKE

    In regards to Karlsson the club would need to speak to his agent prior to the deal and frame out a potential contract IF a trade were to occur. It would be against the CBA for the club to speak with him directly. Those are conversations good GM’s are having now. Maybe SB is having them or maybe he isn’t. Those conversations rarely get leaked.

    I think signing him would cost at least 9 million dollars a season. Elite talent is always comparing themselves with another elite talent. PK Subban is 28 and is the highest paid D-Man right now making 9 million. However not sure how confident I am in SB negotiating that contract

  80. Southside-30 million for three players? (and 46+ for 6-Seabrook and Keith, and Crow) The other 65-70% of the team left to pay.
    I just think that doesn’t allow for 2 or 3 younger players, that are/get to the top of their game to be payed for the future. It’s a dangerous game of financial chicken, especially with no confirmation of a goalie to make it all work.
    No if Seabrook was done in a year, it makes a lot of sense.

    And I’m not diminishing his worth-he’s elite. And he’ll get 10+.

  81. Great point Noonan. Seems like it would be financial suicide and force us to watch Dcat and Schmaltz and maybe Jokiharu walk away when it is time for them to get paid.

    So we are back to the plan being to win the single digit percentage lottery.

    I think the important question to ask is what do they do if none of this happens? No lottery win, and no huge UFA signing. How do they manage defensive improvement in that case? Because in all likelihood that is what we are going to be looking at.

  82. There are many legitimate comments on the contracts SB has handed out. But, please, don’t include Bickell in your discussion. Unless you are blaming SB for not knowing ahead of time that Bick was going to be diagnosed with MS.

  83. @ NOONAN96 & HEREISMIKE

    I agree it’s a foolish way to construct a roster but this is the position that SB has put the Org in. The other option is trading for a pair of blueliners. The pro scouts have been even worse at identifying talent. Do you trust SB and that group to id young up and coming talent? None of these positions are ideal which is why this team is closer to a teardown then a reload. Or you can just hope and pray that the Hawks vets have a King like rebound.

  84. Craig, good perspective.

    Why trade both 1sts to get a guy for a yr, if he doesn’t resign.

    I would much rather keep both 1sts (build by draft) and get on of the top ufa players for free. No matter what the caphit is or the yrs length, every top ufa player is going to get a similar amount. So it really doesnt matter what that is because it would be similar anyways.

    I would rather suck again for a yr and have 91/or Karllson in a yr/any top ufa player and both 1sts. Then were looking good/even better.

    If were going to do it, do it right.

  85. Tab- my prediction players/ And draft prospects – making team/ or NHL – is pretty good…

    My prediction on Picking teams to win series… is bad… I own that.

    c’mon

  86. I don’t know if anyone can ever truly project backwards or forwards on the Bickell deal. Let’s remember folks, this is a guy who has Multiple Sclerosis. It doesn’t just happen to someone all at once as far as I am informed. Certain things happen over time. I have been tested for it, and I don’t appear to have it. I was also told that certain things such as eyesight etc go before the real diagnosed MS kicks in. It’s a progressive illness. He probably had symptoms of it for a significant time before it was finally diagnosed.

    Bickell could have had eye/coordination problems that were going on to decrease his play. For God’s sake, the guy was a professional hockey player. I don’t think it takes much for a guy’s state of play to drop down a level. I’m willing to give him the benefit of doubt.

    We will never know what a HEALTHY Brian Bickell would have done. Maybe the dollars and terms were not that wise at the time the deal was made ….. but we can’t say for sure. Let’s leave Bickell out of the discussion about bad contracts. There is not valid data to support its state of good/bad. All we have is a good guy whose career was cut short.

    Go Blackhawks!!!!

  87. Wont ever forget Shawzer and Bicks acting like goof balls fishing on the boat/river.

    That’s funny, I ate sushi today.

  88. Wall – your predictions on players’ performances at the NHL level has consistently been of similar quality to the results of crushing White Castle after binge drinking.

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