Stan Bowman’s Busy Week: Worth It?
A week ago, the Blackhawks had limited cap space and were probably going to have to trade Teuvo Teravainen to get anything significant done before the trade deadline. And, as long as Bryan Bickell was with the organization, the options the Hawks had to make a significant upgrade to their NHL roster were limited.
Insert a couple really good days from Stan Bowman.
1st round pick – 2016
2nd round pick – 2018
3rd round pick – 2018
As the Blackhawks approach the stretch run, Bowman has overhauled the lineup while only giving up one NHL roster player – Danault, a rookie. We’re now looking at a potential lineup of:
And this lineup is without Marcus Kruger, who hopefully returns to center the fourth line in the playoffs.
We aren’t saying Bowman fleeced the league thus far, however.
Montreal got a really, really good young center for a couple veteran free agents-to-be in a dead season. Habs fans should be excited to have Danault coming into the mix.
Winnipeg fans will get to see Dano in action this weekend; he’s already been recalled by the Jets. It isn’t easy to trade your captain, but bringing back a highly touted – and wanted – prospect helps ease the pain.
Dano and Danault were two of the top prospects in the organization, and everyone liked what Danault had brought to the table in 30 games this season. And moving three high draft picks isn’t an easy proposition, either.
Bowman paid a premium to get some significant pieces onto his club for another Cup run.
But he did that last year with Antoine Vermette and Kimmo Timonen. While Timonen didn’t amount to much (read: nothing) and cost the Hawks two second round picks, the Hawks won it all. And that’s the point, isn’t it? To win?
Over the last few years, we’ve been surprised on countless occasions when the Blackhawks have parted ways with prospects. Klas Dahlbeck, Mike Paliotta, Stephen Johns, Adam Clendening, Brandon Pirri and Jimmy Hayes have all been dealt over the last couple years. Some – Hayes, Dahlbeck – have enjoyed some relative success at the NHL level while the likes of Johns, Clendening and Paliotta have struggled to get a look at the highest level.
But, even with all of those top prospects shipped out, the Hawks have continued to win.
Bowman has been able to sustain the loss of draft picks by signing rookie free agents.
Artemi Panarin is a front-runner for the Calder Trophy this year and he didn’t have an NHL contract 12 months ago. Erik Gustafsson and Dennis Rasmussen were also signed as free agents out of Europe in the last couple years, and they’re both making an impact on the NHL roster (for now).
Part of the magic has been Bowman bringing in players from the college ranks, either as free agents or Hawks draft picks, as well.
After a couple years at Notre Dame, Vince Hinostroza is playing well in Rockford this season and has seen some NHL action. The Hawks also have a couple of the top offensive players in the NCAA coming soon in Michigan’s Tyler Motte and North Dakota’s Nick Schmaltz. John Hayden, Fredrik Olofsson and Dennis Gilbert are also worth keeping an eye on in the college ranks moving forward.
Bowman has been able to supplement the organization’s depth with college free agents like Tanner Kero, Nolan Valleau and Kyle Baun.
The point being, Bowman has moved a couple young players who appear to have a very bright future. And he’s moved some high draft picks – again. But the Blackhawks haven’t missed a beat as an organization, and have every reason to go all-in while Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith and others are still in the prime of their careers.
Adding the likes of Ladd and Weise give the Hawks size and speed in positions they needed it three days ago. What the future holds for the prospects and picks Bowman dealt out the door is an unwrittern story, but the rest of the league has been put on notice that Chicago has every expectation to be around when Gary Bettman presents the Stanley Cup in June again this year.
33 thoughts on “Stan Bowman’s Busy Week: Worth It?”
The 1st, 3rd & 4th line are all better after weeks/months of diligent work. Achieving this within the salary cap is amazing. Rolling three lines that can score and being strong at center across all four lines is a proven formula. If the Blackhawks win the Cup for the fourth time in seven years, Bowman is first in line for General Manager of the Year.
If Quenneville pulls this roster together in the remaining games of the regular season & wins another cup, the Jack Adams award should finally join his list of career accomplishments.
Tab – great piece, well said, well written. Stan really does an amazing job every year. Is he perfect? Hell no. But IMHO his batting avg puts him in the elite category. Cant wait to see how this group rounds out after a week or two and throughout the playoffs. I smell a defenceman coming and some SB magic concerning Bickell. God I hope I’m right. Go Hawks!
For this fan its worth it. Hawks have an historic opportunity this year to repeat. Draft picks and prospects are fun to talk about, but its all about winning the Cup. This will be great to watch.
Tab, thanks for all the great information and for your insights. This fan certainly appreciates your efforts!
Tab – excellent summary. This is all about going ‘all-in’ while the core are in their prime. While I have been pleasantly surprised by Danault’s play this may mean that Kruger stays a Hawk which is a better outcome. Didn’t see both of those guys staying in the future. Also, Kero may develop into a better Danault with more offensive upside. Stan is changing the development dynamic by signing free agents at a later age when their potential is a little clearer than relying on draft analysis of 18 year olds. Lastly, how much does Wiese make and is there an expectation that we will try and re-sign?
Sad to see Danault go, but repeating is hard. Hawks haven’t done it yet, so it’s exciting thinking that it’s really a possibility.
Bowman has impressively brought in young players seemingly out of nowhere, but giving up all those draft picks is a bit scary for the future. We’ll get there when we get there and at that point the Cubs might be in the middle of a historic run themselves (but they are the Cubs, so I won’t hold my breath).
The way I see it, the limiting factor for the Blackhawks winning ways will be when Keith is no longer his elite self. As long as he can play at the level that we’ve all grown to love and the rest of the core is healthy this team can contend.
Looking forward to upcoming drafts I imagine we’ll see lopsidedly heavy selections for the D. Knowing how long they take to develop and the prime years of Seabs and Keith (not quickly, but nonetheless) approaching, we need to cross our fingers and hope to find top 2 dmen.
Tab, thanks. Perspective.
If Shaw ends up being a cap casualty this off-season, it would mean the oft maligned Mark McNeil is the sole representative of our great 2011 draft class.
(Assuming he doesn’t get traded between now and puck drop 2016/17)
Yoda- kinda thinking same thing… Danault is same as 16… but 16 better FO/PK…
as long as Kruger is re-signed/cheaply… redundant- great checkers (16/24)… with ALMOST zero offense…
Mcneill- is still developing… and has way higher Offense/shooting ability… Not saying Hawks are married to him… but- perhaps they see growth in total game + Offense/shot… Mcneill has played well with TT- in past… so who knows… + Mcneill – if SB keeps him… will be signed DIRT cheap next year…
Good column Tab. Couple things.
I can remember back to the 1990s when te trade deadline would come and go and Bob Pulford would do little or nothing. The word around the league was that Pulford was always too worried about what he was giving up instead of what he was getting in return. The Hawks would always come up short. One year after the season ended, outspoken Bernie Nicholls said the team needed one or two more players to make a deep run into the playoffs and management left them hanging. He said it deflated the whole team that they got nothing at the deadline.
Also the 2018 draft picks given up will theoretically be NHL ready, in Hillary or Trump’s second term, sometime around 2021 or 2022. To me it’s almost impossible to think that far ahead and know where any of us will be.
Tab love your insight I hated to see Danault go but I love that the Hawks are going for it. It will also be interesting to see SB and the scouting staff got to work on free agents from Europe and the college ranks. I really do have a lot of confidence in this management team. Lets make it four cups in the last six years and two in a row.
Kane’s 27, Toew’s 27, Hjalmarsson’s 28, Seab’s 30, Keith’s 32, Hossa’s a unicorn… I’m very happy to see Stan be aggressive in this precious window of time.
The Hawks had a great stretch mid-season but I was always worried about how the youngersters/newbies would perform in the playoffs vs. how far Kane/Toews/etc could carry them. Stan’s just mitigated a lot of that risk. We’ve seen Stan/Q turn to older players time and time again and it’s worked. And we get Krugs back.
It’s going to be a great summer.
Count me in the “it was worth it” camp. I think Stan found the sweet spot of being aggressive and yet not foolish in spending of assets. As others have said, it’s all about winning now while the opportunity to exploit the elite core players still exists. This won’t last forever so Stan and the brain trust has it right. There are no guarantees that a team will win, but I’m very appreciative that the Hawks are doing everything they can to give us the best possible chance to do so.
Tab, wanted to Personally thank you for everything you do for your site. The arctcle you wrote about the many good things Bowman has done a couple mths ago and this thread really captures the spirit of the whole thing.
Trust the Bowmans.
Outstanding recap, Tab.
One thing that worried me going into the trade deadline was the fate of Ville Pokka. So happy we didn’t trade him and hope we won’t. I see a bright future for him as a top 4 D-man. Here’s hoping that comes to pass.
Just how important is it for Stan Bowman to repeat as Stanley Cup Champion? Looking at his approach to this season as opposed to the previous seasons is telling. In previous years, the pattern seemed to be, get cap compliant, make a couple of depth moves, roll prospects up to fill need/get experience and get out of the way of the “Core” and see what happens. This year is much different. Sharp and Saad were the two pieces closest to the Core that had to be moved to get cap compliant, and even though they have been replaced in a sense by Panarin and Anisimov, Bowman hasn’t stopped making moves. This year is the first year that he made moves specifically to set himself up for the trade deadline. He never stopped dealing players in an effort to gain cap space. The player evaluation on the incoming players he received has been nothing short of draconian. Daley looked like a square peg in a round hole on the Hawks, but in Dallas and now in Pittsburgh he has flourished. Dano was the pre-season favorite to replace Saad on the first line, and he had a preseason and a handful of games to get in coach Q’s doghouse never to return. The revolving door of players traded and cut or shipped out in other trades is fascinating. Sekac, Garbutt, Rundblad, Bickell, Scuderi, Danault… Moves within moves, all leading to trying to repeat.
I’ll ask again, how bad does Stan want to repeat as Cup Champs? This year has been something different, it doesn’t feel like the other Bowman years. There is a belligerent impatience to his moves and an almost hint of desperation as well, no not desperation exactly but maybe a primal yearning, like a junkie who’s high is waning and he is not sure where he will get his next fix. He is still feeling the effects of his high, so he isn’t exactly desperate, but he knows the next one will need to be appeased, and soon. This is his third chance to repeat, but this is the first time I have seen him make a decided effort to do so, instead of relying on the “Core,” prospects and “depth” moves. If the Hawks don’t repeat this year it won’t be for lack of effort or wanting on the GM’s part. He laid all his cards on the table and said, “F U, I want it all, and I want it now.”
Miroslav: Wow man…..I am not sure it is all that complicated. Holes on the 1st, 3d and 4th lines. Filled now with competent players. Short on defense, yup. Ehrhoff for Scudiri, why not? Need another defenseman for the 3d pair, Yup, let’s see what SB does. Bottom line: Stanley Cup contenders.
Will he have to do it again next year….yup
By the way, I think we had this now or never discussion this time last year as well.
Secondary Scoring is the key in the playoffs, and these moves have trimmed fat and added muscle. With 19 games to go in the regular season it will be fascinating to see what Q does with these additions. I just hope the mustache doesn’t get all crazy with line juggling.
I heard all the moves were made on request of Pat Foley, just so he’d never have to call the names of Dano and Danault on the ice at the same time.
I appeared on TSN 1260 in Edmonton earlier this afternoon to talk about the Blackhawks. Here’s a link to the show’s podcast:
…..thanks Stan…you are a genius….glad you and your father are on our side …lol…another trip to the Whitehouse is in order….good coverage Tab…BTW…you never miss a beat!….
….oh yeah….forgot to mention sad to see Danault leave and he might come back to bite us in the butt five years from now in a Stanley Cup final scoring the winning goal against us…lol…but for now I will take Wiess anytime…definitely an upgrade over Versteeg or Bickell …this crash bang winger is a Winnipegger just like Toews!…..
Laughed incredibly hard, Otis. It was always a struggle for him.
Re: Bowman’s aggressiveness this trade deadline, as opposed to the last few years:
I agree that Bowman was much more aggressive this year than in the past. I think that his situation is different this year. Yes, the Hawks are still high in the standings, but I’d argue for different reasons than we’ve seen in the past.
For years, the Hawks have been an excellent puck possession team. This year, they have only been above average. Exactly one line has consistently produced. Corey Crawford is the main reason we’re sitting where we are.
So while the team has been doing well in the standings, our puck possession game isn’t where it used to be. Probably because cap compliance has forced the Hawks to insert too many rookies in the lineup.
Bowman knows this. In the past, we only needed depth additions because our possession was already dominant. This year, we needed a lot more help. Insert Bowman’s moves.
That was a good listen Tab. Thanks for sharing.
Nice podcast. Good conversation.
Nice job on TSN Tab.
Travis, good thoughts on why Bowman treated this year different than other years.
Some of these moves caught me by surprise and I had to think over if they made sense. Obviously everyone knew SB was looking to upgrade but the golden boy from the Saad trade.. ie. Dano got moved and I had the impression SB was really high on him. Obviously to win now Ladd is a huge help so that makes sense. Also Denault has filled in great at 3rd line center and is definitely up and coming but was expendable too I guess even though he has played an important role all season. Now with the dust settled you can see some of the players that have been mentioned in trades that are now left. ie Shaw and TT. Hopefully when the season is over and the short term rentals are gone there will be enough money left to sign them and also Panarin and Krueger to long term deals, and the empty slots will be filled up with the next wave of rookies.
Where would you rather be?
Routinely in competition for the top few draft picks?
Routinely in competition for the Stanley Cup?
Pretty easy answer I think…
thanks TAB for all the accurate informations!