Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Where Do The Blackhawks Go From Here?

The Chicago Blackhawks' post-season ended much sooner than when they wanted it to.  The St. Louis Blues defeated them in a decisive Game 7 in the first round of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.  

Blackhawks GM, Stan Bowman, gave up a lot this year at the deadline in order to try and win now.  Who can argue with that?  It worked last year as the addition of Antoine Vermette was vital to the Cup run.  This year's big addition was ex-Blackhawk, Andrew Ladd.  Bowman gave up the key to the Brandon Saad trade, Marko Dano, the 2016 first-round pick, and also a 2018 conditional third-round pick.  In the series against St. Louis, Ladd turned in Bryan Bickell-like numbers with 2 points (1G 1A), and a team-high, 36 hits, which only means he was chasing the puck...a lot.

So where do the Blackhawks go from here?  Their young talent has been depleted in other trades: (D) Stephen Johns traded to Dallas (how much could they have used him?), (C) - Phillip Danault to Montreal for the Fleischmann/Weise trade, the 1st and 2nd round picks this upcoming year (2nd rd pick went to Philadelphia for Kimmo Timonen last year ). 

A big question mark is Andrew Shaw.  He is a UFA, who will earn a big pay check considering he was arguably the Hawks' best player in the playoffs this year.  His salary cap number was $2mil per year.  Then there is RFA, Richard Panik, who was also one of the better players against the Blues in the post-season.  There is potential that the Hawks bring him back, as he should not be a huge hit to the cap.

The Blackhawks will most likely not bring back the following players: Andrew Ladd, Tomas Fleischmann, Christian Ehrhoff, and Michal Rozsival.  A slim chance for someone to bring back, if Shaw cannot be resigned, is Dale Weise.  He did not play much in the regular season, but was effective the last two games against St. Louis.  Yet again, this is slim.

The Hawks will have to rely on their core players, and their young players, unless Bowman can make a trade for some young talent.  Is it possible that Bowman trades the right to Shaw, as he did with Saad, but possibly, somehow, bundle him in with Bryan Bickell, which would free up some much needed cap space, as per Generalfanager?  Maybe they would have to up the ante by tossing in Teuvo Teravainen, who managed just a single assist in the series against the Blues.

Whatever the case is, Bowman will be a busy person.  The only good that comes out of the early exit, is that these players get an extra 6 weeks of rest.  They have made it to at least the Western Conference Finals five out of the last eight years.  An incredible feat.

One thing is certain, the Blackhawks are still an elite team.  It just so happens that 3 of the 5 top teams in the NHL are in their division.  Jonathan Toews will make sure they come back prepared for next year.



  1. Time for some youth, as your last statement indicate's this teams core has been through a lot and are a tremendous nucleus, but at some time you have to let go of the older guys and go with some youth movement, and that time is now in my opinion. Make some trades, bundle some players, whatever to get this team back on the speed radar as they are starting to slow down to much me thinks.

  2. Yeah, even though the core is still relatively young, other than Toews and Kane, they are all at least 30.