The year 2015 feels like centuries ago for Blackhawks fans. It was one hell of a summer, as the Blackhawks were once again on top of the hockey world for the third time in six years. It was yet another year where it felt like the Blackhawks could do no wrong. Jonathan Toews ended his parade speech by proclaiming “maybe the only way it does get better is if we win four. Let’s go!”
The Captain was already on to the next one. Amongst what was one hell of a celebration, Jonathan Toews already had winning again on his mind. Hell, every Blackhawks fan who filled Soldier Field for the rally that day had another championship on their mind. The Blackhawks owned the NHL. They owned the Stanley Cup. They were featured in seemingly every single outdoor game. They dominated attendance rankings. Toews and Patrick Kane jerseys couldn’t stay on store shelves.
Any Hawks fan would have guessed 2015 was just another step along the path of domination. Nobody could have known it would be the final step. Toews and Kane were both still in their primes at just 27 years of age. There was no reason this team couldn’t win a few more championships. However, what Blackhawks fans could never have seen coming was that 2015 would be the last year ending in a champagne shower.
Moments we cherished so greatly quickly have become distant memories. As we are now into a new decade, in the year 2020, the Blackhawks are going to miss the playoffs for a third consecutive season. Joel Quenneville has moved on to the Florida Panthers after being fired by the team. Marian Hossa has essentially retired from the game of hockey. Members of a once dominate team are now gone and the Blackhawks just cannot recover.
How could it all go south so quickly? “One Goal” was always the standard. Winning the Stanley Cup was not only the goal, but the expectation. Now, just making the playoffs would be an accomplishment. How did a once dominate team quickly become a group that nobody fears?
When the Blackhawks fired General Manager Dale Tallon, the man who built the championship core, in 2009 and promoted Stan Bowman to Tallon’s role, Bowman was given the keys to a Ferrari. The pieces were already in place for Bowman, he simply just had to drive the car around and not crash it.
Bowman drove the car safely en route to three championships. After having to dismantle a championship team following the 2010 season, Bowman did a nice job of assembling two more Stanley Cup rosters around the core that Tallon built. However, following the 2015 Stanley Cup, Bowman began driving Tallon’s Ferrari quite recklessly. As the Blackhawks sit in the 2020 season mired in mediocrity, the Ferrari is totaled and Bowman doesn’t have the ability to fix it.
This is not to say Stan Bowman has done no good for the Blackhawks. He deserves his fair share of credit for the Cup runs in 2013 and 2015. However, this is a “what have you done for me lately business,” as Joel Quenneville certainly found out, and Bowman has come up short a few too many times. Let’s dive into the demise of the Blackhawks.
June 30 – Blackhawks trade Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Artem Anisimov, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp, Marko Dano and 2016 4th-round pick
Through this article, Stan Bowman trading young talent away because of cap restrictions is going to become a trend. Stan Bowman could not agree on a contract extension with Brandon Saad, so he opted to trade his restricted free agent rights to the Blue Jackets rather than lose him for nothing.
Here’s where this becomes such a poor transaction for Bowman. Following the trade, Bowman inked Anisimov to a 5-year $22.75 million contract. This put Anisimov’s AAV at $4.5 million, just $1.5 million shy of what Saad would get with Columbus. Stan couldn’t figure out a way to keep Saad over a measly $1.5 million in cap space? The only way this grade stays out of the failing variety is because of the success Anisimov had with Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin.
Morin, Tropp and Dano never became anything. The 4th round pick in 2016 was used to draft Nathan Noel, who has yet to make it to the NHL. Just an incredibly poor return for a player of Saad’s ability, and at the time, supreme of upside.
July 10 – Blackhawks trade Patrick Sharp and Stephen Johns to the Dallas Stars for Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt
When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on home ice in 2015 and Patrick Sharp was skating it around the United Center, everyone in the building knew they were saying goodbye. The Blackhawks were going to be in salary cap trouble again, and Sharp was the most likely victim as he was exiting his prime.
The hockey world knew Bowman had to move Sharp, so he was never going to get much in return. However, at the time, defenseman Stephen Johns was an intriguing prospect, and having the throw him in the deal was tough. Also, Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt never contributed to the team. It’s tough for that to be the return for a franchise icon, but Bowman’s get’s a ‘C’, as his hands were clearly tied here.
September 26 – Blackhawks re-sign Brent Seabrook with a 8–year, $55 million dollar extension
This is the move that has set the Blackhawks back years. Brent Seabrook was integral to three Stanley Cups on the west side of Chicago. From the unmatched leadership, to the big goals, there aren’t an additional three banners hanging in The Madhouse without number seven.
However, signing an already slowing, 30-year-old, physical defenseman, with a lot of miles on the tires to a a deal that will pay him a large sum of money until he is 39 is never a good idea. This contract made Seabrook one of the highest paid defensemen in the league. The decline came quickly for Seabrook and has left the Blackhawks in cap-hell ever since.
December 14 – Blackhawks trade Trevor Daley to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Rob Scuderi
Trevor Daley just never worked in Joel Quenneville’s system. The defenseman often looked lost on the ice and turned the puck over frequently. Trading him was the correct move. However, Rob Scuderi certainly wasn’t the answer.
Stan Bowman essentially traded a guy who was struggling for a guy who was not going to play. Scuderi was about 60 years old when Bowman traded for him. Oh, and Daley went on the play a key part in the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup. Alas, you can’t be too harsh on Bowman here, as Daley was never going to work in Chicago. Remember though, this effectively meant the Blackhawks got absolutely nothing back for Patrick Sharp.
January 3 – Blackhawks trade Jeremy Morin to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Richard Panik
Jeremy Morin had a few cups of coffee with the Blackahwks and simply never amounted to a whole lot. Good General Managers need to self-scout their own players well and make proper moves before the league catches on. Bowman did this with Morin.
Getting Richard Panik in return was something of a lottery ticket. Well, that ticket cashed in 2016, as Panik put up 22 goals and 22 assists. A pretty good return for a guy in Morin, who was essentially nothing more than an AHL player. Panik spent most of the season on Chicago’s top-line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. However, “Panik at the UC” became a one-hit wonder, as Panik had a rough start to the following season and was dealt to the then Phoenix Coyotes.
February 25 – Blackhawks acquire Andrew Ladd, Matt Fraser and Jay Harrisson from the Winnipeg Jets for a 2016 1st-round pick, Marko Dano and a conditional 2018 pick
This trade will leave you feeling conflicted. On one hand, it simply didn’t end up working out. However, on the other hand, it looked really good on paper. The 2016 Blackhawks were making another Stanley Cup push and had one glaring hole as the playoffs approached. They needed someone to play left wing on the top line next to Hossa and Toews.
Andrew Ladd was one of the top trade candidates on the market. He had a history with the Blackhawks. He had played with Hossa and Toews before. It seemed like a match made in heaven. Had the Hawks won the Stanley Cup, we’d be grading this as an A+. However, the line of Ladd, Toews and Hossa never got going and the Hawks were eliminated in the first round. Bowman went for it, and you can’t blame him for that. Sometimes though, it just doesn’t work out.
February 26 – Blackhawks trade Rob Scuderi to the Los Angeles Kings for Christian Ehrhoff
Did you ever have a teacher assign you homework in school, collect your work and then say it was ‘just for practice” and that there wouldn’t be a grade? Well, that was this trade. The Blackhawks and Kings simply swapped their garbage out.
February 26 – Blackhawks trade Phillip Danault and a 2nd-round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for Tomas Fleishmann and Dale Weise
Remember when we said you can’t blame Stan Bowman for going for it in 2016 with the Ladd trade? Well, you can blame him here. This is the rare trade where a team is buying at the deadline and makes themselves worse in the process.
The Hawks traded a center off their everyday roster for two guys who provided the team a whole bunch of nothing. Phillip Danault would have had more impact on the Blackhawks in the playoffs than Weise and Fleischmann did combined. Danault has gone on to be a very solid center for the Canadiens and the Blackhawks have lacked center-depth ever since.
March 8 – Blackhawks resign Marcus Kruger to a 3–year, $9.25 million extension
Marcus Kruger was an under the radar, key part of the Blackhawks 2015 Stanley Cup team. He anchored a vary reliable fourth-line for the Blackhawks. Kruger was also a great penalty-killer.
The thing is though, you don’t pay those guys $3 million a season. You have to replace those players from within. The Blackhawks were seemingly trying to get rid of this contract from the moment they signed it. Just yet another Stan Bowman overpayment, that led the team to losing key members of their core because of cap issues that Bowman created by signing extensions like these.
June 15 – Blackhawks trade Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2nd and 3rd-round pick
Yet another move that will make you want to throw up. Bowman truthers will say “but they had to do it to get out of Bickell’s contract!” Well, who the hell overpaid Bickell in the first place? The Blackhawks had a future star in Teravainen and gave him away for cap space. In 2018-19 Teravainen recorded 76 points for Carolina. That probably would have played well for the Blackhawks. Not in Bowman’s world though.
Those two draft picks that Bowman got in return turned into Artur Kayumov and Evan Barratt. While Barrat looks like something of an intriguing prospect, that certainly isn’t enough for Teuvo Teravainen. As for Bickell’s contract, it only had one more year left on it when Bowman traded it to Carolina. For a player like Teravainen, Bowman should have just ate the deal for one more season.
June 24 – Blackhawks trade Andrew Shaw to the Montreal Canadiens for two 2nd-round picks
Here is a rare example of Bowman not overpaying someone and moving on at the right time. Andrew Shaw was a nice piece for the Blackhawks during his time, but was always a bit reckless. Whether he was getting suspended for poor choices of words, or sitting in the box, Shaw was always a bit of a wild card.
He has also had trouble staying healthy since this trade. One of those 2nd round picks Bowman got in exchange for Shaw also turned into Alex DeBrincat. This was a big win for Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks.
December 28 – Blackhawks re-sign Artemi Panarin to a 2–year, $12 million contract extension
For those of you keeping track at home, that is back-to-back A’s for Stan Bowman. Getting a player of Panarin’s star-status to sign for a bridge contract that only paid him $6 million annually was pretty remarkable.
…….. If only Bowman had continued valuing Panarin.
Blackhawks aqcuire Tomas Jurko from the Detroit Red Wings for a 3rd-round pick
3rd-round picks in the NHL are something of lottery tickets, so you can’t call this trade terrible. However, you can call Tomas Jurco terrible. I mean, you can make the argument that you’d rather take a chance on Jurco than the 3rd-round pick. However, with how irrelevant Jurco was with the Blackhawks, you’d probably rather have the lottery ticket. This trade registers as “whatever.”
February 28 – Blackhawks aqcuire Johnny Oduya from the Dallas Stars for Mark McNeill and 4th-round pick
This is a lot like the Andrew Ladd trade, in the sense that it looked good on paper, filled a need, but just didn’t really work out. The Blackhawks were the top seed in the Western Conference in 2017, and needed a defenseman. Stan Bowman turned to former Hawk Johnny Oduya.
The reunion didn’t go so well, however. Oduya’s best days were behind him and the Blackhawks got swept out of the first round. However, only trading McNeill and a 4th-round pick was essentially getting Oduya for free, so no harm, no foul.
April 28 – Blackhawks trade Scott Darling to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 3rd-round pick
There aren’t too many stories better than Scott Darling’s path to the NHL. If not for Darling, the Blackhawks may have been eliminated by the Predators in the first round in 2015 and not won the Stanley Cup. However, when the time came for Stan Bowman to choose between Darling and Corey Crawford, Bowman made the correct decision.
Darling went on to struggle mightily with the Hurricanes and fall out of the league, while Crawford continued his success with the Blackhawks. Darling could have simply walked for nothing in free agency, so the Blackhawks getting anything in return for him was a win.
May 11 – Blackhawks resign Richard Panik to a 2–year, $5.6 million extension
Richard Panik had a good season prior to signing this extension, but it was the first and only good season of his career. That is a decent amount of money to commit to a guy who hadn’t proven it over a long enough period of time. Oh, and who exactly were the Blackhawks bidding against to pay Panik this much money?
This deal was so bad that Stan Bowman was almost instantly looking to shred it when he later traded Panik to the Coyotes.
June 23 – Blackhawks trade Artemi Panarin, Tyler Motte and 5th-round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Brandon Saad, Anton Forsberg and 6th-round pick
We’ll forever look back on this trade and say to ourselves “are you serious?” Artemi Panarin is an MVP-level talent in the NHL and Stan Bowman traded him away for a nice player in Brandon Saad and an AHL goalie.
You can surely argue that the Blackhawks could not afford Panarin long-term. The electric winger signed a seven-year, $81.5 million contract with the New York Rangers this past summer. With the Blackhawks cap constraints, that was likely a little rich for the team. However, Panarin and Saad were making identical dollar amounts over the two seasons Panarin spent in Columbus. The Blackhawks could have afforded him for that.
Bowman preached cap predictability when essentially swapping Panarin for Saad. He wanted the player locked up long-term and the lower dollar amount. However, what Bowman failed to realize was this trade made the Blackhawks substantially worse. The team hasn’t sniffed the playoffs since the trade.
While re-signing Panarin long-term was always going to be a challenge, the Blackhawks absolutely needed to at least try to do so. Letting a player of Panarin’s ability go for just Brandon Saad is unacceptable. Factor in the fact that the organization also stabbed Panarin in the back in the process, and the situation was downright embarrassing. Bowman needed to find a way. Players of Panarin’s caliber don’t come around often.
June 23 – Blackhawks trade Niklas Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin
On the same day that he shipped Panarin to Columbus, Stan Bowman also moved Niklas Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes. Joel Quenneville famously stormed out of the United Center in disgust. This trade hasn’t been spectaculor, but there is some sense to it.
Hjalmarsson plays a game that isn’t exactly built to last. He will block any puck that comes his way. A guy who routinely puts his body on the line likely isn’t someone who will play into his late 30’s. Since joining the Coyotes, Hjalmarsson has missed 77 games in three seasons. While Murphy hasn’t played to Hjammer’s level, he provides more assurance of staying on the ice.
January 10 – Blackhawks trade Richard Panik and Laurent Dauphin to the Arizona Coyotes for Anthony Duclair and Adam Clendening
Stan Bowman accomplished two things here: He quickly got rid of Panik’s bad contract and he got an intriguing player in return. Anthony Duclair showed flashes with the Blackhawks. He had a ton of speed and some skill to his game. Duclair ultimately struggled with consistency in Chicago.
February 19 – Blackhawks trade Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals for a 3rd-round pick
Remember that paragraph about the Blackhawks trading Trevor Daley to the Penguins? You could probably just paste it here. Kempny didn’t fit with the Blackhawks, but went on to play a key role in the Capitals winning a Stanley Cup.
February 26 – Blackhawks trade Ryan Hartman and a 5th-round pick to the Nashville Predators for a 1st-round pick, Victor Ejdsell and a 4th-round pick
Some were critical of this move by Bowman, but it was honestly a decent trade. Ryan Hartman was a nice player with the Blackhawks. He played with a lot of grit and had some skill to his game. However, he was never going to be anything too special. Hartman is now on his fourth NHL team, so the NHL doesn’t find him all that special either. Stan was ahead of the curve here.
Getting a first-round pick for a bottom-six winger is a win. The Blackhawks used Nashville’s first-round pick to draft defenseman Nicolas Beaudin. How Beaudin progresses moving forward will offer a final determination to this deal.
February 26 – Blackhawks trade Tommy Wingels to the Boston Bruins for a 4th-round pick
Tommy Wingels was a good player for the Blackhawks. He played a nice role on the Blackhawks fourth line. However, the Hawks were sellers at the deadline and Wingels was going to be a free agent. A fourth-round pick isn’t much, but Bowman was never going to get a whole lot for him.
March 7 & 9 – Blackhawks resign Erik Gustafsson to a 2–year, $2.4 million extension. They also re-sign Jan Rutta to a 1–year, $2.3 million extension
Apparently one mediocre defenseman wasn’t enough for Stan, so he doubled down with Erik Gustafsson and Jan Rutta. Gustafsson went on to rack up a bunch of points in 2019, but played optional defense. As for Rutta, well Stan was trying to get rid of that contract as soon as he signed it. Notice a trend?
July 1 – Blackhawks sign Kris Kunitz to a 1–year, $1 million contract
Sure, $1 million is hardly anything, but at this point in his career, you could say the same about Kunitz. After missing the playoffs for the first time in nine years, this was Bowman’s big free agent splash. Swing and a miss. The only thing Kunitz did in Chicago was take ice time away from John Hayden.
July 1 – Blackhawks sign Brandon Manning to a 2–year, $4.5 million contract
Well, two mediocre defensemen weren’t enough either, so Stan went and got someone who was worse than mediocre. Brandon Manning was very, very, very bad in a Blackhawks sweater. This was another big free agent signing in the summer of 2018 for ol’ Stanley Bowman. $2.25 million a year is an expensive healthy scratch.
July 1 – Blackhawks sign Cam Ward to a 1–year, $3 million contract
Cam Ward was at the end of his career with the Blackhawks but still played well. Had the Hawks not had Ward when Corey Crawford went down in 2019, they may have set a record for most goals allowed in a season. However, in an off-season where Stan needed to make improvements, this didn’t exactly move the needle. This move simply kept the tank from emptying.
July 12 – Blackhawks trade Marian Hossa, Vincent Hinostroza, Jordan Oesterle and a 3rd-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes for Marcus Kruger, Mackenzie Entwistle, Jordan Maletta, Andrew Campbell and a 5th-round pick
With Marian Hossa walking away from hockey, the Blackhawks needed to rid themselves of his contract. This was the best that Bowman could do. He had to give up Vincent Hinostroza and draft capital. On top of that, he also had to absorb Marcus Kruger’s bad contract, that oh wait, Bowman signed in the first place. This was a mess.
November 6 – Blackhawks fire Joel Quenneville
The wrong guy was fired. Jeremy Colliton simply doesn’t seem like he’s the guy. There has been so much go wrong since Quenneville was dismissed that clearly shows he wasn’t the problem. The greatest coach in franchise history was shown the door and the Blackhawks have been left with no direction.
November 25 – Blackhawks trade Nick Schmaltz to the Arizona Coyotes for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini
This was a classic change of scenery trade. Nick Schmaltz and Dylan Strome were both first-round picks who weren’t working out with the teams who drafted them. After the trade, both players performed well for their new teams. Strome registered 51 points in 58 games with the Blackhawks.
Things didn’t end up working out for Perlini and the Blackhawks, but Strome has become a nice piece for the team. In 2020, Schmaltz has 42 points with the Coyotes, while Strome has only tallied 33 points in a down year. Nick Schmaltz was going to be a restricted free agent following the 2019 season, and Bowman correctly didn’t want to pay him. Getting Strome in return was a pretty good move for Bowman.
December 30 – Blackhawks acquire Drake Caggiula and Jason Garrison from the Edmonton Oilers for Brandon Manning and Robin Norell
Getting rid of Brandon Manning’s bad contract should have been a challenge for Stan Bowman. However, not only did he rid himself of the contract but he got a very nice player in Drake Caggiula in return. Caggiula has found a home on Jonathan Toews’ line. Caggiula plays hard on the boards, battles for pucks, and goes to the net, which is something the Blackhawks desperately needed.
January 11 – Blackhawks trade Jan Rutta and a 7th-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Slater Koekkoek and a 5th-round pick
Jan Rutta didn’t offer much to the Blackhawks and was best suited as a healthy scratch. Trading him was the best case scenario. Slater Koekkoek is nothing special, but is surely better than Jan Rutta. The Blackhawks also got the higher draft pick in the trade. Chalk that up as a win for Stan.
May 29 – Blackhawks sign Dominik Kubalik to a 1–year, $1.775 million contract
Where would the 2020 Blackhawks be without Dominik Kubalik? Stan Bowman found Kubalik out of the Czech Republic and his first season in the NHL has gone quite well. Kubalik ranks third in points among rookies here on March 1. He also leads the Blackhawks in goals with 29. Quite the find for Bowman and the Blackhawks.
June 16 – Blackhawks trade Dominik Kahun to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Olli Maatta
Dominik Kahun was a fine player, but nothing too special. The Blackhawks got the better end of the deal here, as the Penguins were looking to clear some cap space. Olli Maatta has had a respectable year for the Blackhawks in 2020. However, as the team will likely be in salary cap trouble this coming off-season, Maatta’s $4 million cap hit may not look so great.
June 22 – Blackhawks trade John Hayden to the New Jersey Devils for John Quenneville
John Hayden never truly got a fair shake in Chicago. He was constantly in and out of the lineup and being healthy scratched for the likes of Chris Kunitz. Hayden was never going to be a top-six guy, but was still a solid bottom-six forward. Hayden played a hard-nosed game and always gave one hundred percent on the ice. Joel Quenneville’s cousin is realistically nothing more than an AHL player.
June 23 – Blackhawks select Kirby Dach 3rd overall in the 2019 NHL Draft
This was a selection that many did not see coming. Experts were slotting Dylan Cozens, Alex Turcotte or Bowen Byram into the Blackhawks slot at number three. However, Stan went against consensus and selected the big center in Dach. So far, Dach has transitioned nicely to the NHL. The statisitcs don’t pop off the page, but that will likely come. This grade can obviously change one way or the other once everything plays out, but for now it is looking good.
June 24 – Blackhawks acquire Calvin de Haan and Aleksi Saarela from the Carolina Hurricanes for Gustav Forsling and Anton Forsberg
On paper, this trade is sensational for the Blackhawks. The team had desperately needed a good defensive defenseman since Niklas Hjalmarsson was traded. That is what they got in Calvin de Haan. They also got him for virtually nothing. Gustav Forsling and Anton Forsberg were both free agents who the Hawks were not going to sign.
However, there is a reason the Hurricanes essentially gave de Haan away. The defenseman has had issues staying healthy in his career. He only played in 33 games in 2018. de Haan also injured his shoulder this season, just 29 games in and will miss the remainder of this season. If de Haan can stay healthy moving forward, this grade will be an A.
June 30 – Blackhawks acquire Andrew Shaw and a 7th-round pick for a 2nd, 3rd and 7th-round draft pick
Simply put, bringing Andrew Shaw back was a mistake and it was a mistake from the moment Stan Bowman did it. Shaw, like de Haan, has issues staying healthy. He too is now out for the season. Availability is the most important ability. Even when healthy, Shaw spends a lot of his time in the penalty box. The Blackhawks, who are going to have to work out some cap issues, are now on the hook for $3.9 million over the next two seasons with Shaw. Oh, and they lost important draft capital.
July 1 – Blackhawks sign Ryan Carpenter to a 3–year, $3 million contract
These are the type of moves good teams make. You find under the radar role players and lock them up for a small cap hit. That is what Stan Bowman did with Ryan Carpenter. Carpenter has been the driving force to stabilizing the Blackhawks fourth line, something they haven’t had since 2015. In 2019, the Blackhawks had the league’s worst penalty kill. In 2020, they have improved to 8th. Ryan Carpenter has a lot to do with that.
July 1 – Blackhawks sign Robin Lehner to a 1–year, $5 million contract
This grade doesn’t get into the A range only because Bowman didn’t lock Lehner up long-term. The signing itself was a good one, as Lehner performed exceptionally for the Blackhawks. If not for Lehner, who knows how bad the Blackhawks may have been this season.
July 9 – Blackhawks trade Henri Jokiharju to the Buffalo Sabres for Alex Nylander
Just when you thought Bowman was having a good off-season, he goes and does this. This trade simply put, was brutal. Henri Jokiharju was already showing signs of being a good defenseman with the Blackhawks. Alex Nylander on the other hand was showing signs of being a bust with the Sabres. Well, both of those things continued playing out this season. Jokiharju has been a great addition to the Sabres blue line, while Nylander spends a lot of his time being chewed out by Pat Foley on NBC Sports Chicago’s broadcast, or simply just a healthy scratch.
July 16 – Blackhawks trade Artem Anisimov to the Ottawa Senators for Zack Smith
This trade was essentially a cap related move. Both Smith and Anisimov are locked up through 2021. However, Smith’s cap-hit is $1.25 million cheaper than Anisimov’s is. They are also completely different players. Anisimov is an offensive center, while Smith is a defensive center who has helped improve the Blackhawks’ penalty kill.
February 24 – Blackhawks trade Erik Gustafsson to the Calgary Flames for a 3rd-round pick
Erik Gustafsson in his own zone is a horror film. However, he does have some upside in the offensive zone. So much in fact that he registered 60 points in 2019. Bowman should have traded him after the season. His value was never going to get higher. Had Bowman done this, he would have gotten more than a 3rd-round pick in return. However, he overvalued Gustafsson, waited too long to move him and paid the price for it.
February 24 – Blackhawks trade Robin Lehner to the Vegas Golden Knights for a 2nd-round pick, Malcom Subban and Slava Demin
Robin Lehner was great for the Blackhawks this season. So much so that the Blackhawks probably should have looked to extend his contract long-term. However, the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement and the Hawks sent him to Vegas. With several playoff teams needing a goaltender, the return for Lehner seemed awfully light.
FINAL GRADE: C-
Some trips down memory lane are less fun than others. This one wasn’t the best. Things have continued going further and further south since the 2015 Stanley Cup parade. Looking at all these moves shows how the Blackhawks have fallen. If the Blackhawks are going to return to prominence, changes need to be made. Those changes start with Stan Bowman being fired. There have been too many misses lately and the Blackhawks need a revamp.