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Grading Every Major Transaction by Stan Bowman Since 2015

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.
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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.

2015

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

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GRADE: D+

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

Jun 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) hoists the Stanley Cup after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-225748 ORIG FILE ID:  20150615_jel_aw6_171.jpg

Jun 15, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) hoists the Stanley Cup after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-225748 ORIG FILE ID: 20150615_jel_aw6_171.jpg

GRADE: C

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

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 29: Brent Seabrook #7 of the Chicago Blackhawks reacts after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings to take the series in Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on May 29, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 29: Brent Seabrook #7 of the Chicago Blackhawks reacts after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings to take the series in Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on May 29, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

GRADE: F-

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

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GRADE: C-

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.

2016

January 3 - Blackhawks trade Jeremy Morin to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Richard Panik

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GRADE: A-

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

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GRADE: B-

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

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GRADE: N/A

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

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GRADE: F-

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

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GRADE: D

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

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GRADE:D-

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

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GRADE: A-

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

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GRADE: A+

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.