Look, I’m not a huge Stan Bowman guy. That’s been pretty well documented. His decision to fire Joel Quenneville was something I did not agree with. In fact, I thought the way they did it was the issue more than anything.
Let’s try and move past that for a second.
With Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, there are no excuses for not making the postseason and wasting valuable seasons in their career. If 2019 taught us anything, it was that Kane and Toews are hungry – maybe now more than ever. They realize they have 2-3 really good, productive years left and they need to maximize it.
For some reason, Stan Bowman hasn’t always got that message.
Sure, he has made moves that could very well set up the Hawks for a few runs once Kane and Toews are near the end of their careers, but that doesn’t give him a pass for wasting some of the best and most valuable years of their career.
This offseason is a big one for Bowman, who started it off by trading for Olli Maatta, who was benched in the playoffs and often a healthy scratch during last season. Bowman also made the unpopular selection of Kirby Dach with the No. 3 overall pick in the NHL Draft with both Bowen Byram and Alex Turcotte still on the board.
There is no way the Blackhawks can miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season and Bowman can still keep his job. He has to find a way to build a playoff roster for the sake of Kane and Toews. Hockey is weird…in a good way. You just have to get in.
Ask the 2012 Kings or this year’s St. Louis Blues, who were in last place in January. When the playoffs come around special players like Kane and Toews can make things happen and even win a series for a team.
The problem has been getting to the dance for the Hawks.
With free agency around the corner, Bowman made a nice trade of Monday night.
The #Blackhawks have acquired defenseman Calvin de Haan and forward Aleksi Saarela from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for goaltender Anton Forsberg and defenseman Gustav Forsling.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) June 24, 2019
That’s a nice little trade for the Hawks, who’s d-unit doesn’t look that bad anymore. In fact, it may not be bad at all. There is some depth there, and probably a logjam, but depth as well. Bowman is doing what he can to repair the defense without spending too much money and blocking the young guys, who are still 1-2 years away.
Definitely a tough task for a GM.
Here’s a good Tweet that gives you an idea of what Bowman has done recently.
#Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman’s most notable acquisitions in the last seven months:
— Dylan Strome
— Brendan Perlini
— Drake Caggiula
— Olli Maatta
— Calvin de Haan
For? Nick Schmaltz, Brandon Manning, Dominik Kahun and two RFAs (Forsberg and Forsling).
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) June 25, 2019
I don’t want this to go to Stan’s head, but he’s on a hot streak for sure. Is it time to give him credit though?
Free agency kicks-off soon and no one knows what the Hawks are thinking or going to do. Their playing things pretty close to the chest, which is fine, but also nerve-racking. There is still a lot of work to be done, but let’s give Stan a pat on the back… for now.
Quick Breakdown of the Calvin de Haan Trade
Parting ways with Forsberg and Forsling wasn’t basically nothing to give up an NHL caliber defensemen. I’m cool with that. De Haan is a solid D-man, who does the little things well. He moves the puck, blocks shots and doesn’t offer very much offensively.
Wow, sounds like another player I know.
Bad Nick, this wasn’t supposed to be a negative blog about Stan Bowman.
Anyway, de Haan is a nice addition that pushes Maatta back to the fourth-pairing. It’s a solid upgrade for the Hawks.
Crowded Blue Line
It appears the Hawks are far from making moves…even on defense. There are now a lot of bodies, which is creating somewhat of a logjam for the young guys that will eventually be in Chicago. Here is what the unit looks like right now.
Keith, Seabrook, Gustafsson, Murphy, Jokiharju, Maatta, de Haan, Dahlstrom, Koekkoek.
Two players stick out to me and that’s Seabrook and Gustafsson.
The Hawks will probably never be able to move on from Seabrook because of his no-trade clause, but Barstool Chief mentioned the possibility of a buyout, which could make sense for both parties.
BREAKING: Blackhawks Trade For Calvin De Haan, And Suddenly The Blueline Is Decent? https://t.co/RR0ODjmxlz
— Chief (@BarstoolChief) June 25, 2019
The player more likely to be moved is Gustafsson, who’s value will probably never be higher than it is right now.
Free Agent Targets
As I mentioned above no one really knows what the Hawks are doing in terms of free agency. With that being said some early targets appear to be Joe Pavelski (if San Jose decides to part ways), Anders Lee and Corey Perry.
Lee makes the most sense, though, Perry would be intriguing on a shorter, vet-minimum deal.
Time will tell what the Blackhawks do.
Nick is the editor-in-chief at TheLoopSports.com & owner of TheChalkTLS.com. He is also a fantasy sports junkie, sports bettor, and Bears/Football fanatic. For more fun, follow him on Twitter @PetroTLS.