Chicago Blackhawks Problems Start With Stan Bowman

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CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is interviewed during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks problems are numerous this season. They have consistently played terrible in their own end in front of their goalies. They continue to allow numerous “Grade A” chances to their opponents each game. Their special teams have also been absolutely terrible all season. They have the third worst penalty kill at 73.5% and their power play is dead last at 12.5%. Their record now sits at 9-14-5. They are currently sixth in the Central Division ahead of only the St. Louis Blues. A week ago they were three points out of a wildcard spot, and now they are down seven points. Where did things go wrong for the storied franchise?

Blackhawks Problems Start With Stan Bowman

Stanley Cup Rewards

Blackhawks problems begin and end with the roster. While winning three Stanley Cups in six seasons General Manager Stan Bowman began giving out much deserved “Blackhawks for Life” contracts. These contracts all included non-movement clauses that hamper the franchise’s ability to make moves in later years. It’s a big part of doing business while chasing multiple Stanley Cups. The hope is that the team locks up their core players and rides them as long as they can and builds around them to be an elite team every year.

Successful franchises stay competitive every season by using long-term contracts for their core, selecting great draft picks, and then signing productive free agents when needed. A solid franchise will draft players that will learn what it takes to play in the NHL and then sign them to entry-level contracts that help keep the team under the salary cap every season. Good teams have a solid mix of players on entry-level contracts and veterans. This requires that a team choose wisely at the annual NHL draft and promote from within. Unfortunately for the Chicago Blackhawks Stan Bowman’s draft picks have been a major disappointment since he took over from Dale Tallon.

Listed below are the draft picks Stan Bowman made in the first or second round 2010-2017.

1st and 2nd Round Draft History 2010-2017

2010

  • Kevin Hayes RW (1st) – Unsigned by the Blackhawks Opted for New York Rangers 2014
  • Ludvig Rensfeldt LW (2nd) – Unsigned still playing in Sweden
  • Justin Holl D (2nd) – Played 66 games with the Indy Fuel (ECHL), 2 games with Rockford Ice Hogs (AHL).  Signed as a free agent by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016.

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

  • #1 no pick
  • Graham Knott LW (2nd) Rockford Ice Hogs 2018-present

2016

2017

As you can see Stan Bowman’s 1st and 2nd round draft history in the 2010-2014 years leaves a lot to be desired. The players drafted during 2010-14 should be contributing to an NHL team at this point in their careers. It’s not to say that all of Bowman’s picks aren’t contributing in the NHL, it’s just that they’re not doing it in Chicago. Kevin Hayes is playing for the Rangers, Phillip Danault is playing in Montreal, Ryan Hartman is playing in Nashville, and the biggest loss of all Teuvo Teravainen is having a great career in Carolina.

All of these successful picks were traded by Bowman to other teams to make the Blackhawks better. In return for these players, Bowman has zero assets still on the roster. The only exception would be Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini who Bowman recently acquired in the Nick Schmaltz trade. After trading Nick “our center of the future” Schmaltz, Bowman characterized these two players as “needing a fresh start” to flourish. That sounds eerily familiar to the description of the acquisition of Anthony Duclair last season. Bowman also said Duclair needed a “fresh start” then chose not to offer him a restricted free agent contract after the season. Only time will tell if Strome and Perlini turn out well for a team desperate for immediate success.

Bowman’s Draft Record

Sadly, the only 2010-2014 1st round pick to still be with the team is Brandon Saad and he had to be reacquired from Columbus. Other than Saad, there are several prospects that were drafted as a result of the Bowman trades. Whether these prospects ever turn out to be NHL calibre players is yet to be determined. The Blackhawk faithful would love another one or two Alex DeBrincat type players to develop as quickly as possible. Patience is wearing thin as the Blackhawks decline into irrelevance continues this season.

After firing coach Joel Quenneville the fingers are about to be pointing up at Bowman. His draft record is a major part of the franchise’s recent decline. His trades and off-season moves are also to blame for the Blackhawks struggles to compete night in and night out. Luckily for Bowman, he has his father in his corner to help cover while he tries to correct the team’s fortunes. If things do not improve soon, even the great Scotty Bowman will not be enough to save Bowman’s job.
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10 COMMENTS

  1. I always said Talon built the basis for the championship teams and then the building stopped.
    They should have a ring somewhere for Talon

    • I don’t agree with that.

      The team was blown up due to the cap issues after the first Stanley Cup and it was Bowman who made that series of trades, which helped them to two more cups. I don’t think you can credit Tallon as the sole builder of all three teams.

      The Blackhawks are in rebuild mode now, but that’s only natural after having been in the top of the NHL for nearly a decade. I don’t think removing Bowman is the answer.

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