Chicago Blackhawks Core Running Out Of Time

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DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: Nicolas Beaudin poses after being selected twenty-seventh overall by the Chicago Blackhawks during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The story of the Chicago Blackhawks core running out of time begins just four seasons ago when the Blackhawks won the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup. We are going to cover the remaining players from the 2015 Cup team and dig into general manager Stan Bowman‘s dismal draft record in the early rounds since 2010. His utter lack of success has failed to add new players that could have developed into a new, productive group for the team and could have helped them stay competitive.

What Went Wrong with the Chicago Blackhawks Core

The Blackhawks core won their third Stanley Cup in six seasons in 2015 and many of the Blackhawk faithful thought their success would never end. Fans believed that every Spring meant playoff hockey that continued into early June. Unfortunately for them, the team was allowed to deteriorate into one that has missed the playoffs in both of the last two seasons.

Here are the seven remaining players from the 2015 Cup winning team:

It does not take long to see the impact the two previous general managers had on this core group of players. Bowman took over as general manager in July 2009 and managed the gifted roster he inherited into three Stanley Cups. He deserves a good deal of credit for their success but there’s no denying the strong influence of Smith and Tallon.

Blackhawks Core Restocking Through The Draft

While the Blackhawks core was winning three Stanley Cups, Bowman should have been restocking the team’s depth charts with top-line prospects, ready to develop into future stars. Every successful team is able to replenish their prospects to assure they can continue winning year-after-year.

Unfortunately Bowman’s draft record since taking over in 2009 is atrocious. We are going to review all of Bowman’s first and second-round draft picks starting in 2010, up to 2016. The first two rounds are where teams expect to pick players that will blossom and join the NHL level in a few years.

We are also going to feature any players that were available when the Blackhawks drafted in both rounds to highlight any glaring misses by Bowman and his staff. This is certainly something to consider when reviewing the team’s decline since he took over. Pay close attention to 2011, it is a stunner.

1st and 2nd Round Blackhawks Draft History 2010-2016

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

  • First Round Pick traded to Arizona on 2/28/15 for Antoine Vermette.
  • Graham Knott LW (2nd) – Played for the Rockford Ice Hogs from 2018-present.
  • 2015 Round One Draft Misses – None
  • 2015 Round Two Draft Misses – Vince Dunn

2016

  • First Round Pick Traded to Winnipeg on 2/25/16 for Andrew Ladd, Jay Harrison, and Matt Fraser.
  • Alex DeBrincat RW (2nd) – Blackhawks 2017-present
  • Chad Krys D (2nd) – Played for Boston University from 2016-18, played 9 games for Ice Hogs last season
  • Artur Kayumov RW/LW (2nd) – Has played in KHL since 2016.
  • 2016 Round One Draft Misses – None
  • 2016 Round Two Draft Misses – None – DeBrincat is the King of Round Two

There you have seven NHL Drafts by Stan Bowman and his staff. The players who are still contributing for the team are Brandon Saad, Carl Dahlstrom, and second year phenom Alex DeBrincat. “The Cat” is by far the crown jewel of Bowman’s draft legacy. His 41 goals and 76 points last season were incredible and should set DeBrincat up as a future core player once his next contract is wrapped up.

Saad had a better season last year but needs to recover his scoring touch. Last season Saad scored 23 goals with 47 points which was an improvement over 2017-18 with 35 points. The team would certainly prefer his scoring 50+ points as he did in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17.

Dahlstrom struggled to stay in the Blackhawks lineup and rotated in and out of the lineup last season as a 5th or 6th defenceman. In his 38 games with the Blackhawks, he had only 6 assists total. He will need better production to crack a regular spot on the defence corps next season.

Last Word on Chicago Blackhawks Core Running Out Of Time

The Blackhawks current core will be asked to provide another strong season for the storied franchise in 2019-20. Kane and Toews are coming off career years and will be hungry for a return to the playoffs. Corey Crawford has one year left on his contract and will hopefully be able to stay healthy for the entire season. Keith and Seabrook had better seasons last year and will once again be asked to anchor the suspect defence corps as they develop.

Looking back at Bowman’s drafts it is a shame how bad the majority of his picks turned out or how they were traded away. This lack of success has led to the deterioration of the roster and lack of playoff appearances in the last two years. Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz appears ready to let Bowman continue as general manager. Which is incredible considering where this team was coming off their last Cup in 2015. Only time will tell how much longer Bowman gets the helm of this sinking ship. Based on his draft history it is already about seven drafts too much.

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1 COMMENT

  1. 100% disagree with this take. While Bowman has made some poor choices after he drafts these players, that doesn’t discredit the fact he drafted them and that some were instrumental in two Cup wins. The Hayes situation was a pretty tough one but he didn’t like that we traded away his brother and didn’t see an easy path to the NHL with the depth the Hawks had. Hawks probably sign him after his junior year if he didn’t get hurt.
    Only taking the first 2 rounds into consideration completely ignores the fact Bowman drafted Shaw, Hinostroza, and Nordstrom in later rounds along with guys like Hayden and Sikura who are still finding their way. Obviously that would have taken more time and there would be more “misses” as well but after the first 2 rounds those picks are long shots to even make the NHL.
    Speaking of long shots, there’s no mention of the steep drop in talent from where Bowman consistently drafted compared to where the almighty Tallon and Smith drafted. Those two had just as many egregious “misses” while selecting much earlier in the draft. There’s not much value in arguing the misses either as it’s easy to look back and say “how can you take Kyle Beach over Erik Karlsson??” There’s no guaranteeing any of those guys develop into the players they are with a different organization, that have different coaches, depth charts, and playing styles. The Bruins recently had 3 picks in a row in the first round and only one of those guys developed into a top 6 player (he’s the only one even in the NHL). It’s simply just not possible to develop every first round pick into a top 6 forward or top 4 dman.
    Fact is Bowman has turned 12 draft picks from 2010-2016 into consistent NHLers (11 if we take Hayden out) all while picking near the last ten picks and winning 3 Cups (I say 3 simply cause he still had the disadvantage of drafting late in 2010 because of that Cup win).
    While his trades have been hit or miss and his contract negotiation skills are… not good lol, the draft is one of the places he’s been respectable. And who knows what happens if the weak Canadian dollar didn’t lead to a stagnant salary cap. Things maybe could’ve ended up differently.

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