Don't expect the Chicago Blackhawks to pull off similar trade deadline moves to the ones they completed back in 2015, when they nab forward Antoine Vermette off the market, or in 2016 when they brought back former Hawk Andrew Ladd for a shorter playoff run.
“We’ve been in acquiring-mode for probably nine straight years,” Joel Quenneville said to the Chicago Sun Times.
Chicago is struggling just to battle for a playoff spot, sitting eight points out of the last Wild Card spot in the Western Conference with 56 points, behind the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks, also fighting for that ticket.
General manager Stan Bowman is not expected make any major move, although it has been reported that forward Brandon Saad could land on the block... again! But Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Times believes Bowman will try to recoup some draft picks, perhaps by shopping players such as Tommy Wingels, Michal Kempny, Erik Gustafsson or Tomas Jurco.
He does not expect that Saad will be moved, and believes he will be given another chance for the next season.
The focus is on the future.
“I don’t think we’re going to be a buyer this season,” Bowman said on the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast Thursday night.
"It’s a far cry from the dream-filled Februarys of recent vintage. But it’s the Hawks’ new reality. At least the Hawks seem to have accepted that fact, and that’s a good start to the long road back to being in the mix — in the playoffs, and at the deadline," writes Lazerus.
The end of an era to some Hawks fans maybe, but it is certainly the start of a new chapter in Chicago.