It’s been a tough calendar year for Chicago Blackhawks fans. After nine consecutive post-season appearances and four consecutive 100 point seasons, the Blackhawks failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2017-18 and put up a miserable 76 points. Ouch.
The loss of veteran Marian Hossa to a rare skin disorder hurt the club, as did general manager Stan Bowman’s decision to trade sniper Artemi Panarin to the Columbus Blue Jackets for former Jonathan Toews linemate Brandon Saad. Throw in a season ending injury to starting netminder Corey Crawford and you get the recipe for a disastrous season in the Windy City.
So… where does the team go from here? Hossa has confirmed that he won’t be coming back and the Hawks are too cash and cap strapped to make any real impactful offseason additions.
The good news is that the team will be picking in the top 10 at the NHL Entry Draft for the first time in 11 seasons and stand to net themselves a pretty good young player… that is, if they don’t trade away their selection.
In his latest column for The Athletic, Blackhawks insider Scott Powers cites a league source who states that the team is considering trading the 8th overall selection in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
The Blackhawks have told at least one team they’d be willing to trade their No. 8 pick in the “right situation,” a league source said Tuesday. It’s unknown what that “right situation” would be, but we can assume it would involve acquiring a notable NHL player.
Interesting. For what it’s worth, there were be some high level prospects available to the Hawks at 8th overall including US National Development Program sniper Oliver Wahlstrom, University of Michigan defenseman Quinn Hughes and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League superstar Joe Veleno. If the Hawks are willing to pass on a player like any of the above mentioned, it’ll take a valuable player coming back to the team in any trade.
Stockpiling picks and prospects isn’t a terrible strategy for the Hawks moving forward, but with both Patrick Kane and Jonathan in the prime of their respective careers, there’s an internal push to ice the best roster forward NOW and worry about the future later.
Was last season’s poor showing an aberration or has the Hawks Stanley Cup window closed entirely? That’s the decision that general manager Stan Bowman will be tasked with now and in the days leading up to the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Keep the pick or trade for a proven veteran? Decisions, decisions…