No matter how you look at things, the 2017-18 NHL season was an absolute disaster for the Chicago Blackhawks. After nine consecutive post-season appearances and four consecutive 100 point seasons, the Blackhawks failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season 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.
However, take a closer look at the Hawks’ 2017-18 season and you’ll find a few redeeming qualities. The emergence of rookie Alex DeBrincat and sophomore Nick Schmaltz is encouraging, as is the progression of the team’s other young players like Vinnie Hinostroza, John Hayden and Gustav Forsling. On a team full of veteran players it’s nice to see the youngsters stepping up to fill crucial roles. Maybe that’s why today’s report from Sportsnet reporter and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman is so surprising.
Friedman maintains that two young Hawks players, forwards Anthony Duclair and Tomas Jurco, are being shopped for trade by GM Bowman.
Others believed to be out there: Anthony Duclair and Tomas Jurco of Chicago; Minnesota’s Tyler Ennis.
Say what?! Didn’t the Hawks just go out of their way to acquire Duclair via trade?
Indeed, the 22 year old winger was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes in a January trade along with defenseman Adam Clendening for forwards Richard Panik and Laurent Dauphin. Duclair had reportedly requested a trade out of Arizona… just six months later and he may find himself traded once again. Duclair managed 11 goals and 23 points in 56 games split between the Coyotes and Blackhawks last season, a far cry from his career high of 20 goals and 44 points in 82 games during the 2015-16 season.
As for Jurco, the former Detroit Red Wings forward managed to play just 29 games with the Hawks this season, but was very effective with the team’s AHL affiliate Rockford IceHogs, scoring 13 goals and 25 points in 36 games.