The Chicago Blackhawks were a team to be reckoned with for the better part of a decade. Only four players remain from the team that won the first modern era Stanley Cup in 2010. This core and the team that won the Cup were put together by Dale Tallon who served as the general manager of the Blackhawks from 2004-2009. When Tallon failed to submit qualifying offers to RFAs on time in 2009, he was demoted to assistant GM. Replacing him was Stan Bowman, who has since remained the GM of the Blackhawks.
After the 2010 win, Bowman had some tough decisions to make in the offseason since many players’ contracts were up and the cap was getting tight. He managed to put together almost an entirely new team alongside the core to win the Cup again in 2013. Many praise Bowman for building three different teams that won the Stanley Cup, but many criticize his moves and believe Tallon’s creation of the core is what’s allowed the team to be as successful as it has.
The Blackhawks have fallen to the bottom of the league for the second year in a row. A month into the season, management fired coach Joel Quenneville, who was the longest tenured coach at the time and who coached all three Stanley Cup wins for the Blackhawks.
Fans were in an uproar at the news since many were convinced the problems the Blackhawks faced were due to Bowman’s inefficiencies. The team’s lack of strong defense, backup goal-tending, and forward depth falls on Bowman’s shoulders.
In an effort to determine Bowman’s success, we decided to take a look at all of his trades since his promotion to GM in 2009. We will look at each trade and determine if it benefited the Blackhawks overall.
This obviously doesn’t take into account Bowman’s work signing UFAs, re-signing RFAs, and drafting/scouting, but it highlights a bigger, riskier part of his job. Additionally, the overall rating of whether the trade was good or bad for the team can be subjective when looking back on it years later. It’s very possible that some of the “bust” players were impactful given their limited time with the team, but it’s hard to determine this, years removed from the situation. It is also difficult to judge what Bowman’s intentions were for some trades, whether he was just looking to offload contracts or trading for the sake of a change. Lastly, it’s impossible to tell if the same player would have been drafted by Bowman had he kept a pick that he ended up trading. So, keeping all of this in mind, here’s a list of every single trade Bowman made in his time with the Blackhawks and its result.
Here’s a snippet of the list in the link above:
September 6, 2009
|To Chicago Blackhawks||To Toronto Maple Leafs||
Good – Saad was a key player in the 2015 Cup win. Paliotta played only one game with the Blackhawks. Knight never played in the NHL.
|2nd (Brandon Saad – 49th) and 3rd-round (Michael Paliotta – 70th) pick in 2011||2nd-round pick in 2010 (traded to Boston – Jared Knight – 32nd)|
October 7, 2009
|To Chicago Blackhawks||To Calgary Flames||
Neutral – neither player had an impact on their team.
|Kyle Greentree||Aaron Johnson|
February 12, 2010
|To Chicago Blackhawks||To Minnesota Wild||
Good – Nick Leddy was an asset for the Blackhawks, Johnsson and Barker had no impact on the team.
|Kim Johnsson||Cam Barker|
March 1, 2010
|To Chicago Blackhawks||To St. Louis Blues||
Neutral – none of the players had an impact on their teams.
|Hannu Toivonen||Joe Fallon|
March 2, 2010
|To Chicago Blackhawks||To Anaheim Ducks||
Good – while Boynton didn’t provide a lot for the team, he did score points. He was traded for essentially nothing.
|Nick Boynton||Future Considerations|
March 24, 2010
|To Chicago Blackhawks||To Atlanta Thrashers||
Bad – Blackhawks gave up a strong defensemen and in return received players who didn’t add much to the team. The 1st round pick turned into Hayes who elected to play in college all four years which caused Blackhawks to lose his rights. 2nd round pick, Holl, didn’t make it far in the NHL.
|Marty Reasoner||Dustin Byfuglien|
|Joey Crabb||Ben Eager|
|Jeremy Morin||Brent Sopel|
|1st-round pick (Kevin Hayes – 24th) in 2010||Akim Aliu|
|2nd-round pick (Justin Holl – 54th) in 2010|
Out of the 88 trades Bowman made since his time as a GM for the Blackhawks, 21 of them are qualified as good, 21 are bad, and 46 are neutral. Therefore, one could argue Bowman’s made an equal amount of good and bad trades. However, when looking at all the trades made after the 2014-2015 season that ended with a Stanley Cup win, 12 of the trades were bad, five were good, and 20 were neutral. Bowman’s been trending downward since the Blackhawks’ last Cup win when it comes to trades.
In the end, he’s had to reshape the team year after year against the cap and managed to shape them into contenders for nine years. The results of Bowman’s trades don’t take much away from his work, but it does beg the question: is it time the Blackhawks part ways with him? Given the trajectory of the current season for the team, it might be practical to end the relationship sooner rather than later.