Chicago Blackhawks: Is This Summer Make Or Break For Stan Bowman?

By Randy Holt

Last summer, the Chicago Blackhawks were among the more active teams as far as transactions go. They cut loose three more members of the Stanley Cup team and replaced them with older, more financially savvy options.

The moves were lauded as quality, as the Hawks added the veteran presence and sandpaper necessary for a deep playoff run. However, those moves made little difference, as the Hawks were bounced in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive year.

Andrew Brunette did the dirty work around the net, but was too slow to be effective, particularly against the Phoenix Coyotes. Jamal Mayers was a pleasant addition, but he didn’t play much against Phoenix. He’s a guy that could return. On the blue line, Sean O’Donnell proved useless for most of the year, while Steve Montador couldn’t do much in the second half of the season, because of injury.

What the Hawks’ busy summer adds up to is a whole ‘lotta nothing. The only two signings guaranteed to return are Dan Carcillo and Ray Emery, who both signed extensions. As long as Carcillo stays in a bottom six role, having those two around next isn’t a bad thing.

It’s hard for me to get on Stan Bowman because of his inactivity at the trade deadline. Acquiring Johnny Oduya proved to be a great pickup, in the regular season, and there wasn’t much action out there at all.

Since Bowman took over, though, there hasn’t been too much to cheer about. I can understand having to cut and trade players after the salary cap situation in 2009-2010, but between last summer, and the four-year deal that he handed Niklas Hjalmarsson, after the San Jose Sharks signed him to an offer sheet, I wonder if Stan Bowman is the man for the job.

Turns out, letting go of both Troy Brouwer and Brian Campbell was a tremendous mistake. Both were dealt so save some money last summer, opening up some cap space that the team didn’t even actually use. Campbell has become the no. 1 defenseman for the Florida Panthers, while Brouwer, who the team didn’t even talk to last summer, has thrived with the Washington Capitals.

Thanks to his last name, Stan Bowman might not be on the hot seat yet. But he’s going to need a strong summer to prevent his seat from warming up. He’ll need to trim some of the dead weight (Hjalmarsson) off of this roster and actually address the glaring weaknesses (center, defense) that have plagued this team the past couple of years.


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