Don’t Expect Much From Chicago Blackhawks In Free Agency

In a little over two years as general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, Stan Bowman has yet to give any sort of indication that he actually knows just what he’s doing.

While he can’t be blamed for the sale after the Stanley Cup win, the bad has outweighted the good with Bowman, with subtractions more common than solid additions. After Dale Tallon put together the Cup team, Bowman has been unable to put together a team that can make it out of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After selling a great chunk of the Stanley Cup roster, Bowman dealt another pair of pieces of that team last summer in Troy Brouwer and Brian Campbell, in a move that blew up in his face. The Hawks didn’t use the cap space that the trade opened up and both were sorely missed this season.

Since he has taken over, Bowman has made smaller, more cost effective moves in free agency and through trades. He attempted to replace Brouwer and Campbell with the likes of Andrew Brunette and Steve Montador, among other old veterans. That didn’t work.

As far as trades go, Bowman brought in Michael Frolik and Johnny Oduya in his two more notable moves. The trade that netted Frolik is now a wash as he awaits his ticket out of town and Oduya was re-signed to a three-year contract this offseason already, despite the Hawks needing to add size to the blue line.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with making smaller moves as opposed to the earth shattering ones that we see from a team like the Philadelphia Flyers. As long as they actually work. The Phoenix Coyotes make it work. Stan Bowman hasn’t quite been able to do that yet.

It’s his strategies so far that indicate this Hawks team may not look too different in 2012-2013. It’s not that the Hawks need a major overhaul, but Bowman doesn’t appear to see the needs that this team has. He views Patrick Kane as a second line center, at least publicly, and Daniel Carcillo as a top six forward.

While you could probably expect the Hawks to unload a couple of pieces, like Frolik and Niklas Hjalmarsson, don’t count on too much taking place this summer, despite the talk that may take place. That’s not to say moves won’t take place, they just won’t be in high supply.

And that’s fine, as long as Bowman takes a longer look at guys that can actually contribute at a high level, even if the price is a bit higher, and a shorter look at guys that are preparing to get their AARP card within the next couple of seasons. With the NHL Draft just a couple of days away, stay tuned.

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