When the dust settled on the NHL trade deadline, the St. Louis Blues had added Ryan Miller, the Los Angeles Kings had traded for Marian Gaborik and a slew of other Stanley Cup contenders had acquired players to make their rosters decidedly better than they were.
The Chicago Blackhawks, meanwhile, chose to stand pat. The earth-shattering acquisition of David Rundblad aside, at face value it doesn’t seem like maintaining the roster as-is was necessarily the best decision for a team that hasn’t measured up to the championship-winning iteration of last year.
Still, looking at things on the surface alone can be deceiving, and this is a perfect example of that. Adding big names at the deadline disappoints far more often than it genuinely helps (let us not forget last season’s “deadline champion” Pittsburgh Penguins). Chicago is perfectly capable of winning a Cup in 2013-14 with the roster as it stands, and it was sensible to not mortgage the future simply for a slight improvement in short-term odds.
Teuvo Teravainen, the Blackhawks’ most valuable asset not already playing in the NHL, would likely have to have been part of any deal for Ryan Kesler, the player who best fit Chicago’s present needs. Kesler carries a hefty cap hit, one which the Blackhawks would have been ill-suited to afford in the coming seasons in light of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad all being due up for extensions in the near future. Teravainen projects to be a high-quality player, and he will come cheap for the first several years while still on his entry level deal. It is precisely this type of player that allows a team’s championship window to remain open for longer than a mere handful of years, and Stan Bowman and company were quite right to think of the bigger picture.
Chicago does not need a big name or even necessarily any outside help at all. There are plenty of reasonable solutions to the second line center problem that are already in-house (although somebody needs to inform Joel Quenneville that Michal Handzus is not one of them). They will once again contend for a championship this postseason and will be in that conversation for perhaps the next decade.
Selling out for a big name at the deadline despite not truly needing one puts that in serious jeopardy. Bowman did the right thing.
Now that the NHL’s trade deadline has passed, we know exactly who will be in uniform for Chicago come playoff time. If you’re looking to attend either a regular season or playoff game you can find Blackhawks tickets here.