Blackhawks to enter next chapter of rebuilding this summer after trade deadline repositioned
GM Stan Bowman’s plan for the future of the Blackhawks will enter its second chapter this summer.
Since announcing the Hawks’ semi-rebuilding last fall, Bowman has regularly maneuvered them in the first chapter. The run-up to Monday’s trade deadline, in which Bowman executed six deals that converted consumable assets and salary cap space into more draft picks, prospects and NHL players with a potentially untapped potential, served as a highlight of this chapter.
The rookie draft, expansion draft and agency window free this offseason will start the next stage in style.
What has already become clear, however, is that Bowman is playing a numbers game with the rebuilding of the Hawks.
The team wasn’t – and probably won’t be – terrible enough to land another top-three pick in the draft (after losing center Kirby Dach in 2019). There isn’t a single player modifying the franchise along the way.
But the idea is that if the Hawks accumulate a large number of players who strength be good, then the number of them that turn out to be good will be enough to complete a young and deep, if not particularly star-laden, lineup.
And the first part of this process – accumulating the quantity – is almost complete.
There are few certainties on the 2021-2022 Hawks roster. Forwards Dach, Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat, defenders Connor Murphy and Adam Boqvist and goalkeeper Kevin Lankinen could be the only ones.
Nevertheless, there are a lot of players who strength be on the 2021-2022 list. As it stands, up to 22 forwards and nine defenders could enter training camp in September in hopes of gaining places in the roster.
Attackers: Kane, Dach, DeBrincat, Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Strome, Brandon Hagel, Philipp Kurashev, Pius Suter, Alex Nylander, Brett Connolly, Ryan Carpenter, Vinnie Hinostroza, David Kampf, Adam Gaudette, Mike Hardman, Lukas Reichel, Henrik Borgstrom, Jonathan Toews , Andrew Shaw, Reese Johnson, MacKenzie Entwistle and Evan Barratt.
Defenders: Murphy, Boqvist, Duncan Keith, Nikita Zadorov, Calvin de Haan, Ian Mitchell, Wyatt Kalynuk, Riley Stillman and Nicolas Beaudin.
Realistically, not all 31 of these players will exist in September.
The Hawks are sure to lose one to Seattle in the expansion draft. The availability of Toews and Shaw for next season is unknown. Hinostroza is a pending unrestricted free agent. Suter, Hagel, Nylander, Kampf, Gaudette, Borgstrom, Zadorov and Stillman will also need new contracts.
Zadorov, Kampf and Strome have been mentioned in business rumors. Keith may be approaching retirement age. And Reichel – the Hawks’ still unsigned 2020 first-round pick – could spend another season developing in Germany before heading to North America, although Bowman has said he wants him to come for the season. next.
But for all the names dropped from this list in the coming months, just as much could be added.
The Hawks have their first-round pick (which will be in the top 15 if they miss the playoffs), two second-round picks and eight overall picks in the next draft. They also only have about $ 48 million – up from the cap of $ 81 million – in salaries incurred for next season, so Bowman will have tons of ceiling space to play if he wants to.
Bowman said after the trade deadline that he expects a lot more movement to occur as he reallocates more assets.
âIt’s not like, ‘Now we’re all ready so we have our team for the current year and next year,â he said. âWe’re still at that early stage of building a squad … There might be other ins and outs. Some players who are here now might not be there as we go along, if we can turn them into something. even better or make it something we don’t have enough of.
Even if the names on the roster change, however, the number of players should stay the same, if not increase. It’s safe to say battles will be fierce for all 12 forwards and six defensive positions in the Hawks’ 2021-2022 opening night roster.
The result will be a team that probably still won’t fight for a title, but is likely to be better than teams from the last few seasons and certainly have a brighter future.
In fact, the entire Hawks’ organizational chart (up to 50 contracts) might be made up of just two types of players: NHL-caliber players and prospects with an NHL advantage. That’s because a lot of deadweight has been dropped over the past year and the last stragglers who don’t fit into either of the two categories – Zack Smith, Brandon Pirri, John Quenneville, Anton Lindholm and Josh Dickinson – will become agents. free this summer.
Once in this position, Bowman will be able to move from simply positioning and loading the Hawks’ ship to navigating past him along his charted route.