The Chicago Blackhawks have been pretty busy since the offseason started. They dumped Bryan Bickell‘s obnoxious salary cap hit in a two player trade with Teuvo Teravainen and traded versatile agitator Andrew Shaw to the Montreal Canadiens.
Many fans cringed as they got the news that Teravainen and Shaw were dealt away. Seeing loved players go hurt, but eventually helped out the team in some areas. It gave room to the signings of defenseman Michal Kempny, Brian Campbell, Michal Rozsival, as well as forwards Richard Panik, Brandon Mashinter, and Jordin Tootoo.
It seems as if there’s a theme among what the Blackhawks front office is working with. After last season’s defensive crumble, they’ve reinforced the blueline with the signings of KHL star Kempny and former Blackhawk Campbell, who was rumored to have been offered $5 million to return to the Florida Panthers, but was eager to play in Chicago, returning home $2 million for one year. However, despite all these changes, the Blackhawks still have work to do.
Chicago Blackhawks Still Have Work To Do
— Brian Campbell (@bcampbell_51) July 1, 2016
After seeing the defensive improvements it was clearly visible that the Hawks offense was not looking as great as it once was. They gave away two prominent forwards and weren’t able to resign top free agents Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise, and Tomas Fleischmann.
While depleted and broken down, Chicago General Manager Stan Bowman looked for a key piece that can help out in certain areas. That player was Jordin Tootoo, who isn’t an elite forward but is however a veteran who can add some depth to a third or fourth line. He’s going to add some assistance down the lineup considering the bottom-six will consist of young forwards.
One thing that will get the Blackhawks in trouble is if they think they can compete at an elite level with the roster they have. The Central Division has improved tremendously, while Chicago been downgrading. If they’re to try and give it another run at the Stanley Cup they have to find at least one or two forwards who can get the job done when relied upon. Relying on rookies and young players like Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman, and Dennis Rasmussen will not work the way they are dreaming it will.
We’ve seen the Blackhawks go and capture forwards like Kris Versteeg, who is still a possibility, who have been able to find a place wherever it is down the lineup and compete at a high level. There’s plenty of players to look at who can fill in different roles on a team, but the Blackhawks love to go back to familiar players.
It’ll be interesting to see what Bowman has in mind, but staying content with this current roster isn’t acceptable for the team’s future. Their championship pedigree is in jeopardy and Bowman’s genius mind is being tested once again. The Blackhawks certainly still have work to do.