The story of the Chicago Blackhawks core running out of time begins just four seasons ago when the Blackhawks won the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup. We are going to cover the remaining players from the 2015 Cup team and dig into general manager Stan Bowman‘s dismal draft record in the early rounds since 2010. His utter lack of success has failed to add new players that could have developed into a new, productive group for the team and could have helped them stay competitive.
What Went Wrong with the Chicago Blackhawks Core
The Blackhawks core won their third Stanley Cup in six seasons in 2015 and many of the Blackhawk faithful thought their success would never end. Fans believed that every Spring meant playoff hockey that continued into early June. Unfortunately for them, the team was allowed to deteriorate into one that has missed the playoffs in both of the last two seasons.
Here are the seven remaining players from the 2015 Cup winning team:
- Jonathan Toews – Drafted in 2006 by Dale Tallon
- Patrick Kane – Drafted in 2007 by Dale Tallon
- Duncan Keith – Drafted in 2002 by Mike Smith
- Brent Seabrook – Drafted in 2003 by Mike Smith
- Brandon Saad – Drafted in 2011 by Stan Bowman
- Corey Crawford – Drafted in 2003 by Mike Smith
- Marcus Kruger – Drafted in 2009 by Dale Tallon (current unrestricted free agent)
It does not take long to see the impact the two previous general managers had on this core group of players. Bowman took over as general manager in July 2009 and managed the gifted roster he inherited into three Stanley Cups. He deserves a good deal of credit for their success but there’s no denying the strong influence of Smith and Tallon.
Blackhawks Core Restocking Through The Draft
While the Blackhawks core was winning three Stanley Cups, Bowman should have been restocking the team’s depth charts with top-line prospects, ready to develop into future stars. Every successful team is able to replenish their prospects to assure they can continue winning year-after-year.
Unfortunately Bowman’s draft record since taking over in 2009 is atrocious. We are going to review all of Bowman’s first and second-round draft picks starting in 2010, up to 2016. The first two rounds are where teams expect to pick players that will blossom and join the NHL level in a few years.
We are also going to feature any players that were available when the Blackhawks drafted in both rounds to highlight any glaring misses by Bowman and his staff. This is certainly something to consider when reviewing the team’s decline since he took over. Pay close attention to 2011, it is a stunner.
1st and 2nd Round Blackhawks Draft History 2010-2016
- Kevin Hayes RW (1st) – Unsigned by the Blackhawks Opted for New York Rangers 2014, then traded to Winnipeg Jets 2018-19
- Ludvig Rensfeldt LW (2nd) – Unsigned, playing in Sweden
- Justin Holl D (2nd) – Played 66 games with the Indy Fuel (ECHL), 2 games with Rockford Ice Hogs (AHL). Signed as a free agent by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016.
- Kent Simpson G (2nd) – Career AHL player with one game with the Blackhawks
- Stephen Johns D (2nd) – Traded to the Dallas Stars in 2015 Injured reserve entire 2018-19
- 2010 Round One Draft Misses – Evgeny Kuznetsov, Charlie Coyle, Brock Nelson
- 2010 Round Two Draft Misses – Justin Faulk, Devante Smith-Pelly, Tyler Toffoli, Jason Zucker
- Mark McNeill C (1st) – Played for the Rockford Ice Hogs (AHL) from 2011-17. Traded to Dallas 2017 for Johnny Oduya who is now gone
- Phillip Danault LW (1st) – Played for the Rockford Ice Hogs from 2012-16. Traded to Montreal Canadiens for Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise in 2016. Both of these “Cup rentals” are now gone.
- Adam Clendening D (2nd) – Played for Chicago, Rockford, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Edmonton, Rangers, Arizona, and now with the Columbus Blue Jackets
- Brandon Saad LW (2nd) – Played for the Blackhawks from 2011-15. Was traded to Columbus Blue Jackets in 2015, reacquired from Columbus in 2017 for Artemi Panarin.
- 2011 Round One Draft Misses – Vladislav Namestnikov, Rickard Rakell
- 2012 Round Two Draft Misses – Boone Jenner, Markus Granlund, William Karlsson, and the mother-of-all-misses Nikita Kucherov
- Teuvo Teravainen LW (1st) – Played with Blackhawks 2013-16, traded to Carolina Hurricanes for 2nd round pick used to select Artur Kayumov in 2016
- Dillon Fournier D (2nd) – Played for the Rockford Ice Hogs and Indy Fuel 2014-17 Now retired from hockey
- 2012 Round One Draft Misses – Tanner Pearson
- 2012 Round Two Draft Misses – Colton Sissons, Chris Tierney, Jordan Martinook
- Ryan Hartman RW (1st) – Played for the Rockford Ice Hogs and Blackhawks between 2013-18, traded to Nashville Predators for Victor Ejdsell and 2018 draft picks that became Nicolas Beaudin and Philipp Kurashev
- Carl Dahlstrom D (2nd) – Played for Rockford Ice Hogs from 2014-present, has played 38 games with the Blackhawks in 2018-19, 49 since being drafted.
- 2013 Round One Draft Misses – None – Hartman was drafted last at 30th
- 2013 Round Two Draft Misses – Artturi Lehkonen, Tyler Bertuzzi
- Nick Schmaltz C (1st) – Blackhawks 2016-18, traded to Arizona Coyotes on 11/25/18 for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini
- Second Round pick traded to Arizona Coyotes for Mathieu Brisebois and David Rundblad
- 2014 Round One Draft Misses – David Pastrnak
- 2014 Round Two Draft Misses – None but who could forget how happy Bowman was when he traded for Rundblad? The man-crush was unbearable until coach Joel Quenneville wouldn’t play him due to the defensive liability. Rundblad became completely obsolete only two years later.
- First Round Pick traded to Arizona on 2/28/15 for Antoine Vermette.
- Graham Knott LW (2nd) – Played for the Rockford Ice Hogs from 2018-present.
- 2015 Round One Draft Misses – None
- 2015 Round Two Draft Misses – Vince Dunn
- First Round Pick Traded to Winnipeg on 2/25/16 for Andrew Ladd, Jay Harrison, and Matt Fraser.
- Alex DeBrincat RW (2nd) – Blackhawks 2017-present
- Chad Krys D (2nd) – Played for Boston University from 2016-18, played 9 games for Ice Hogs last season
- Artur Kayumov RW/LW (2nd) – Has played in KHL since 2016.
- 2016 Round One Draft Misses – None
- 2016 Round Two Draft Misses – None – DeBrincat is the King of Round Two
There you have seven NHL Drafts by Stan Bowman and his staff. The players who are still contributing for the team are Brandon Saad, Carl Dahlstrom, and second year phenom Alex DeBrincat. “The Cat” is by far the crown jewel of Bowman’s draft legacy. His 41 goals and 76 points last season were incredible and should set DeBrincat up as a future core player once his next contract is wrapped up.
Saad had a better season last year but needs to recover his scoring touch. Last season Saad scored 23 goals with 47 points which was an improvement over 2017-18 with 35 points. The team would certainly prefer his scoring 50+ points as he did in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17.
Dahlstrom struggled to stay in the Blackhawks lineup and rotated in and out of the lineup last season as a 5th or 6th defenceman. In his 38 games with the Blackhawks, he had only 6 assists total. He will need better production to crack a regular spot on the defence corps next season.
Last Word on Chicago Blackhawks Core Running Out Of Time
The Blackhawks current core will be asked to provide another strong season for the storied franchise in 2019-20. Kane and Toews are coming off career years and will be hungry for a return to the playoffs. Corey Crawford has one year left on his contract and will hopefully be able to stay healthy for the entire season. Keith and Seabrook had better seasons last year and will once again be asked to anchor the suspect defence corps as they develop.
Looking back at Bowman’s drafts it is a shame how bad the majority of his picks turned out or how they were traded away. This lack of success has led to the deterioration of the roster and lack of playoff appearances in the last two years. Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz appears ready to let Bowman continue as general manager. Which is incredible considering where this team was coming off their last Cup in 2015. Only time will tell how much longer Bowman gets the helm of this sinking ship. Based on his draft history it is already about seven drafts too much.