The Chicago Blackhawks Draft History since Stan Bowman took over as general manager in 2009 is being examined today. The team has not had a playoff series win since 2015 and has missed the playoffs the last two seasons. Bowman’s lack of draft success since 2009 has contributed to the team’s recent struggles since their last Stanley Cup in 2015. His roster moves since 2015 also have been suspect and leave a lot to be desired. We are going to look at the Blackhawks’ current roster and examine the effect of the previous NHL Drafts in building the team 2010-present.
Blackhawks Draft History Under Stan Bowman
Successful teams in the NHL have a steady stream of talent that they draft year after year. Every draft brings new prospects that hopefully contribute at the NHL level after two to three years in the minors, juniors, or college. Not every draft class produces NHL calibre players, especially those prospects taken after the third round. Those prospects are longshots that generally do not pan out in the NHL, but they may have a successful career in the AHL, in Europe, or the KHL. Every team hopes they find gems in rounds four through seven, but it is very rare.
Drafts And The Current Roster
Today we are presenting the current 2019-20 Blackhawks roster up for review. It, unfortunately, confirms the team’s inability to draft well since 2009. There have been 10 NHL Drafts under Stan Bowman so it would be reasonable to assume that many of the current Blackhawks were drafted by him and his staff. Unfortunately, the current roster does not reflect many of his prospects being able to make the jump to the NHL level.
Here are the current Blackhawks forwards and how they came to the team. We will cover when they were drafted, which general manager or team drafted them, and also if they were acquired in a trade.
- Jonathan Toews – 2006 drafted by Dale Tallon
- Patrick Kane – 2007 drafted by Dale Tallon
- Brandon Saad – 2011 drafted by Stan Bowman
- Andrew Shaw – 2011 drafted by Stan Bowman
- Alex DeBrincat – 2016 drafted by Stan Bowman
- Kirby Dach – 2019 drafted by Stan Bowman
- Zack Smith – 2008 drafted by Ottawa Senators – Acquired 6/19/19 from Ottawa for Artem Anisimov
- Drake Caggiula – Undrafted – Signed by Edmonton Oilers Acquired w/Jason Garrison for Brandon Manning & Robin Norell
- Ryan Carpenter – Undrafted – Signed by San Jose Sharks in 2014 then signed as F/A by Blackhawks June 2019
- David Kampf– Undrafted then signed by Blackhawks in 2017
- Dominik Kubalik – 2013 drafted by the Los Angeles Kings. Acquired 1/24/19 from Kings for Arizona Coyote’s 2019 fifth-round pick
- Alexander Nylander – 2016 drafted by Buffalo Sabres. Acquired 7/9/19 from Buffalo for Henri Jokiharju
- Dylan Strome – 2015 drafted by Arizona Coyotes. Acquired 11/25/18 with Brendan Perlini for Nick Schmaltz
Forwards Broken Down
The 2019-20 Blackhawks are made up mostly of players acquired by trade (5), free agent signings (2), and draft picks by previous general manager Tallon (2). Out of the 13 forwards, four of them were drafted by Bowman. Of those four, Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw were reacquired through trades after being dealt away as part of past salary cap constraints. That leaves two forwards, Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat, who are Bowman’s sole picks currently on the roster.
Overall, Bowman and his staff have drafted 21 forwards in rounds one-through-three since 2010. Of those 21, only Saad, Dach, and “The Cat” are contributing to the current roster. Andrew Shaw was a fifth-round pick back in 2011 and is the only late-round success story playing currently. There are 24 other forwards besides Shaw drafted since 2010 in rounds four through seven, none of which have made an impact with the current Blackhawks team. As stated earlier, rounds four and beyond in the NHL Draft rarely make it to the NHL.
We are breaking down the current defence corps of the Blackhawks. This section will examine the Blackhawks draft history and its effect on the current defence squad. We will cover when they were drafted, which general manager or team drafted them, and also if they were acquired in a trade.
- Duncan Keith – 2002 drafted by Mike Smith
- Brent Seabrook – 2003 drafted by Mike Smith
- Calvin de Haan – 2009 drafted by New York Islanders Acquired 6/24/19 with Aleksi Saarela for Anton Forsberg and Gustav Forsling
- Olli Maatta – 2012 drafted by Pittsburgh Penguins Acquired 6/15/19 from Pittsburgh for Dominik Kahun and 2019 fifth-round pick from Arizona
- Erik Gustafsson – 2012 drafted by Edmonton Oilers (Unsigned) Signed by Blackhawks 5/16/15
- Slater Koekkoek – 2012 drafted by Tampa Bay Lightning Acquired with 2019 fifth-round pick for Jan Rutta and 2019 seventh-round pick
- Connor Murphy – 2011 drafted by Arizona Coyotes Acquired 6/23/17 with Laurent Dauphin for Niklas Hjalmarsson
- Adam Boqvist – 2018 drafted by Stan Bowman
Defence Broken Down
The lack of success in drafting defence prospects since 2010 is very obvious. Boqvist is the only defence prospect drafted playing currently on the Blackhawks. And he was just drafted in 2018. That reflects eight NHL Drafts under Bowman and his staff 2010-17 that have produced zero defencemen contributing to the current team.
Overall, the Blackhawks have drafted 14 defencemen in rounds one through three since 2010. There are 16 other defencemen drafted in rounds four through seven 2010-present. All together that makes 30 defence prospects drafted with only Boqvist contributing. There are five defence prospects drafted by Bowman and his staff currently playing for the Rockford Ice Hogs. There is hope that one or more of them can make it to the NHL like Boqvist.
Blackhawks Draft History Wrap Up
Comparing the Blackhawks roster to the last two finalists for the Stanley Cup is also revealing. The St. Lous Blues and Boston Bruins each have seven forwards and four defencemen they drafted playing on the team. This shows that successful drafts bring successful teams. This is also certainly a huge part of staying competitive in the NHL.
Since the Cup in 2010, the team has dealt with salary cap issues and lower draft picks in each round due to their success. These have also contributed to the less than stellar rosters since 2015. Bowman deserves a lot of credit for managing the team during the three Stanley Cup-winning seasons. However, the facts of the team’s poor draft history are certainly evident above. Plain and simple, this team has not had success in drafting NHL calibre players.
We can blame the scouting department and their efforts to find good players or maybe just call it bad luck. In reality, the general manager is ultimately responsible for every aspect of the team including the dismal draft record. At some point, the Blackhawks will have to take a deep look at the direction of the franchise and make a change if improvement doesn’t come soon.