Why the Chicago Blackhawks have no Hope for the Foreseeable Future

Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
Cale Makar #8, Colorado Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks
Cale Makar #8, Colorado Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup against the Philadelphia Flyers back in 2010, their first title since 1960-61, fans were able to say confidently, the dark times were over. Players like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith highlighted a core group of dominant, young skaters that would achieve a modern dynasty with three Stanley Cup titles in six years (2010-2015).

Looking back now, however, three rings fell short of the true potential the franchise had, and having a general manager, who was only there because of his name, shortened the lifespan of their dynasty. If there is one man to blame for it all, it’s Stan Bowman, the son of NHL legend Scott Bowman.

Abysmal trades, impotent drafting abilities, and dumbfounding habits are a few of the reasons why the Chicago Blackhawks have no hope for the foreseeable future.

Trading 1st-round draft picks for a bag of pucks proved to be detrimental in the years when the team needed to build on the fly (i.e., 2017-2020), as was the unreasonably hefty contract signings of veterans who were rewarded for what they used to do, rather than what they can do now.

Stan Bowman also wasn’t afraid to dish out promising young players for grizzled veterans that never filled the role Stan anticipated. Players like Teuvo Terravainen, Phillip Danault, Ryan Hartman, and Artemi Panarin are just a few of the players who Bowman let slip away.

As the signs of his mishaps became more apparent towards the late 2010s, the front office attempted to make some “drastic” changes when they failed to reach the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2015. In ways they didn’t expect, they did, in fact, cause drastic changes.

The most plaguing of them all was the aforementioned Artemi “Bread Man” Panarin trade to the Columbus Blue Jackets for goaltender Anton Forsberg and forward Brandon Saad, both of which currently play for different teams now. The most painful part of this trade was that they had just extended Panarin’s contract for another two years in the Windy City.

All of this is important because it set the crumbling foundation of the original six franchise for today. The final tribute from Stan the Man was his blockbuster move off of promising defenseman Adam Boqvist and a 1st-Round pick for Seth Jones and proceeded to extend his tenure with the team for 8 years with a cap hit of $9 million.

The Chicago Blackhawks now currently sit at 14th in the Western Conference with a 16-23-7 record, as their 1st-Rounder this year (currently belonging to the Blue Jackets) is slated with 5.8% odds to receive the 8th overall selection in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Though because this is a Top-2 Protected Pick, the only way the Hawks can retain this selection is if they’re awarded the number one or the two overall pick in the lottery draft. If they receive the 3rd overall choice, Columbus gets to reel in a stout prospect in a loaded draft class.

As it stands now, the Blackhawks genuinely have no hope for the 2021-22 NHL season or beyond as there isn’t a chance in France they reach the postseason. The only way they can salvage any redeeming feat this season is if they make some hefty splashes at the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday, March 21st. Rumors have it that the only “untouchables” on the roster are Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Seth Jones.

The grueling part about this is that it shows the Blackhawks are still stuck in their old ways, willing to keep the older, woefully expensive cast members over promising young talent (i.e., the willingness to move on from emerging star Alex DeBrincat). The fact of the matter is, we’re about to see the former, and the true, Chicago Blackhawks. A team that is historically one of the worst teams in NHL history.

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Until the organization completes a full purge of staff and players, there will never be a light at the end of this tunnel. While it surely didn’t last long enough, at least fans can say they witnessed the Hawks hoist the Stanley Cup in their lifetime. There’s no telling when they’ll do it again. For now, all they’re good for are Cale Makar highlights.