It was a year ago at the 2021 NHL Draft that the Chicago Blackhawks, then under the management of Stan Bowman, decided to trade their 2021 12th overall pick, a 2022 first-round pick, a second-round pick and Adam Boqvist to Columbus in exchange for defensemen Seth Jones.
Then on the first day available, Seth Jones signed a massive eight-year extension with an annual cap hit of 9.5 million a season. Jones was supposed to be a part of a great core in Chicago that looked ready to contend.
They had stars like Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat, they had guys like Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach, and Brandon Hagel, as well as some other newcomers like Tyler Johnson and Marc-Andre Fleury. Now not even a year later Jones is faced with being a part of another rebuild, another long stay with a struggling team that might not turn the corner until he is 32 or 33.
While this definitely was not on Jones’s mind when signed the contract, it definitely was a possibility as who knew how the Hawks would play. Even though the team looked good on paper, a ridiculously long losing streak at the start of the season would stop the Hawks from contending pretty early.
Then head coach Jeremy Colliton is gone, and so is DeBrincat, Dach, Hagel, Fleury, and possibly more in the coming days. While Toews and Kane have not weighed in on the trades the Hawks made yesterday, one would imagine their voice will be heard soon in the form of trade requests potentially. More change is coming for the Hawks.
The Blackhawks had a very busy year. It is hard to imagine a world where they make the moves they did yesterday if Stan Bowman hadn’t made the moves he did the previous summer. Maybe if Chicago was already picking sixth overall in 2022, like they should have been, they wouldn’t have gone out of their way to trade Alex DeBrincat for what they did last night.
Hopefully now under the leadership of Kyle Davidson, the Blackhawks won’t change their mind about contending every summer. It looks as though the moves Stan Bowman made in 2021 were a calculated goodbye gift for a GM who knew he was on the way out.