Earlier this week we looked back at and evaluated the free agent moves Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman made between the end of the 2010-11 season and the final horn sounding against Phoenix.
Now, let’s consider the trades Bowman made when shaping the 2011-12 Blackhawks roster
Bowman made four trades in June last summer, though they ultimately resulted in three acquisitions taking place.
Blackhawks acquire 1st round pick (#26 – Philip Danault)
Capitals acquire rights of free agent forward Troy Brouwer
The full impact of this deal cannot be completely graded yet, because the draft choice that resulted in Danault has just started his professional career. There is a lot of promise in Danault, who had a fantastic season in juniors.
After signing a two-year, $4.7M deal with the Caps, Brouwer took a step back this year in most statistical categories. For the third straight year his point total went down, this time to 33. He did score 18 goals, but his assists were down and his plus-minus plummeted to minus-15. With that being said, there is no question that Brouwer was missed in the locker room in Chicago and on special teams.
Considering Brouwer’s cap hit was only $350k more than the Hawks paid Andrew Brunette, and the Blackhawks had cap space to burn this year, one has to wonder out loud how the Blackhawks could have been better if Brouwer had been skating in Brunette’s place this year. Fears that he wanted a long-term deal were put to rest when he signed a two-year deal.
While we cannot completely grade this deal until more is known/seen from Danault, we can grade the impact of the deal on the 2011-12 season.
Blackhawks acquire rights to defenseman Steve Montador
Panthers acquire rights to forward Tomas Kopecky
Sabres acquire seventh round pick from Florida
There were a few days between two trades, but ultimately the Blackhawks traded Kopecky for Montador with a conditional seventh round pick being moved between three teams i the process.
We already discussed the impact of Montador while looking back at the free agent deals Bowman handed out (we gave the Montador acquisition a “C”). But the difference between this deal and the Brouwer deal is that Kopecky was looking for a long-term deal and got it, signing a four-year, $12M deal with the Panthers.
Kopecky’s production took a step back this year as well, decreasing by 10 points. Montador has a lower cap hit than Kopecky and added a veteran piece to the Blackhawks’ blue line that wasn’t available from within the organization.
Blackhawks acquire forward Rostislav Olesz
Panthers acquire defenseman Brian Campbell
The deal opened up up $7,142,875 for Bowman to use during the five seasons that remained on Campbell’s contract. When the season ended, the Blackhawks had over $3.8M in available cap space and were carrying extra bodies.
Olesz spent the year in Rockford. Campbell was an All-Star with 53 points for the Panthers. The Hawks power play was a disaster all season, clearly missing Campbell. The hopes that 20-year-old Nick Leddy would replace him did not work out as well as management had hoped, either.
There are four more years of cap space available for Bowman to make an impact on the NHL roster without spending big bucks on Campbell. But so far, this deal couldn’t have worked out much worse.
Blackhawks acquire forward Brendan Morrison
Flames acquire defenseman Brian Connelly
Connelly was an AHL all-star in Rockford, but reality was that he was never going to get a shot at the NHL with the Blackhawks organization. Morrison was a veteran rental that sat for most of the available games after he was acquired on Jan. 27, but played fairly well in limited postseason action.
Blackhawks acquire defenseman Johnny Oduya
Jets acquire 2013 second and third round draft picks
Oduya was fantastic to finish the regular season next to Leddy on the Hawks’ blue line. He had five points and was plus-three in 18 regular season games.
In the playoffs, Oduya looked lost. He had three assists, but handled the rubber about as well as Snooki’s boyfriend. The team, and the fans, had hoped to see the same Oduya that had been so good for those final 18 games, but he looked every bit the rookie that Leddy and Dylan Olsen were in the six game series.
This grade should be more of a To Be Determined than the Brouwer trade, because we don’t know what the Jets will do with those two picks and whether or not the Hawks will bring back Oduya. But we do have the end of the regular season and playoff series finished.
For a complete list of Bowman’s history as general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, click here.