Stan Bowman isn’t the kind of GM that panics. He’s never made a hasty trade “just to make one” like his predecessor made so many times. All of his moves, be it a trade or a free agent signing, have been calculated and measured, but it’s starting to look like the Hawks need a shakeup.
The Hawks are still securely at the top of the Western Conference standings, but there have been TOO MANY GAMES that make you wonder if the Hawks are any good at all, let alone Cup contenders.
Last nights 4-1 loss to Phoenix is the latest example. The Hawks looked ok for the first 4-5 minutes, but it was all Phoenix after that. The Hawks looked tired and listless. Corey Crawford was bad, but the defense in front of him was even worse. Phoenix goalie, the great Mike Smith, looked more like Patrick Roy than the journeyman bust he really is, though he really didn’t have to make any tough saves.
The roster, on paper, looks like a sure contender, but clearly something is missing. Good players are seemingly available, including Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan. Ryan, only 24, has scored 100 goals over his last three seasons, and is one of the best young power forwards in the NHL. A top 6 of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Ryan and whoever you want to plug in the other wing slot would be close to unstoppable, but offense might not be the primary need. Scores like 9-2 indicate that the defense might be suspect.
While no huge names seem to be immediately available on the blue line, the Hawks organizational depth should realistically make any 3-4 level defenseman available, especially from a struggling team looking to rebuild. The question is, “Can they wait that long to make a move?” Maybe they can’t…but knowing Bowman, they will.