Well, it’s been quite the week since we last opened the mailbag. By now you’ve heard about all of the goings on with the Chicago Blackhawks lawsuits and allegations against them involving incidents from the 2010 postseason between former video coach Brad Aldrich and two former players and their handling of those incidents and allegations. Also the chain of events involving Aldrich following his time with the Blackhawks.
With that in mind, we’ll dive into this week’s batch of questions.
Remember, you can send in questions on Twitter using the hashtag #BNHawksMailbag or email them to us at Mario.Tirabassi at bleachernation dot com. Send them anytime about the Blackhawks or the IceHogs or the NHL Draft or Free agency and everything in-between this offseason.
Question 1: Will heads roll? That’s all I got because I cannot stand by the organization with this. – @chiguy8506 (Twitter)
If all of these allegations against the organization are true, those who were in positions of power that knew or were told of what happened, and did nothing about it, should face serious repercussions for those actions or inactions. Plain and simple.
We learned today that the Blackhawks have hired a former federal prosecutor to lead an “independent review” of the incidents and the team’s handling of everything during that time, so we will see where that takes us from here.
Question 2: Stan Bowman is the GM for USA Hockey 2022? With his name all over this scandal, think USA makes a move since it already had issues with the Gymnastics program and almost identical cover up issues? – @MGoose37 (Twitter)
USA Hockey doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to handling and disciplining those involved in sexual assault and abuse incidents. Just look up the name Thomas “Chico” Adrahtas, if you don’t believe me.
USA Hockey, I’m sure, is going to wait-out the legal process. If there’s some way in which Stan Bowman is allowed to remain in his position with the Blackhawks, I’m sure that USA Hockey won’t take any further action against him and allow him to be the general manager of the 2022 Winter Olympic USA Men’s Hockey team.
If I were USA Hockey, I’d get ahead of it and let him go now. I’d rather do that and be wrong, than keep him around too long and be wrong.
Question 3: Feel like a lot of bad news questions will come flooding in, so let me cover the other ground, what’s your opinion on the Kirby Dach rumors? – @teencubsfans (Twitter)
I’m not exactly sure there are substantial “rumors” surrounding Dach, other than what people on social media are speculating. If you remember before the Blackhawks’ news cycle became dominated by the lawsuits and allegations against them, the team was said to be interested in Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel. In that initial report, the Sabres were speculated to be asking for a top-prospect in in a trade deal for Eichel, along with top-tier draft picks and possibly and NHL-ready player. With the Blackhawks reportedly in the mix, Dach’s name has come up in mock trade proposals.
I wouldn’t believe that the Blackhawks are truly in the running for Eichel. The price to pay for him is going to be steep and I also don’t believe that making that kind of deal gives the Blackhawks the kind of “net gain” in a trade that they would need to actually move forward in their rebuilding process. While I wouldn’t label Dach “untouchable,” you’d have to out together a very intriguing trade package to send away the former third-overall pick.
Questions 4: What big move do you think the Hawks make at the draft or pre expansion draft? Also, do we finally draft a goalie in the 1st round? – @HockeyTyler21 (Twitter)
I’ll answer part two of your question first. If the Blackhawks have the opportunity to draft Swedish goaltender Jesper Wallstedt in the 11th overall slot, they most certainly should do it. Chicago needs a future No. 1 goaltender in the prospect system, and while Drew Commesso looks like a good prospect at this point, Wallstedt is being considered one of the best goaltending prospects to come out of a draft class in many years. So draft experts even consider him the top overall prospect in the draft. Pretty hefty praise when you consider this 2021 draft class includes Owen Power.
As far as big moves around the Seattle Expansion Draft or Entry Draft, one that could be a good under-the-radar type of move would be to go after Arizona’s Conor Garland.
Frank Seravalli on TSN1260 – Coyotes asked Conor Garland’s agent to put together some salary proposals. He presented them two different options, that was on May 20. #Yotes haven’t even answered, haven’t responded, haven’t picked up the phone to even acknowledge they received them
— NHL News (@PuckReportNHL) June 28, 2021
Apparently the Coyotes have ghosted Garland since May 20th, signaling that the 25-year-old winger was already on the trade block for Arizona. Garland, a restricted free agent this offseason, tied his NHL career-high in points this season with 39 in 49 games. He also led Team USA with 13 points in 10 games at the World Championships earlier this month, helping the States win the Bronze Medal.
Garland is the kind of player that the Blackhawks could benefit from in a middle-six role in their forwards group. Coming off a two-year, $775,000 AAV deal, Garland’s next contract would be affordable to the Blackhawks and a package deal to acquire him wouldn’t likely break the prospect system bank either.
All this being said, I’m not certain the Blackhawks make “splash” trades this offseason, and rather focus on free agency to add to their team. With 41 of 50 allowed NHL contracts already on the books for the 2021-22 season, there’s not a ton of room for the Blackhawks to add without moving out other players. We’ll see how the offseason plays out, and who will be at the helm of the team by the time the Seattle Expansion Draft even rolls around.
That’ll do it for this edition of the Monday Mailbag! We’ll be doing this all offseason and maybe even into the regular season as we get closer to the start of the 2021-22 year. Be sure to send in questions on Twitter using #BNHawksMailbag or emailing them to Mario.Tirabassi at bleachernation dot com.